"The Day It Rained Hearts" by Felicia Bond is one of my all-time favorite Valentine Stories! You can probably guess by the title and the cover picture what happens in the story. ;) The little girl catches hearts that fall from the sky and sorts through them to make very special Valentines for each of her friends.
I have to stop here for a minute and tell you one of my favorite kid-quotes EVER. A few years ago I was supervising a graduate student clinician, Jenn (she now works for my district and has written a couple of guest posts for me). Jenn was using this story with a group of kids. She drew their attention to the cover and asked them to predict what would happen in the story. One little boy (who recently had broken his glasses) shouted out, "That duck is gonna get hit by all them apples!" LOL! Kids are so funny!
Back to the story...The author describes what the little girl does to create each card. I usually tell the kids that the girl's friends are all animals and ask them to guess which animal the card might be for. You don't see the completed Valentine until the recipient receives it in the mail, so this can be challenging. I made replicas of the Valentines in the book so we can discuss them a bit more after the story:
Can you guess which animal receives these Valentines? You can use these Valentines to target inferences, providing explanations, using descriptors, etc.
Whenever I do a story as part of my lesson, I usually follow-up with an extension activity. I have a few Valentine's Day themed language activities that I use with this story or during another session. Here are some of my favorites...
Ever buy these little cards for your kids to giveaway at school (or to give to your kids at school)? There's always a few left over, right? Well, there are a few things you can do with them.
1. Describing Game. Put all cards in a mini mailbox. I have a couple of these that I found at Target in the Dollar Spot. Have students take turns pulling out a Valentine and describing it in as much detail as possible. You can also use sets. Place one set on the table and the other in the box. One student takes a Valentine out of the mailbox and describes it, the other students have to guess which Valentine is being described.
2. Memory Game / Go Fish. Find pairs of cards. Glue to index cards or cardstock, cut to uniform size and laminate. Use to play Memory or Go Fish. You can work on describing, fluency strategies, articulation carry-over etc.
3. Sorting Activity. I use this activity a lot with my just-turned-three-year-olds. I got these mini bags from Oriental Trading years ago. I have extras, so I use them for just about everything. I stapled a different Valentine to each bag and have kids sort into the correct bag. You could also sort by "category" - Spongebob Characters, Princesses, Animals, etc.
Heart Shaped Go-Togethers
Here's another activity from Jenn, although hers were much cuter than mine. She used pre-cut felt hearts from a craft store. I couldn't find felt or foam hearts, but I did find these white ones. In hindsight, I should have painted or colored them. They're a bit boring, but they work. Grab images of things that go together (e.g., tire/car, paintbrush/paint can, bird/nest, etc.). Place one on each side of the heart. I used scrapbook scissors to cut the hearts in half so that they were like puzzles:
Last year I found this great inferencing activity from Speech Time Fun. Listen to the rhymes and try to figure out who the Valentine is for. Follow the link to Speech Time Fun to access these free printables!
I Only Have EYES for You
One of my very first Pinterest finds was this cute activity from The First Grade Sweet Life. Listen to the clues and find the animal that is described.
What's going on in your speech room for Valentine's Day?