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grade2rocks's Message:

The last couple of years I was teaching (large urban school district), the district outlawed ALL celebrations/ parties (no fall, winter, valentine’s/friendship day etc. allowed).

While I disagreed with this vehemently, I have to admit it cut down on the craziness on those days. Structure and predictability did help!

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Discussion Review (newest messages first)
MissAgnes 02-18-2020 09:36 AM

I honestly don't remember having parties in school. Maybe we did, but I certainly don't remember that.
I find Valentine's day to be pretty silly, and really don't see what the big deal is.

We are only allowed 2 celebrations each year, so I"m not going to waste them on a made-up holiday.
As for having fun in school, it's there. We have Explorations Day 3x a year, where the kids get to choose an activity to do all day. We do fun activities in class quite often, so I don't think the kids are missing out.

My Two Cents 02-15-2020 11:48 AM

I can remember when I was a child in elementary school. We had parties for almost every birthday and holiday (we had Christmas parties not winter ones. Sorry, just had to get that in.) Anyway, it was nothing fancy. Usually just a cupcake, kool aid, (we were allowed to have that back then) and perhaps some potato chips or cookies. We always would have them at the end of the day during the last 10 minutes or so. Calcoast's post sure made me glad I grew up when I did. I know parties are a lot of work, and if you are restricted to have them you can't but, to an aging forty six year old, they sure bring back a lot of fond memories and I feel bad for the children of today who will not have those memories to look back on.

calcoast 02-14-2020 05:29 PM

No parties. because we lose teaching time. School as I have observed is not much fun. I loved school it was fun. I do not see this very often anymore. If I were going to school now I don't think I would have enjoyed it. I was in a kindergarten classroom where there was not one place on the schedule for free choice, or time to sit on the floor and play blocks,play dough or paint on an easel, all of which I did in my kindergarten class. So sad.

Marcimcg 02-14-2020 10:00 AM

Our school always was closed on the 14th but we celebrate the day first grade kids decorated a paper bag with old cards, scraps of paper or lace, markers - just a few min when other work done. On the celebration day kids brought in cards for everyone. Actually they could bring in all week and we kept them in box. Each little walked around and passed out the cards into their friends bags. Candies on cards not eaten in school. We have strict rules about food sharing in classrooms.

I always use opportunity to remind kids of importance of traditions.

Val day often comes close to Chinese New Year, another happy tradition to celebrate.

all41 02-14-2020 04:44 AM

I did not have a big party for Valentine's Day. I ran class like a normal day. We didn't have school one day this week due to weather and we get today (Friday) off so I didn't have time in the schedule for a full blown party. In the afternoon we took about 35 minutes to create a simple Valentine's theme art project that met my skills standards for the week. After PE class the kids who brought cards and treats passed them out. The students could eat 1 item while they did math homework and the rest went home. That's it. Students enjoyed the art, something we have to do anyway, and they enjoyed a treat. It was good, and most went home without math homework for the long weekend because they had time to finish it in class. They were happy!

grade2rocks 02-13-2020 11:53 PM

The last couple of years I was teaching (large urban school district), the district outlawed ALL celebrations/ parties (no fall, winter, valentine’s/friendship day etc. allowed).

While I disagreed with this vehemently, I have to admit it cut down on the craziness on those days. Structure and predictability did help!

annie_g 02-13-2020 08:26 PM

I taught upper elementary and I didn't have an actual party, just a valentine exchange. I let them have the last 20 minutes of the day to exchange valentines and read them. They were happy just to have some free time and eat some of the candy. Sometimes parents would send in cookies or cupcakes. That was it. No parents, games, crafts, or craziness.

Kinderkr4zy 02-13-2020 08:09 PM

MissAgnes-I am in the same boat.

I posted to my Bloomz a month ago that we wouldnt be exchanging valentines or having a party since we are not in school that day and the day before we have an assembly and other disruptions to the regular schedule that make it unfeasible.

You would have thought that I said I was going to EAT A BABY.

Some parents sent them anyway. I told those kids they could hand them out at dismissal but we didnt have bag or anything and we didnt have class time for it.

I brought in a treat for the kids, I gave everyone a card and a smencil, and we read Arthurs Valentine. Then every student stood up and said a few kind words to someone in class that has been helpful to them. Thats it-its all I had time for. If you dont like it then I dont know to tell you. I had an hour long assembly, I had to double up my class with another teacher so she could go to a math meeting, then I had to send her kids back to her along with mine for a last minute IEP meeting. A party would have been impossible-I dont regret my choice.

I say -do what you need to do and ignore the whining. You are never going to mkae everyone happy. Jesus didnt even make everyone happy-how could you expect to. We are all doing the best we can for the kids and that is all we can expect anyone to do.

Gogogo 02-13-2020 07:08 PM

I tell students they can bring valentines, but they have to bring one for everyone. I provide paper bags to the kids to collect the valentine. They love passing them out and getting them. Someone always brings cupcakes or cookies. The “party” runs itself — no decorations, no games, no parent help needed. Nothing to clean up. The kids go home happy.

My colleague is a little more basic. She has them pass out valentines 1st thing in the AM and then staples each bag shut and has them put it in their backpack immediately. Then it’s back to the regular school day.

KetchupChips 02-13-2020 05:19 PM

I always do a Valentine’s exchange, but it’s not a party. (We only get to have 2 parties a year.) These fun events are what kids remember, especially those kids who may not be academically strong. I thanked my child’s teacher for having this activity even though it was very low key. As kids get older, these events happen less and less. Just my perspective. Happy 💕 Day to all you hard working PTs!!

MissAgnes 02-13-2020 04:41 PM

I would allows valentines exchange. I just think it's silly to have it on a day that's not the day.
On the other hand, my P was totally on board with it.

MissESL 02-13-2020 02:54 PM

I teach 7th/8th and I still bring them a little valentine. Possibly. Cultural consideration but in my ELL room, no one gives a rat’s behind about Christmas, but I get a lot on Valentine's Day! I love it!

I don’t think there’s necessarily a problem with skipping the fanfare; however, it is super important that all the staff are on the same page. So if everyone agrees to having a party...then you really should have a party.

I’m sorry you’re getting pushback. Maybe next year, you can include this information in an “important dates” section on your welcome letter as a preview up the year or something.

MissAgnes 02-13-2020 01:10 PM

When they were told that we have conferences this week (half-days), and they are off on Friday, they asked when we were doing valentine's. I told them we weren't.
They asked if they could bring snacks, candy, etc. I said no. The office asked if we were doing anything (because parents call and ask) I said no.
Other classes in my grade are exchanging valentines, but we aren't.

Part of the reqson is the dynamics of my class. I have several high needs behavior students, and I try to keep a lot of structure in my classroom. I also have a few students who need to finish an novel study (because they dorked around last week). So this afternoon (45 minutes) those who were finished got free time on computers (VERY RARE OCCURRENCE), or games. So it's a special time, just without valentine's.

PrivateEyes 02-13-2020 11:26 AM

Pushback or not. Did kids come with Valentines? Or candy? Did you allow them to be passed out or did you send them home unopened?

I guess it all depends on what the culture of your school is and what is going on in the other 4th grade classrooms. Also, what directives you have or have not been given from administration and what has been done in past years.

I never had a Valentine's party per se, because our DISTRICT rule was that we could have a Winter party and an end of the year party. That's it.

However, we sent home lists of names and students could bring a valentine for everyone or none. They could also bring treats for all or not.

During station time on the 13th, the students could go to the "Decorate a Valentine's Bag station." Names written by me on a paper bag that they decorated with stickers, markers, etc.

During station time on the 14th, during the "Read to Self" station, students who had brought Valentine's stuff passed them out to the bags which were placed in alpha order under the chalk board (practicing alpha order ) If you didn't bring anything, you read as usual.

During packup time, kids grabbed their bags and took them home. No opening of valentines, no candy eating, no party. Just a chance for kids to give something to their classmates, if they wanted.

No extended loss of instructional time, since each activity had some educational value.

hand 02-13-2020 10:45 AM

I would think that it depends on when you notified students and parents that there would be no celebration. As a working mom, I always had my kids pick out cards as soon as we saw them so I wasn’t running around at the last minute. If you notified them in an email or a newsletter 3 to 4 weeks in advance, then that would be different.

This is my second year retired, however, at my former school, the entire grade level did the same activities for holidays, the same games, crafts, treats, etc. The room parents for each grade level met and planned. Really was great for cutting down on complaints that a different classroom had a better party. I know they are still doing this because I happened to sub for a friend during the winter holiday party.

Hawkeyegirl1 02-13-2020 10:30 AM

on Friday,so we are celebrating Valentine's Day today. K-3 are having parties, 4th and 5th are going roller skating this afternoon, and 6th decided to have a Valentine's breakfast in the classroom.

Personally, I'm not a fan of parties, but I know the kids love them.

MissAgnes 02-13-2020 10:22 AM

We have parent teacher conference this week (yesterday and today) and then Friday is in-service and PD. Nothing to do with Valentine's.
I teach 4th grade.

hikinghiker 02-13-2020 10:19 AM

You are the second person I've heard from that doesn't have school tomorrow! Is it because of valentines day and is it a teacher work day?

I have school tomorrow and I'll be doing a valentines day party. Honestly, I think that you should do a celebration on valentines day (even if it's not a party) If you teach grades pre-k-1st grade. I can see not doing a celebration after that age since giving them could get embarrassing or awkward after that age, but I personally would probably still recognize it in any grade if I was the teacher.

That being said, I don't know why other teachers care so much. Last year we had several teachers not do anything holiday related. No thanksgiving themed stuff, or winter themes, or valentines day theme. I thought it sounded boring since I personally enjoy the day off from regular teaching, but I definitely didn't judge them for it.

It's your classroom, do what you want.

MissAgnes 02-13-2020 09:57 AM

We don't have school tomorrow, and I decided that we aren't going to celebrate Valentine's, hand them out, etc.

I'm getting a lot of push back from parents and students, and a few teachers think I'm being unreasonable.

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