Put a new spin on the same old make-and-trade Valentine cards event with a fancy party that is the culminating event of a week exploring Fancy Nancy books. My students spend days learning reading, science, and even manners through reading Fancy Nancy books. The end of the book study is timed to land on Valentine’s Day so students can put their fancy knowledge to work while they celebrate.
Our class is only allowed two “parties” per year, so enjoying an extra special snack time in conjunction with our book study is a great way to celebrate without going overboard. Parents donated all of the items, with limited prep work done by me.
Students created their own Valentine boxes and measured them earlier in the week. We used blogger Genia Connell’s Common Core State Standards box activity and simplified it for first graders. On the day of the party, students identified what box they liked best and wrote expository reasons for their pick.
Students played a math review game where each group has a given number of items. One partner hides some of the items, and the other partner determines what is hidden by counting up, counting on, or with fact knowledge. To make the activity extra fancy, we used glittery foam stickers as our manipulative. Other math activities include graphing colors from conversation hearts, measuring area and perimeter with conversation hearts, and adding and subtracting our way across a path to deliver a valentine.
Teachers dressed up like Nancy, Bree, and other Fancy Nancy characters on Valentine’s Day. Outfits are easy to assemble from anything that looks shiny, glittery, or girly. Our outfits included corsages made from old costume jewelry and ribbon scraps.
Students get to dress the part too. Boys wore paper neckties they colored themselves. Both boys and girls donned paper crowns they decorated and glittered the day before. All students received inexpensive Mardi Gras beads to wear.
Parents donated simple snacks for the fancy party food. The most special items were edible tea cups made from ice cream cones, peach gummy slices, and plain cookies, all held together with icing. A parent purchased petit fours, but mini cupcakes are just as fun. While reading Fancy Nancy Aspiring Artist, students made placemats which serve as a base for the table setting. The edible teacups, which hold folded napkins and tiny cocktail forks and spoons purchased at a post-holiday sale, are a fun treat. Other treat suggestions can be found in Fancy Nancy Tea Parties.
Students were encouraged to use their fanciest manners (learned in Fancy Nancy Tea Parties) while enjoying their refreshments. Students took turns delivering Valentines to their friend’s boxes during the event. The highlight for all was a photo booth with a few boas, crowns, and simple fabric scraps. Students posed again and again for photos. They especially enjoyed breaking out their own class devices to snap pics, and dressing up a dad who came to visit.
Making a festivity tie to learning is not only fun, but meaningful for students. What ways to you bring learning to your Valentine celebrations?