As a teacher, there are few things more important than teaching your students about kindness. While you hope they’ll walk out of your classroom at the end of the school year with a host of new educational skills, instilling kindness in them along the way is a truly invaluable gift.

Valentine’s Day offers the perfect opportunity to teach your students about the importance of being kind. And Clifford is the perfect pup to help you get the job done! 

Plus, this year marks Clifford's 60th birthday on February 14th. There is no better time than now to share a little bit of love for everyone's favorite Big Red Dog. With his lovable personality and amusing antics, Clifford is a great way to bring lots of kindness — and lots of laughs — into your classroom. 

Here are three fun and easy ways you can teach kindness through Clifford this Valentine’s Day (which also happens to be his birthday!). You can also find best-selling Clifford books here.

1. Think Big, But Start Small

Just like in Clifford the Big Red Dog: Valentine Surprise, lots of students — especially younger ones — may not yet fully understand what it means to express love, spread kindness, and show how much they care for others. Read the story to your class and spend some time defining the true meaning of Valentine's Day, giving lots of examples along the way. Here are a few ideas and discussion questions to kickstart your lessons:

  • Post it. Write out simple definitions of “love” and “kindness” on large, easy-to-read poster boards. Place the posters in a prominent spot in your classroom. This way, students will be able to see them every day, all year long.
  • Give examples. Talk about what it means to be kind and why being nice is so important. Regularly ask students to give an example of something they can do to show kindness towards others.
  • Start a kindness jar. Keep track of your students’ acts of kindness, and catch them in the act! Give each student a small pom-pom each time you notice them doing or saying something kind to drop into a jar. When the jar is full, celebrate with a party or special treat.

2. Express What You Love

Clifford Loves is an adorable, heart-shaped board book that reveals all the things Clifford loves to do, from reading to spending quality time with his friends! Your students will learn to appreciate the things that make them feel warm and fuzzy. Read the book with your class, and ask these discussion questions along the way:  

  • What activities make you feel happy?
  • How does it feel when you are participating in activities that you love? 
  • Fill in this sentence: “I love to _______.”

3. Celebrate Together!

Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse for a celebration — especially when that celebration involves kindness. 

Read, laugh, and learn with Hello Reader!® Level 1-Clifford: Clifford's Valentines. Clifford celebrates Valentine’s Day by exchanging meaningful cards with his friends. His day gets even better when it snows outside! Your students will be intrigued to find out how Clifford and his friends play in the snow. Read this book to your class, then ask your students to talk about a time when they made an unexpected situation fun and how what they learned from it.

You can also have your students make easy, DIY bookmarks — all you’ll need are popsicle sticks, construction paper hearts, and some glue they can use the next time they read a book about kindness.

Shop books about Valentine's Day below! You can find all books and activities at The Teacher Store.

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