Valentine’s Day is a big deal at our house because it is also a birthday celebration, so I was super-excited planning my February lesson for Kindergarten girl’s class. Just as with previous visits, I drew inspiration from a children’s book and then planned an activity and snack that compliment the book.
I discovered Love, Ruby Valentine by Laurie Friedman and Lynne Avril Cravath years ago and love the lesson it teaches about love and kindness spread throughout the year, so I knew I would share this with the class.
With a name like Ruby Valentine, it is easy to guess the main character’s favorite holiday. Ruby spends days and weeks preparing for the big day, only to experience disappointment. What she learns afterward, that you can show people you care and perform kind deeds anytime of year, is a valuable lesson for all ages. After reading the book, the students and I talked about how to show someone you care (a million simple things came up). I then shared with the class what I tell Kindergarten girl every single day in the car line: 1) make good decisions 2) learn all you can and 3) find an opportunity to be kind to someone.
The students were wonderful with this conversation. If you want to know about love and kindness, just ask little people… they know!
Because I always present a math or science lesson, I focused on the “tool” Ruby uses to plan her festivities – the calendar. After discussing the book, I showed the students a calendar and explained days, weeks, months, years, how to read numbers from left-to-right, how to flip the pages, etc. As with any lesson to Kindergarteners, students had varying levels of knowledge about the subject. But because they know how to be kind, they are always helping one another learn. (Have I mentioned how much I love going into the classroom?)
For students to learn first-hand about calendars, I brought a 12-month, color-your-own calendar for each. I also brought stickers for all major holidays to place on the calendar so that they could have visual cues for upcoming events. After discussing the calendar as a group, the students began coloring their own while the teacher and I worked with each student individually to place holiday stickers on the correct date and get each student’s birthday marked on the calendar as well.
I so wish I could share more pictures of the students, but privacy is important. Their smiling faces show so much excitement and gratitude.
Note: I made a Ziploc bag for each student containing all the stickers they would need. Presorting the stickers makes a huge difference when working with limited attention spans and time constraints, both of which are ever-present in a Kindergarten classroom. I also took lots of extra birthday stickers and gave each students extra so they could mark birthdays for family members and friends.
When planning, I always plan a snack that reinforces the lesson. I was originally scheduled to conduct this lesson over two days; however, scheduling conflicts meant that I only had one day. Aaaaccckkk! My original snack was to include food from all seasons, because we know that you can share your love and kindness throughout the year. I was going to serve fruit for spring, veggies for summer, gourds for fall and lettuces for winter on one day and Valentine cupcakes on another day. Due to time constraints, I needed something quick and easy that the students would eat right up. Valentine cupcakes made the cut.
Crunched for time, cupcakes made students (and toddler boy) very happy at snack time.
With only one day to present the entire lesson, we barely had time for the snack at all. As you can see above, Kindergarten girl was in her coat ready to go when we hurriedly ate the cupcakes. I will say that I’m bummed I couldn’t present “food from all seasons.” Each time I go, I have several students who learn about a new food for the first time. I love expanding their horizons on so many fronts.
I hope you’ll check back in March. My “Teacher’s Pet” lesson for the students is going to include my favorite – rainbows. In the meantime, I wish all The Shopping Mama readers a wonderful Valentine’s Day full of love and kindness.