So what’s sweeter than all the chocolate that students bring you on Valentine’s Day and also doesn’t go straight to your thighs? Having those same sweet kiddos write about their sweetest acts! I love doing this writing activity around Valentine’s Day and it’s always a hit! I mean what kid doesn’t want to make a giant chocolate kiss complete with flag? Oh and also share about something nice they’ve done for someone else? Here’s a peek at one of my favorite Valentine’s Day writing activities.
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I always start off any writing project with a mentor text! It just gets your students thinking and ready to write. Books are the perfect way to launch conversations about real authors and how they tell a story. One of my personal Valentine’s Day faves is “Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch”, but for this little writing project, the book “Those Shoes” by Maribeth Boelts is PUUURRRFECT! (Click the pic to check this out on Amazon! )
In this book, the main character wants nothing more than new shoes. Eventually he gets some, but soon realizes that helping others (and having shoes that fit!) are more rewarding than having the coolest shoes on the block. I *promise* your students will identify with the main character and his internal struggle! That’s where the power of the mentor text comes into play for launching this Valentine’s Day writing activity.
Don’t have this book? Check out these other Perfect-for-Valentine’s-Day-Writing-Projects books!
Bubble Mapping our Thoughts
So after reading this story, we discuss what sweet act Jeremy performed in the story. Then, I use that as a launching point to discuss if students have ever done anything sweet for anyone else. We talk about how it could be something as small as holding a door or helping with homework. After we’ve talked it out for a few minutes (because kids LOVE to talk!), the students head back to their desks and start brainstorming their own sweetest acts.
I like using a bubble map to have students write down some of the kind things they’ve done. This way they have plenty of their own stories to pick from when we’re ready to start our pre-writes. If you’ve never used this strategy it’s great for getting students to think only about one specific topic. In the middle, students write the topic, then around the circle the create other bubbles with events or ideas related to the bubble in the middle. In our case, my little sweetie brainstormed some of the nice things she’s done for others.
After having the students brainstorm some of their sweet acts, I have them share with a shoulder buddy at their table. Have you ever heard the phrase: “ If you can talk about it, then you can write about it”? This little exercise puts that theory to use. I tell the kiddos that after they share their acts, they should choose the one that was the easiest to talk about. To choose their final topic, the students circle their favorite.
Brainstorming the Main Events
The next day, I pass back our bubble maps and we use the sweetest act we chose from the previous day to start writing in the details.
To make it easier, we focus on the “Who” and “What” of their writing, then we launch into the actual event. This brainstorming sheet is part of my “How Sweet It Is Writing Unit”. I like to guide students on how to use this page, so I model how to fill it out using the document camera.
After we’ve filled out our brainstorm with out details, we use that the next day to write a rough draft of our sweetest act narrative. The rough draft sheet in this writing unit is structured to help young writers include all the major details, but you could just have students write from their brainstorms on regular sheets of paper if they are ready!
I also continue to model how to include my information from my brainstorm into the rough draft. As I’m writing, I highlight how I’ve included an introduction so that my readers know what I’m writing about as well as important details from my brainstorm. I also show students how to write the conclusion. I’ve found that modeling what these things look and sound like make for better writings in the end! (See more ways to improve student writings here!)
Rough Draft to Final Draft
After we’ve written our rough draft, students review and edit their writings. They also have a buddy edit their writing. I don’t *need* to take a grade on this writing project, so I didn’t take time to edit with students. If I was taking a grade on this, I would have individual writing conferences with each of the students.
After students had a buddy read their writing, they were ready to write their final draft. Here, I allowed my kiddos to choose if they wanted to publish their writings on a chocolate kiss or a heart. This cutie wanted the kiss, but I love it when there’s a good mix between the two options!
Whenever we write, I always have the students use a writing rubric. Since implementing this routine, my student’s writing has DRASTICALLY increased! The rubric for this activity is simple and after each action the students give a check mark showing that their writing includes the item.
A Kiss and a Heart
After students have checked over their writings, they are ready to make their chocolate kiss or heart to display their writings! The chocolate kiss is always a favorite!
To start, the kiddos trace out the kiss shape, then I cut a piece of foil for them to wrap the shape in.
Carefully they wrap the kiss shape and smooth the edges.
Now, I staple their writings and covers onto the kiss and have them write their name on the flag. This gets stapled to the back of the kiss.
I only staple the writing on the corners, but leave the title page open so you can lift it up and see the writing underneath.
The heart is assemble in the same way, but instead of foil and a flag, the kiddos get an arrow.
On the back, the students attach the rubric they filled out earlier. We just get in that habit so we don’t loose it!
Valentine’s Day Writing Activity Display
This makes for the cutest writing display board! I like to do this activity earlier in the month so that we can have it up for the entire month of February.
Just be sure you don’t staple down the flaps by accident! Your students will love flipping up the covers to read their writings.
Here’s one of our older bulletin board displays! Add some pre-cut letters and viola!
Valentine’s Day Writing Activity
Want to do this writing activity with your own class? You can grab the unit here in my TpT Store.