A Celebration of Love: How to share the feeling of inclusion through décor

By: Payton Dockery

If you visit any of the big-box stores or pharmacies, you will quickly notice that Valentine’s Day décor has arrived! There are plenty of cute things to use as decorations, such as conversation hearts or Cupid cut-outs. As adorable as those may be, it is also important for teachers to use Valentine’s Day as an educational opportunity and as a chance to make sure each student feels included.

Here are a few creative ways to get festive this Valentine’s Day:

Displays of Affection          

One of the first things that you can do around Valentine’s Day is to have students say what they “love” about their fellow classmates. You can create a bulletin board or door display for your classroom with a festive border and Carson-Dellosa cut-outs of your choice (such as the large Hearts Cut-Outs® because there’s a lot of space for writing). You can write each student’s name on a slip of paper and have the class draw out a name of another classmate. Depending on the age of your students, they can either write these themselves or dictate to you what they love about their fellow classmates. You can then display the hearts on the bulletin board or door.  How nice would it be for your students to see something kind about themselves posted in the classroom each day?

Caring and Sharing

Another, more conceptual idea is to think about how to share love and appreciation with all people. Using the Valentine’s Day Mini Bulletin Board, your students can help you create a scene with the heart and bee cut-outs. You can ask your students to think about what these bees would say to show how much they care about each other. Pose questions like, “What would you say to someone you have known for a long time?” or, “What would you say to someone who speaks a different language than you?” Students can create speech bubbles that answer these questions and post them next to the bee that relates to the words being said.

Compliment Stickers          

Lastly, simple Valentine’s Day stickers can be used to “share the love.” During the month of February, at the end of the day, give each student a Valentine’s Day-themed sticker. Instruct them to go up to another student and give them a compliment about something they noticed that day. This is a great way to discuss the difference between complimenting clothes or appearance and complimenting actions and behaviors. The students can either wear their stickers home or you can give them a large Heart Cut-Out® on which to display all of their stickers. As you start to see who is and is not getting stickers, you can change the directions slightly to ensure that every student is recognized. At the end of February, the class can write about how they felt receiving those compliments stickers and they can finally take their stickers home to share with their family!

Payton Dockery, Carson-Dellosa 2017–2018 Brand Ambassador, 3rd grade teacher