Today we focused our activities around some central questions:
How can we teach our students and children to express love?
How can we make sure our students know they are loved?
I teach a good amount of sign language here. I'm proficient in American Sign Language and think it to be a complex and beautiful language that everyone would benefit from learning. it also gives students a kinesthetic way to express themselves when they can't get the words to come out! One of the activities I set up was a sign language "I LOVE YOU" hand that I found on Pinterest (with no website link). If anyone knows who originally came up with please add the link!
Student then tried to copy the words from the conversation candy hearts onto their paper hearts. A few needed hand over hand assistance, but most were able to do it independently. It was a fun Early Literacy lesson.
We have a good amount of large easel paper slathered in paint from the first few weeks of school before they actually started to try to paint pictures and were just all about putting as much paint on the canvas as they could. I took some pinking shears and cut hearts out of a few of those paintings and had them out while the kids went between activities. I sat there and waited as they came up to be one by one and we talked about who loved them and who they loved back. We decided to express some of those emotions on the backs of the hearts I had cut out as as they dictated their notes. We stuck all of our Valentine's to a string and hung them at the door for the families to read when they arrived for pick up. My favorite was one that a student wrote to his dog, Pumpkin:
I think you talk.
I'll give you a treat when I get home.
3-1/2 cups Pamela's Gluten-Free Bread Mix
2 TBS ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
2 TBS ground ginger
1/3 cup unsalted butter or margarine
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 to 2 tbsp water
Overall, it was a joyful day filled with learning and play and play and learning and more play. I hope that each of them went home and told someone they love them. That would make it perfect.