Valentine's Day in 5th Grade

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Before I get into this post, let me introduce myself! My name is Sara and I teach 5th grade in a suburb just South of the Twin Cities in Minnesota.  Our winters can be brutal but our summers are beautiful, so I couldn't imagine living anywhere else. I have been married for 8 1/2 years, teaching for 9 1/2 (this is my 5th year teaching 5th grade!) and have been a boy mom for almost 6 years. My very energetic (basketball, karate, Boy Scouts) and curious (working on a TRex project for the Science Fair) Kindergartener attends school where I teach. I blog and create as Draz's Class, whenever I find a moment to catch my breath!

I've written about holidays before (on my personal blog) and how they can be tricky once you reach upper elementary.  I want the kids to enjoy being kids, but also try to avoid the hyped-up sugar-crazed goodness that often comes with these special days.

For Valentine’s Day, things can get even more iffy, because my 5th grade students are starting to like-like each other. ;o)  I know, right?!  (We don’t teach about the birds and bees until May.)

So, to combat all that, my team and I do a few things differently than other grade levels/teachers.


1) We don’t have a Valentine’s Day party

Now, before you shoot the messenger, let me explain.  After my first year teaching 5th grade (4 years ago) I was over trying to think of crafts to create, games to play, or movies to watch.  The students either had already done something similar, or were uninterested.  It broke my heart to see my carefully planned out and organized projects in the students’ desks months later, or worse, in the garbage on February 15th.

So, instead, we celebrate the fact that February and Valentine’s Day is about caring and love—love for our fellow human beings.  In lieu of a party, we head to Feed My Starving Children and box up meals for others!  We have a warehouse located about 30 minutes away, so we go there and spend 2 hours boxing up as many meals as possible—we even make it into a competition with groups!  The students have a blast, work really hard, and walk out with a sense of pride.

My team in our lovely hairnets last year :o)


2) Valentines and bags

Students each get a plain white (or brown) bag, and decorate it with markers (or foam shapes if I am feeling generous!)  I usually have them do this in my homeroom class, giving them about 20 minutes to complete it.  My only requirement is that their name gets put on it somewhere!

We then put these on top of their lockers, which are located just outside of our classrooms.  While students are independently reading, as February is “I Love to Read Month,” I send 2-3 students out into the hall at a time to go down the line and drop Valentines in bags.

Students don’t have to bring in Valentines, but if they do, they MUST bring one for every student.  I provide them with a class list the week before, as well as mention repeatedly that I love dark chocolate! **This class list will also mention peanut or other food allergies**



3) Valentine’s Day Math

My first year in 5th grade I created this resource to use all those conversation hearts that we love to hand out, but no one really loves to eat.  The students get to play with/eat candy, but practice their math skills,  so it’s a win-win.  We often don’t have math class on actual Valentine’s Day, so I’ll save this activity for the Friday after, and then get the candy on sale!

I've placed this on sale for only $1 for the rest of January!

I have some other activities and such we do as well: a cupcake glyph, math pop art, real-world word problems, word seek, etc.  Most have been found through TpT or other bloggers I follow.


What do you do in your class to celebrate Valentine’s Day, yet control the chaos and fun?  Please share your plans in the comments, as I am always looking for more ideas!

by Sara from Draz's Class

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2 comments

  1. Sara, What a wonderful way to spend Valentine Day with your class. Helping others is a winner.

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    Replies
    1. It is SO.MUCH.FUN! The kids work so hard and pack so many meals...very gratifying!

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