Valentines Day and a freebie!

Valentines Day is about a month away, and it's time to start thinking about what fun activities you want to do with your students.  I wanted to share one really cute one I did last year with my students.  You may have seen something very similar on Pinterest, but I changed what we did just a little bit.

I gave each student a piece of paper with 20 spaces on it.  It may have been a table or just 20 lines.  But I only have 20 students in my class (we are small class sizes) so I know there were 20 spots.  We wrote down some examples of nice things we could write about our friends as a class before we started passing them around.  Each kiddo put their name at the top of their paper, and we passed them around.  Once the papers had gone around one table, they were passed to another table.  Once they were passed around the room, I collected them.  Then I typed up the nice things my students said about each other in some cute Valentines fonts.  (Of course, since I've re-imaged my computer, I lost all my fonts and I'm going to have to re-download them!)  I also typed up their name in a fun font, twice for each student.

Once I finished typing them up, I printed them out for each student and gave them each their own paper and a piece of either pink or red paper.  I let them cut out their own hearts last year, a mistake I will never make again!  Next year, I'll copy the hearts onto the paper and let them cut them out on the line instead of folding the paper in half and trying to cut the heart out.  Bad idea.  Anyway, they cut out the hearts and the nice things their friends said about them and glued them on their hearts.  If 2 students said the same thing about the kiddo, I just typed it up once.  After they glued their nice messages on their hearts, I let them put a few heart stickers on and decorate them a bit.  They turned out really cute!  So I laminated them and hung them in the doorway outside my room.

This is an example of what one of the kids did last year.  I covered up their name, of course, which explains the pink squiggles.  Aren't they cute?

The original link I found on Pinterest had the students make a valentine for another student, which I thought was a sweet idea.  I just have a few students who aren't very neat with their "cutting skills" or "writing skills" or anything that requires coordination of their fine motor skills.  So I would hate for another kid to get a valentine that another kid did and it be a total mess.  So I need to figure out a way to possibly do that because I think it would be fun!

I uploaded a freebie file of something I whipped up quickly for you to use if you decide to do this activity!  The paper is 2 sided, and goes to the number 30.  I may be willing to change what it written at the top if anybody has any great ideas. :-)

Another thing I love to do for Valentines Day is read this book, Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch by Eileen Spinelli.  A professor first read this to me in college, and it's been a Valentines Day staple for me every year. I think I still get teary when Mr. Hatch finds out the valentine wasn't for him. :-(  
In the past, I've brought in brownies and lemonade to share with the kids like Mr. Hatch makes for his neighbors.  I usually make brownies in my mini muffin tin so they get miniature brownie bites instead of trying to cut brownies out of a pan.  Just make sure you don't cook them as long or they will get overcooked and hard.  Nobody likes that!

It's been a year, so I'm having a difficult time thinking of other fun activities we did for Valentines Day last year.  I will definitely post if I remember anything else that was particularly cute or fun!  I definitely will be posting about the 100th day of school soon as well- our 100th day is February 5th if we don't have any snow days between now and then!

Doing a little catching up

Before our Christmas break, my class and I were quite busy!  Here are a few of the ways we got ready for Christmas!

First, we had our Polar Express Day.  We had cookies and hot chocolate (let me tell you, it was awesome!), and the kids wore their pajamas and laid on the carpet under their towels and blankets.  Of course, I had one kiddo spill on my brand new carpet, which I was pretty sad about.  I need to bring in my enzymatic carpet cleaner to clean up the mess!

Don't they look adorable in their pjs?
(For the record, the little girl on the left is actually wearing pants.  She just got warm and rolled the legs up!  I wish I had asked her to roll them down before I took this picture!  Maybe I'll just have to crop it a little bit...)

We had a special delivery in the middle of the movie!  We got a package from the North Pole that came from Santa Claus himself!  It was even cold!  Our school secretary brought it down to the room and told the kids it just "appeared" on her desk and she thought it might be important.  Inside was a bell for each one of my students.  It was super cute.  Of course, the string for each bell got tangled so I spent the last part of the movie untangling each one of the stupid things.  Next year, I'm going to have to figure something else out.  But the kids were excited, and that's all that matters!

Earlier that day, we went to see the Nutcracker Ballet!  The kids loved it!  They even kept the curtain open during intermisson so they could watch the set change.  One of my kids was sitting next to me and got really excited because they knew some of the songs!  So cute!

We made 2 gifts for our parents.  These are salt dough Christmas trees.  We made the dough, then cut out the trees and I took them home to cook in the oven.  They painted them one day, and we decorated the next using q-tips and acrylic paint.  Last year, I made the mistake of using tempera paint on these, and the paint cracked and looked awful!  So I made a special trip to the craft store and bought way more green paint than necessary.  I had the rest of the colors in my craft stash at home, so now I just have a whole lot of green paint to add to it!  I am so glad we used the q-tips, because they turned out really cute!  At least, most of them did!

We also made Reagan Tunstall's cute little snowmen from socks.  They turned out so cute.  I used socks I already had, and they had grey on the bottom, though.  So we glued the bottom part together so you couldn't see the grey.  They looked better, but they were harder to stand up.

Here are all  our cute little snowmen!

This one was my favorite.  Somehow he managed to have a really tall torso compared to the rest of them.  He was so cute.

We also did some of the activities from my Fun with the Gingerbread Man Math and Literacy Activities packet.  These are the gingerbread pirates from the Gingerbread pirate glyph!  They turned out so cute!  

Our class got a visit from one very important man and woman:  Santa and Mrs. Claus!  There were also a few elves that visited us as well!  One of my school's partners, Zeon, comes each year with Santa and Mrs. Claus and some helpers.  They visit each class in the school and bring the kids goody bags.  The kids love being visited by Santa!  


The kids really enjoyed their goody bags!  They each get a stuffed animal, usually a few healthy snacks, an activity pad, and I believe they got a toothbrush this year!  I think it's so nice that there are people in my community who do such nice things for our students!

My kiddos, Santa, Mrs. Claus, an elf, and you can see a bunch of Santa's "helpers" in the back.  I'm the short one in the red shirt, and our Environmental Ed coordinator is the one in the black sweater.  She's the person who puts all this together!

Of course, I had a little bit of fun with my sock monkey.  Max comes to visit the classroom from time to time and likes to dress up.  I borrowed an elf costume meant for a kindergartener from our librarian and dressed Max in it.  I even managed to find a mini Max that matches my big Max.  So I put them in this big bag that looks like Santa and left him there for the kids to find.

One of my students asked me why he was in a stocking, but I told them I had no idea why.  So she reached inside and pulled out the mini Max.  Then the kids told me I was a step mom to the mini Max!  I was cracking up.  Apparently I'm now a parent.  LOL.  
This is how one of my students fixed Max and mini Max to sit.  Cute.  I found a small elf hat for the mini Max, but I can't get my phone to cooperate to upload a picture.  Maybe I will later.

If you've followed along with me this long, thanks!  :-)  I realize this post was quite long!

We go back to school tomorrow, and I am so not looking forward to getting up early tomorrow.  I just want to sleep in for one more day!  I've been totally off my sleep schedule for the past week, and I know I'm going to pay for it tomorrow.

Have a great week!