Valentine’s Day in my classroom was wild when I taught second grade. Two weeks before the special day, my students would decorate white bakery bags with cut out hearts. I’d write their names on the bags with a Sharpie. The bags sat on the top of a bookcase in the classroom in anticipation of the BIG day.
If I counted the times that those bags were looked at by my students each year, it would be over a thousand.
And then there was valentine art made by them that was on the bulletin board and elsewhere. Red dominated the room and that was a good thing. When Valentine’s Day arrived [if it hadn’t snowed which it did far too many times and the party was held later,] concentration was extremely hard on the students’ part. All they could think of was the afternoon party and getting their valentine bags!
After lunch on that day, I would let each row of students go the valentine bags and put their valentines in each bag. This process seemed endless for some students hadn’t written names on the envelopes of their cards or couldn’t find others. But it happened and the bags were full and just waiting to be opened.
With the help of wonderful homeroom mothers that brought treats and drinks, the party would eventually start. You could feel the excitement in the air as the mothers gave each child the goodies. Yes, the students wanted them but even more they wanted the valentine bags. The anticipation was almost equal to Christmas for that’s how excited they were.
I would call on several students at a time to retrieve their bags and the process didn’t take long at all. You could not only see but hear the ripping open of envelopes and hear giggles or an “Ah” if someone received a valentine that had LOVE on it.
The afternoon and the party seemed to whiz by but the looks on my students’ faces were unforgettable, especially if they had received a LOVE valentine. Boys would look at girls and girls would stare at boys. About ten minutes before the bell would ring, everyone shared in cleaning up the room with the homeroom mothers helping as well. But there wasn’t a single valentine left anywhere—not on a desk or on the floor. They had been crammed into those bakery bags as if they were some precious and valuable things.
And come to think of it, that’s exactly what they were to my second graders: Precious and valuable. I remember all too well how I felt as a kid on Valentine’s Day in my own classroom: I felt the same excitement and hope of getting a valentine that had LOVE on it. It sent chills down my spine but in a good way.
Yes, Valentine’s Day in my second grade classroom was wild—wild in that the excitement filled the air from the morning bell to the closing one. And it was wonderful. I hope you hang onto your childhood memories of it for it was magical.
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