Friday, February 15, 2013

A Spoonful Of Sugar

My fingernails were painted bright red. I put on my red scarf and my heart pin.  I even added a touch of red lipstick.  It was Valentine's Day.  And if you haven't heard, Valentine's Day in an elementary school is a VERY BIG DEAL.   First of all it's a holiday, which means you can have a party.  Second of all, it's the day when you can bring in your carefully written valentines that you picked out special from Target three weeks ago in anticipation of the big day. And, finally, and most importantly, it's the day when you get to eat candy.

In my classroom, we have a read-in on Valentine's Day and then exchange valentines and have some treats.  This year's menu included pink rice krispy treats, red heart shaped jello, and strawberries.  Not too many sweets, because nowadays every single valentine card includes an attached candy.   There are Skittles valentines, and Airhead valentines, and lollipop valentines, and Tootsie Roll valentines, and .... well you get the idea.   Basically twenty some pieces of candy attached to tiny pieces of cardboard.   I, too, had picked out my valentines for my class.  I found little mini heart buttons and carefully addressed them and put them on each student's desk before school. 

The class was on task all morning, looking forward to their afternoon of merriment.  After recess, I announced the much waited for exchange and the students circulated around the room putting valentines in the decorated boxes and envelopes.  As they moved about the room, I sat at my back table, watching and digging through my own pile of quickly accumulating valentine candy. 

Within minutes, a student came over to me. "I have a big problem," she said, as I took a bite of a Tootsie Roll.  

"No you don't," I answered.  "No problems allowed on Valentine's Day."  She laughed but I could tell she meant business.

"Well, I still have a problem," she began again, clutching a neat stack of valentines.   "I only received twenty valentines.  There are twenty-two students in our class. And, of course I didn't give myself one so somebody didn't give me one."

Wow.  They actually count their valentines to make sure they receive one from everyone.  Of course, as a teacher, I told them they all must make one for everyone in the class.  Besides being amazed that she had so quickly counted them, and taken herself out of the equation, I decided I needed to solve this problem before she alphabetized them and somebody got in trouble.  No doubt several valentines were scattered on the floor of the hallway, or perhaps, still in the backpack that brought them.  

"Boys and girls, let's finish delivering valentines so you can go back to your desk and read them and have lots of candy!" I directed.  "You have one minute."

And then I leaned over to the little girl with her twenty valentines.  I quietly told her that sometimes valentines get lost or fall in the snow when you get off the bus.  I assured her that her not receiving the valentine was not intentional.  I told her that it would make the person feel really, really bad if they knew they lost her valentine.  

She was thinking about it and I could see she wasn't certain if this was still a problem or not.  I handed her a Tootsie Roll and winked at her.   She spun on little light-up pink shoes and headed back to her seat.  Whew!  Major Valentine's Day problem averted.

The students ate candy and read books and talked and read and re-read their little valentines.  It isn't often that they can just have an hour of fun and friends and candy. No teacher directions to follow, no assignment to complete. 

I received my share of Valentine gifts also.  I scored a nice box of Godiva chocolates, two new coffee cups, lots of chocolate, a bag of Almond Joys, and a fun heart shaped box of candy with "BFF" on the front from my BFF.  By far, the surprise gift on my desk today was the best.   This is a little solar powered dancing monkey!  It's beyond fabulous!  

Dancing Monkey (solar powered)
Since Michigan isn't known for much sun in the winter time, I placed it under my lamp on my bookshelves and it began to shimmy and shake!  Needless to say, the kids loved it too!  So, thanks teacher friend (you know who you are).  I know that any time for the rest of the year when I need to smile and feel more positive, all I'll have to do is watch my cute little dancing monkey!  

I really think this was one of the best Valentine's Day ever.    I truly enjoy watching the students interact and be social.  Our days are filled with learning and thinking and we don't have much "down" time in between. 

And although I'm sure we all had more than a spoonful of sugar, in these final long, dark days of winter, we all need it to help carry us through to spring.

1 comment:

  1. It IS a big deal in Elementary School! So happy it was a fun-filled day for you too! And, congrats to you BFF for finding the perfect gift!