I never know how much to do for Valentine’s Day at school – my husband and I don’t really celebrate it (working at a restaurant doesn’t make for a relaxing Valentine’s!) and I know some students feel kind of sensitive about it. Having crushes and getting caught ‘liking’ someone can be awkward, some schools don’t even celebrate the day, what happens if not all the students get cards or gifts, does Valentine’s promote only straight relationships or that the holiday is only for couples as adults…it goes on. I haven’t done much in the past, but I found a small way to incorporate a few hearts in a simple way in my stations this week.
My second graders are practicing do – we just presented the new concept last week and now I’m having my students work in stations to get their hands dirty. Around my room, I have them set up to work on the following four tasks over the next two classes:
- Practicing writing and identifying do in the context of do, mi, sol, and la with Lindsay Jervis’s “Ready, Set, Print!” worksheets
- Practicing identifying lines and spaces by their number (line 1, space 3, etc.) with a game from QuaverMusic on their iPads (prepping for note names and reinforcing knowledge of the staff as we add more note reading)
- Listening and identifying patterns with do using the interactive “Where’s Freddie’s Pad?” PowerPoint by Linda McPherson
- Composing and performing patterns with do on xylophones
Station number four is where we got to break out a hint of Valentine’s fun! Dollar Tree has foam sticker packs of white, red, and pink hearts and little heart-covered treat baggies – I took a few minutes and labeled the hearts with a variety of do’s, mi’s, sol’s, and la’s and put a handful in each baggie. Each student was instructed to compose their own Valentine message and then play it to a friend! They could lay the hearts out next to one another or arrange them on a laminated staff.
To set them up for success, I utilized the power of washi tape and added some labels to a few xylophones. Eventually, I’d hope that we could comfortably read the notes we placed on the staff, but my students just aren’t there, and I’m okay with that. My focus on this station is to compose a song and immediately hear what they wrote – instant feedback. The labels help guide all of my students and provide some built in support for some of my learners who need greater assistance.
We kept the labels on and used them to play “Snail, Snail” with my 1st graders afterwards! The students were so excited to learn how to play a familiar song so quickly and easily using sol, mi, and la right at their fingertips.
My students enjoyed the little bit of Valentine’s fun to kick off our week – it’s a small detail, but it was a fun one!