1-2-3 Come Do Some Candy Heart Activities With Me
One of the things I do during February, is use NECCO's candy conversation hearts in all sorts of fun activities. NECCO stands for the New England Confectionary Company. I really enjoy doing research to find out the background of things I use in the classroom, and while working on this blog article, I found some truly interesting information on a candy that's been around since Lincoln's time, when it was popular during the Civil War!
Back then, they were a crisp candy with a paper note tucked inside a cockle shell, much like a fortune cookie. In 1866 the candy evolved into a heart shape when Daniel Chase, the brother of NECCO’s founder, Oliver Chase, invented the process of printing words on the candies. They were written in red dye and were an instant success, (particularly as a wedding party favor) becoming known as "Motto Hearts".
Until I started doing research, I was not aware that each year the company makes up new messages. However, some sentiments like "Kiss Me" and "Be Mine" added in 1902, continue to be favorites. To keep things current, they've invited the public to join an online survey to decide what they want these sweet little messages to say. Recent favorites: "Tweet Me", Text Me", "Love Bug" and "You + Me".
I also learned that they have themes such as food, resulting in "Recipe 4 Love", "Table 4 Two" and “Yum-Yum” messages. In 2003 they had a “school” theme with the messages: “Teach me” “Let’s read.” “Write me.” and “Whiz Kid” . To see an archive of the sayings from past years click on the link.
According to the National Confectioners Association, “About 8 billion hearts will be produced this year!” The company has to produce 100,000 pounds of hearts a day to meet that demand, as they sell that amount in 6 weeks during their peak Valentine’s Day season. So how do I use them in the classroom?
So we can do a variety of math activities, I give each student 10 hearts. We count them forwards and backwards; sort them by color, do some patterning with them, and measure how many hearts tall and long different things are. We also practice addition and subtraction skills. I call out various equations, writing them on the board and have my kiddos make the "equations" on their desk, using the hearts as manipulatives.
We also graph their favorite color and flavor as a whole group. These graphs are in my first candy heart packet, which I made before I had all of the graphic programs I now use. I wish I had the time to revamp a few of these older packets.
It's 32-pages long and includes reading, writing and math activities, plus some candy heart puzzles.
More Fun With Candy Hearts is another older packet, which includes a variety of skip counting by 2s, 3s, 5s and 10s activities. There's patterning practice as well as "guess-timation" activities.
This 33-page packet also includes 44 candy heart CVC word squares that you can use to play games or create sentences with.
I designed these using the Acme Heart Maker site where you can type in 4-letter words on a candy heart template. Even tho' they look exactly like real candy hearts, being a teacher, I'd rather have had them printed in lowercase letters.
A year later, I found a new site: cryptogram.com where you can type in up to 11 upper or lowercase letters! Woo hoo! I had so much fun thinking of things to make.
Oh the possibilities! Type in your students' names to make them a bookmark or magnet; or set this up as an independent computer-center activity and allow them time to make a few of their own. I even made one for my husband and tucked it in his lunch.
Some school's 100 Day lands on or close to Valentine's Day, so I made up a Happy 100 Day candy heart note for your kiddos. To make this an extra special gift, attach a box of the conversation hearts.
The Dollar sells them 4 in a pack. There's also smaller candy heart cards in the packet. Use them for Memory Match or "I Have; Who Has?" color games. Click on the link to view/download the 100 Day With Candy Hearts activities.
Of course my brain was working over time trying to think of the zillion ways I could use this. I got out my Dolch word list and made a complete set of conversational hearts from all of the lists Pre-Primer through 3rd grade.
You can do several things with these. Simply use them as anchor charts, or print them off, laminate, and then cut them apart to make Memory Match games.
You can also put the posters up on your word wall for February; have students put the hearts in alphabetical order, or cut them up to make mini puzzles. Students can also choose several hearts and make sentences using those words.
Play a whole-group game and put the laminated hearts in a box, have students take one out identify the word(s). If they cannot they are out of the game. Click on the link to view/print the Dolch Word Candy Hearts.
Since we were also working on colors, I designed a set of candy heart color cards. Print; laminate and trim the cards to make Memory Match or "I Have; Who Has" games. I've also included a cover, if you want your students to make an Itty Bitty Candy Heart Color booklet.
Finally, Contraction activities are often requested, so I thought I'd make a set of those, using 61 contractions.
Students match the word cards to their contraction cards. You could also have children choose several cards and write sentences. Click on the link to view/download the Conversation Heart Contraction Cards.
Whew! That's a lot of candy heart themed activities. I hope you found a few to help round out your Valentine's Day activities, or use for the rest of February.
Thanks for visiting. It's a cold and overcast day here in Michigan' perfect for snuggling up with a cup of hot cocoa and make some valentines for those near and dear to my heart. Wishing you a warm and cozy day.
"I believe we must give more than we get; and leave more than we take." - Foster G. McGaw
1-2-3 Come Make Some Valentines With Me
Since Valentine's Day is Friday, this will be my last blog post with heart-themed "stuff" 'til next year. It's time to move on to President's Day.
Before I do though, I wanted to whip together a few special valentine things for you.
I always sent a Valentine's Day Party information note home, as well as a list of their child's classmates, followed up by a thank you note to anyone who helped with the party, or donated something.
I thought perhapes you could use a time-saving template for those things. Simply print and then fill in your own info. Click on the link to view/download the Valentine Note Packet.
Since the mustache craze continues, and so many teachers have that as a theme in their classrooms, I thought I'd make a mustache valentine.
Before I design anything new, I surf the net to see if anyone has done what I'm thinking about; no sense reinventing the wheel.
Erin had done just that, as I found a simply adorable mustache valentine FREEBIE over at: I Love Naptime!
Aren't they cute? I love how she inserted the sucker so that it looks like a nose. Your kiddos can trim off the writing and wear their mustache while they slurp away, which makes for a sweet photo op. Click on the link above to grab her FREEBIE.
The Internet provided all sorts of examples of old-fashoned, vintage, and handmade valentines. A few hours quickly slipped away, as I flitted from one site to the next.
One of my favorite finds was made by Kristen over at Yellow Bliss Road. She overlayed the word love on top of one of my favorite Bible verses. Click on the link to get this lovely FREEBIE, suitable for framing.
If you're looking for vintage valentines, you definitely need to click on the link that will take you to Lisa Thorarinson's Pinterest board. She has over 600 exquisite examples! Many are in the public domain.
Another great site that's less overwhelming, has 70 vintage valentine FREEBIES and can be found at Sweetly Scrapped.
I really enjoyed taking a trip down memory lane, as my grandmother collected all sorts of valentine postcards from the early 1900's. I fondly remember paging through her scrapbooks.
To save you time, I used a few free clips to make a vintage valentine packet.
I've laid them out so there are minis you can print for all of your kiddos, as well as a larger one with only one valentine on the page, to print and give to that special someone. Click on the link for my Vintage Valentine packet.
I was pleasantly surprised at the popularity of ALL of the writing prompt valentines that I've been posting. They have been the most downloaded items these past few days.
TeachWithMe is mainly geared towards early elementary, but most of the writing prompts can be tweaked up, and some, I specifically designed for older students.
With that in mind, I decided to make a folded heart envelope, which my crafty grandma Lydia, taught me a zillion years ago. Give older students a writing prompt or have them record whatever they want inside.
I've also included a few poem ideas they could use as well, or challenge them to write their own poetry. There's a heart pattern that includes one of my favorite "love" quotes, which I used for "my special saying" that went under my senior yearbook picture.
Run off the heart pattern on a variety of pastel colored construction paper, or for especially pretty "envelopes" print on patterned scrapbook paper that has a plain flip side. Click on the link to view/download the Folded Heart Envelope Valentine Writing Prompt.
Finally, since yesterday's keepsake "Blow a Kiss!" craftivity was such a big hit, I wanted to design a few more "keepers."
While surfing the net, I came across the idea of making thumbprints look like hearts; they were posted on a variety of bridal pin boards. I LOVED this idea, so I had my husband press his thumb on a bronze stamp pad and then I pressed mine next to his, so that it looked like a heart.
I cut out my construction paper heart and glued it to a circle of textured scrapbook paper, which I glued to the back of a paperweight.
I thought it turned out really cute. I got the paperweight from Michael's Craft Store for only a dollar, but you could buy a bag of the clear glass, flat-backed stones to make this an inexpensive project. Simple hot glue a magnet to the back.
I also designed a sweet "thumb body" loves you valentine, for your kiddos to do the same thing on. There's a color as well as a black and white pattern. Click on the link to view/download the Keepsake Thumbprint Valentine.
I hope you found a few things here that you can do personally, or with your students to make your Valentine's Day extra special.
Thanks for visiting today. Feel free to PIN away.
"Love wasn't put in your heart to stay; love's only love when you give it away." -Rogers and Hammerstein