In honor of Memorial Day, the school I teach at had a very important assembly to honor members of our military and teach the students about the true meaning of Memorial Day. Many of my own students come from homes that might not be knowledgeable about this topic and teach them the most important parts about this day and the reasons behind it.For my 1st graders. it was easier for me to break it down and teach them 3 main things about Memorial Day that I felt were most important for them to know.
First of all, teach children that we OBSERVE Memorial Day and NOT celebrate it. Too often, the focus becomes on the “celebration” part of a holiday (and day off of school). It’s important to explain to children that it’s OK to enjoy an extra day off of school, such as Memorial Day, but it is not the kind of”holiday” to wish someone a “Happy Memorial Day” or to throw a “Memorial Day Party”.
Second, teach children that it’s OK to acknowledge soldiers and veterans and to thank them for what they’ve done. I taught my students to say, “Thank you for your service” to anyone in their family, their neighborhood, or even out in their community. I also explained that it’s acceptable to acknowledge Memorial day to families who have lost someone in the line of duty because they want to honor the memory of their loved one.
Finally, I discussed what it means to “take a moment of silence” on Memorial Day. Traditionally it’s observed at 3:00 p.m. your local time, but after discussing with my students, I told them that they could observe their “moment of silence” any time during the day if they weren’t able to do so right at 3:00 p.m.Memorial Day is such an important topic to talk to children about, both at school and at home. Above all, because of the sacrifice our soldiers and their families make, America is the “Home of the Free, because of the Brave!”
Although Valentine’s Day is traditionally laden with chocolates and sweet treats, there are also so many non-sweet treats available nowadays. As an elementary school teacher, I’m always looking for alternatives to candy that I can give my students either as rewards during the month of February or to put in their Valentine’s Day mailboxes.The Valentine’s section on Oriental Trading Company‘s site has a ton of cute non-sweet treat options. I found tiny notebooks, mini heart erasers, valentines pencils, and a ton of different Valentine’s stickers. (everyone loves stickers!) I also found some tic-tac-toe valentines to give my students. To make the Valentine’s pencils extra fun, I designed a set of purple, hot pink, and red printable “Happy Valentine’s Day” flags to add to them. I printed them on white cardstock so they were sturdy. (You can download these for free at the bottom of this post.)
After printing out the pencil flags, you can cut each one with scissors or a paper cutter.
Fold them flag strips and apply pressure to the crease. Next, trim each one to a flag shape. Use a glue stick to fasten each one securely around the top of each pencil.
To print out the FREE printable “Happy Valentine’s Day” flags, go here.I made a non-candy “treat” bag for each of my students that included a Smile Face Valentine pencil with a flag on it, a couple of Mini Valentine Spiral Notebooks, a handful of Mini Smile Face Erasers, a couple sheets of Mini Heart Big Roll Stickers, and a Tic-Tac-Toe Valentine Sticker Card for each student. I stuck everything into a clear cellophane bag. and tied with some ribbon. I can’t wait to pass them out on Valentine’s Day!
I received promotional products in order to write this post. All opinions are 100% my own.
My students know that Valentine’s Day is my most favorite holiday of the year. It’s so much fun to change up some of the Math activities in my classroom each month to go along with the holidays. Patterning is one of the Math activities we work on throughout the school year. At the primary level, patterning is everywhere and there are plenty of opportunities to integrate it into a lot of areas in the classroom. My students get extra giddy when they see the hearts come out because they know it’s that time of year! To create this fun Valentine’s Day patterning activity, I found the most adorable mini smile face heart erasers on the Oriental Trading Company site’s Valentine section and couldn’t resist. Their little faces are so cute, and look kinda like emoji faces. I also ordered some Valentine’s Day washi tape. To make the activity even more appealing, I utilized a big, red wooden heart that I had at home. This would be something I’d use if I left the activity at an independent center.Students can also just practice the patterning at their desks. Each student gets 3 circles, each one with an “A”, a “B”, and a “C” in the center, to create their “key”. They place a different colored heart eraser in each circle after they decide which ones they want to be each letter in their patterns.Then they place the rectangular pattern cards out on their desk. Each student receives about 50 heart erasers to work with and they create their own patterns. It keeps them pretty quiet for a short while, which is nice.To switch it up, they can change around which color heart they place in the key and create new patterns. They LOVE doing this patterning activity!As an extension activity, you can also have students draw and illustrate their patterns on a piece of paper.
To download the free printables from this activity, go here. As always, I recommend printing these out on white cardstock because it’s sturdier.
I received promotional items in order to write this post. All opinions are 100% my own.