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I have an average of 3-5 immigrant/refugee students in each of my grade
levels from such countries as Sudan, Viet Nam, Yugoslavia, Mexico . . .
Anyway, I decided this Valentine's week was a good chance to give my
students a real life experience in "what is 'dis Valentine about???" We had
a wonderful discussion on the tradition of showing your affection to people
you care about and then everyone created VERY glitsy-glittery-doily
traditional Valentines out of the scrap drawer. We attached yarn loops to
each plus a little note which read: "Hearts from Hawthorne. Happy
Valentines Day from Hawthorne Elementary School!" Each student signed their
own first name. Then 3 days in a row, I took one 3rd grade class at a time
on a snowy walk around the neighborhood surrounding our school. We hung our
beautiful handmade Valentines on the door knobs of 75 homes. The neighbors
who happened to be home opened their doors in surprise and smiled and waved
at the excited children on the sidewalk. We have received phone calls and
letters of appreciation from grateful neighbors. One elderly gentleman was
spending his first Valentines Day alone since his wife passed away, and he
told us the child's Valentine was the most precious gift he could have
gotten. My students were awed when I shared this with them.
Art class and holiday projects can be a wonderful opportunity to educate
children about cultural traditions. :)