Could there be anything worse than combining the hormones of middle school students with Valentine’s Day? For some teachers, it is a total blessing if Valentine’s Day falls on a weekend- but Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be all that bad. Don’t get me wrong- I totally despise carnation sales and cringe every time I see giant oversized stuffed animals and balloons being paraded down the hallway. Not to mention trying to teach kids while they are overloaded with chocolate and conversation hearts and who only have love on their minds. I mean, can the day be any more dramatic?? I know it seems like it would be best to just pretend that Valentine’s day doesn’t exist and go on with your normal teaching day, but by acknowledging the holiday, you are bringing everyday real-life into the classroom and you show that you can be the fun teacher too. Here are some ways to celebrate (or acknowledge if you don’t want to go overboard…) and make Valentine’s Day work in your favor.
1. Have your students show their love for their teachers
Have your students write notes to their teachers about why they love their class. This is a great way for your students to take a moment to think past themselves and to show some love to their teachers. A couple of days before Valentine’s Day, I print heart shapes out on pink and red colored paper and pass them out as a warm-up. It starts with the sentence starter “I love your class because….” and the students just write in their own responses for whichever teacher they would like. If they want more hearts, I gladly pass out however many they want. At the end of the day, I have students group them by teacher and tape them to the teachers’ door. You could also just place them in their teacher mailboxes. It is always a pleasant surprise to those teachers. You can get the FREE Valentine Heart Printable here.
2. Fully immerse your students into Valentine’s Day with an Escape Room
Hmmm… An escape room? – ain’t nobody got time for that…. Well, you do if it is a Science Escape Room and it is content-related. One of the best ways to teach on Valentine’s Day is if you are doing an activity where students will be completely engaged. Seriously- they will totally forget all the drama of Valentine’s Day if they are working together as teams to make an escape! This EzPz Science Valentine’s Day Escape Room can be completed in the classroom or virtually. The 100% digital version makes the activity No Prep- Easy Peasy! You can get the Valentine’s Day Escape Room here.
3. Play a game of Bingo with Conversation Hearts
My kiddos love playing Bingo- but near Valentine’s Day, we do a little twist and we use conversation hearts as our markers. I’m a sucker for buying candy after a holiday so I’ve had these huge bags of conversation hearts just waiting for this special occasion. In past years, I always had a bowl of heart candies in the middle of a group and students just grabbed them to play with- not to eat! Of course, you may find yourself in the middle of a pandemic and this isn’t possible due to safety concerns. In that case- you should try digital bingo. It’s just like playing regular bingo, only students use digital chips to cover their boxes. You can check out a full line of Bingo Science Topics here. They come in print and digital versions.
4. Show them what real Chemistry is.
For a middle schooler, there is so much excitement, intrigue and drama with anything that has to do with Valentine’s Day- because you know, hormones. Why not use that to your advantage and have your students do science with a Valentine theme? Here’s are some activities that combine Matter and Chemistry and Science Process Skills with all the Valentine’s Day mushy stuff. Try this Valentine’s Day Chemistry worksheet, Physical and Chemical Changes in Valentine’s Day Tips, Valentine’s Day Conversation Heart Messages and Scientific Measurements for Valentine’s Day. Your students will still be learning science- but your students will think you are so cool for letting them celebrate!
5. Give them (or yourself) the last 10-15 minutes of class
If you have some spare time or you need something for early finishers, you can always give your students an activity that is holiday related. Try these Valentine’s Day Fun Puzzlers. There are 6 Fun Puzzlers to choose from and your students will be fully engaged (while you try to do the attendance you were supposed to submit 20 minutes ago…..) You can also have them color this FREE adorable Valentine’s Day Color Sheet.
Teaching on Valentine’s Day isn’t completely hopeless. In fact, if you choose the right lessons, it can be quite engaging. Middle school students love the drama and if you add the drama into their lessons- it may be a match made in heaven.