Fun (Free) Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day in the Middle School Math Classroom

With my school going from pre-k – 8th grade, I have always felt kind of bad for the “big kids” on Valentine’s Day because it is business for them as usual while the lower grades are having parties.  That’s why I always try to do something a little different than a normal math class, but still academic.  I thought I’d share a couple of the things I have done with my students on Valentine’s Day for other teachers who are looking for easy, free, no-prep ways to bring some holiday fun into their math classes.

valentines day math in the middle

I have shared before that I LOVE problem-solving and give my students word problems daily.  (You can read about my daily problem solving here).  On Valentine’s Day I use a set of Valentine’s word problems on fractions that I made a few years ago instead of the normal problem of the day.  (Download them free from my TpT store by clicking on the picture below).  The word problems are a great challenge because they combine two areas students typically struggle with – fractions and word problems.

valentine freebie pic2

I break the class into groups of 4 and have them work together on the problems.  I make it a contest – either the first group to get all the problems correct wins, or any group that gets at least 5 problems right within a set time limit wins, etc.  Students don’t necessarily love working on word problems (the understatement of the century), but working as a group and making it a contest definitely ups the fun-factor!

After the word problems, play a game of “Attack”, reviewing whatever concept you are currently studying.  On Valentine’s Day I have them draw hearts as the thing they are attacking and have them attack by drawing arrows on the hearts.  (If you missed my post explaining how to play, you can read it here – trust me, it’s worth the read because students absolutely LOVE this game!)

Finally, show your students some love by giving them a homework pass.  You can download mine free by clicking on the picture below.  (Write the student’s name on the 1st line and sign the 2nd line.)  Either give one to every student as a Valentine or use them as a prize for the groups that won the word problem race and “Attack” game.  (I use the point system of grading, and homework counts as 2 points a day in my class, so I personally allow my students to either use the homework pass to get credit on a night where they didn’t do their homework or they can turn it in at the end of the marking period for 2 extra credit points.)

hw pass pic

I hope you are able to use some of these ideas in your class.  Please feel free to share what you do to have fun with your students on Valentine’s Day in the comments below!

Happy Valentine’s Day!


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Bee My Valentine: Craft Idea for Kids

This is definitely not a “normal” post for me…but since this week has not really been a “normal” week at school with all our Catholic Schools Week activities, I figured I’d mix things up on my blog, too!

Yesterday was our “Buddy Day” at school, where all the older kids were buddied up with the younger students in the school to work on a craft project together.  My homeroom (fifth grade) was partnered with kindergarten, so I had to find a project that the fifth grade students could help the kindergartners create.  Of course my first thought was to look online for ideas, and I found this great website with different Valentine’s Day crafts for kids.  I liked the “Butterfly Love Bug” craft on the site, but decided to turn it into a bee and make it my own.

The craft was a perfect activity for the classes to work on together since it was so simple.  The bees are made up of 6 congruent large hearts (2 yellow, 2 black, and 2 pink/red), 4 congruent small hearts (pink/red), and 2 skinny strips of paper (black).

bee before

I gave each pair (kindergartner/5th grader) a large heart stencil, small heart stencil, half a sheet of yellow construction paper, half a sheet of red or pink construction paper (they chose which they wanted), and half a sheet of black construction paper.  The fifth graders helped their kindergarten buddies trace the stencils onto the construction paper to make all 10 of the hearts and cut them out.  The partners then glued the pieces together, the kindergartners drew faces on them, and the 5th graders wrote “Bee My Valentine” on the finished products.

bee finished

The kindergarten students are taking them home as Valentine’s Day presents for their parents.  I think they came out really cute (especially considering that this is the 1st craft I have ever done with younger students)!


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