Spread the Love
Students celebrate Valentine's Day by considering the different ways people express their feelings for friends and show one another love.
- Grades: PreK–K, 1–2
- Unit Plan:
About this book
Using a fun story and historical facts about the Valentine's Day, students consider the different ways people express their feelings for friends and show one another love. Following the lesson activities, we host a Valentine's Day celebration.
- Read a story about Valentine's Day and consider options to the actions taken by the main character
- Learn about the history of the heart shape and Valentine's Day through research reading and questions
- Create a work of art using a heart shape
- Write a rhyming poem about a classmate
- Roses are Pink, Your Feet Really Stink by Diane de Groat
- History of the Heart Research Sheet (PDF), copies of page one for each student, plus a copy of both pages for you
- Whiteboard or chart paper for recording points
- Markers for the whiteboard or chart paper
- White, pink, and red construction paper
- Markers, crayons, or colored pencils
- Glue or tape
- Decorations like glitter, small die-cuts, buttons, stickers, etc.
- Template for Writing Valentines (PDF), one copy per student
- Cardboard box
- Optional: Maracas or other instruments or noise makers
- Optional: Copies of The Scholastic Rhyming Dictionary (or another rhyming dictionary) and thesauruses
Set Up and Prepare
- Cut paper hearts out of the white, pink, and red construction paper. You will need at least one paper heart for each student.
- Print out or write each student's name on a strip of paper and fold it up. If you have an odd number of students, you should include your name (or the name of a student teacher or classroom aid) so every student is included in the activity.
- Place all of the name strips in a cardboard box. If you have time, decorate the box with hearts.
- Talk about Valentine's Day and what you see all over the place (hearts). Ask the students, "Does the heart look like the human heart? Where do you think the shape comes from?"
- Break the students into teams of four. Within each group, give each student a number one to four. Hand out a copy of page one from the History of the Heart Research Sheet to each group.
- Give the groups a few minutes to read over the material together.
- Call out a number between one and four (or from your numbers), then ask a question about the history of the heart (use the Research Relay Questions from page two of the History of the Heart Research Sheet).
- If one of the students with that number knows the answer, they should clap (or use a maraca or another instrument or noise maker) and give their answer. The students' team may help him or her, and everyone can look back at the information sheet.
- When a team answers correctly, they earn points.
- Repeat steps 4-6 for each of the ten Research Relay Questions, alternating between numbers one through four (or your numbers) so each student has an opportunity to answer a question. Feel free to ask additional questions that can be answered by the reading.
- Next, give each student a paper heart. Have the students brainstorm individually about what they could turn their heart into.
- Provide coloring materials and decorations, as well as glue or tape. Let the students create their own works of art using their heart.
- Read Roses are Pink, Your Feet Really Stink aloud to the class. Stop and ask questions during the story.
- Have a group discussion about Valentine's Day. Talk about how, in the book, the mean Valentine's Day poem hurt the kid's feelings. As a group, think of nice things that could have been said instead.
- Have each student pull another student's name out of a box. If a student draws his or her own name, he or she should pick a new name.
- Give each student a copy of the Template for Writing Valentines page. Have the students write a Valentine's Day poem for the student they drew out of the box, modeling the nice poems from Roses are Pink, Your Feet Really Stink. Remind students that they should write something nice about the person they selected.
- Save the poems until your Valentine's Day celebration and let each child read aloud the poem he or she wrote in front of the class, then give the poem to the subject to take home.
Supporting All Learners
Partner the struggling student up with another more confident student when writing poetry. Allow the ELL and struggling students use the book to look for examples and a rhyming dictionary (The Scholastic Rhyming Dictionary is a great one). Encourage your advanced students to use a thesaurus to find different or uncommon words for their poems.
- Decorate their Valentine's boxes for their class party.
- Write a rhyming poem for the principal.
- Pick another shape and research its origins and history over time.
- Create a class mural of hearts.
- Write something nice about each classmate on a heart for a display.
The students and their families can brainstorm where the phrase "Queen of Hearts" came from.
Have the students list as many phrases, songs, books, or anything having the word "heart" in it.
Were the students able to answer questions during the relay? Did the students use creativity when completing the art project? Were the students able to write a rhyming poem independently?
- Can the students answer the research questions with little help?
- Can the students create a work of art using a heart shape?
- Can the students write a rhyming poem about a classmate?