Making valentines yourself 
         With most teachers allowing classroom time for the exchange of
valentines, this is a project that helps children to see that writing has a purpose.

         If you have either a computer or easy access to a copy machine,
encourage your child to design and copy her own cards. With a message
created one time, all that is left to be added are the greeting and signature.

         Alternatively, and especially for children in the intermediate grades (3-5)
put out a variety of paper, markers, and glue or glue stick and let their
imagination take over. If your primary (K-2) student is motivated and able to do
this, that would be great, but it may be a mistake to expect that she can do this
by herself.
         Resist your temptation to address or write the cards yourself. This is a
process that most children can do by themselves. And if the task is too daunting
to be done in one sitting, you can approach it by breaking it up into several
days. A few cards done each day may be a better approach for your child.

         The important social lesson to teach at this time is that everyone in the
class receives one of your childís cards. I always tell parents of my students to
take the all-or-nothing approach: either everyone gets a card or nobody does.
In elementary school, this is an expression of friendship, not passion.
         If you decide to go the buy-it-by-the-box route with the theme collection
that includes one for the teacher (donít forget the teacher!), you can still have
your child create cards for out-of-town relatives. They would appreciate your
childís thoughts and originality.

         I have created a list of frequently spelled words for family members, as
well as greetings that can be used on cards and letters that children can write
to family members. If you would like a copy, send me a SASE envelope, and Iíll
get it right to you. 

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