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The History of Valentine's Day
Gather your students together and tell them why we celebrate St. Valentine's Day and why it is known as the day of love.
Many years ago (270 AD) Emperor Claudius was in power in Rome. There was a war and Claudius did not want his soldiers to get married or engaged. He thought that they would not want to go to war and leave their wives and sweethearts. Fortunately there was a good priest named Valentine who secretly performed wedding ceremonies. Claudius found out about this and had Valentine thrown into jail. While in prison he was befriended by the jailer's blind daughter. Unfortunately Valentine grew very weak, but just before he died he cured the girl of her blindness. On the day he died he wrote a note to her about affection between people and he signed the message "From your Valentine."
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Books to Share
Choose a book to share with your students that has a Valentine theme. Here are some suggestions:
Will You Be My Valentine? by Steven Kroll -Two children have a love/hate relationship and how they worked it out.
Arthur's Great Big Valentine by Lillian Hoban -The story of how Arthur and Norman became "un-friends" and then friends again.
Freckles and Willie by Margery Cuyler -The heartwarming story of Willie and his dog Freckles.
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Play the Hearts Game
Interactive Valentine activities can be simple-to-make games that motivate students and reinforce basic math skills. Here is a great game for students to play:
For each game: Cover a Pringle container (or similar can) with adhesive paper. Cut out 20 small hearts. Leave one side of each heart blank and on the other side write math facts. Provide an egg timer or kitchen timer. Give each game to a pair of students (Hint: In case of a dispute have an answer sheet available for players to check their answers.)
To play: Player One shakes the can with the hearts inside and then spills them out. Player Two turns the egg timer over - or sets the timer for 3 minutes. Player One looks at the hearts that are FACE UP and states the question and answers it. The player's score is the number of correctly answered questions. The hearts are then returned to the can and the players change roles. The first player to 50 points is the winner.
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Valentine Talks and Games
Interactive Valentine activities lend themselves to language and crafts where students can utilize a hands-on approach.
Provide pictures of two "heart people." Ask students to give each of them a "conversation balloon." Ask: What did one heart say to the other heart? Invite students to fill in the conversations.
Use an old game board, or make one with gummed circles on a piece of card. On the board or a chart print "Be My Valentine." Up to four students can play this game. The first player takes the letter "B" and writes a word that begins with a "B". He or she then moves the number of spaces to match the letters in the word. The next student does the same with the next letter and so on. Variation: Each student could use the same letter; this would encourage them to discover longer words.
Invite students to make up their own dot-to-dot Valentine pictures and give them to a friend to try.
Ask students to make a Valentine picture. Cut it into several shapes. Put it in an envelope and give it to a friend to put back together
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Connect to Your Heart
In many parts of the world February is known as Heart Month. Use this opportunity to discuss with your students how important it is to have a healthy heart. Have a day when you bring in heart-healthy snacks to share. Suggest heart-healthy activities like skipping, jumping, walking and running.
Enjoy these Valentine activities today!