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Turn Your Valentine's Day Party into a "Giant" Celebration!

Outside the Box Teaching Ideas

Valentine's day is a couple days away. I love the red, pink, and white decorations, the cute mushy poems, the handmade student cards, and of course the chocolate! Yes, I  admit, I am quite the fan of this special day. It is a day to show those I care about a little extra attention. I am however, not a fan of repetition. Every year it is the same thing. Students create cute little bags or decorated shoe boxes to place their valentines. Parents send in candy hearts, brownies, cupcakes, and all the sugary treats you can think of and the level of excitement in the classroom goes from zero to sixty in a matter of just a few chocolate bars!

My fourth graders have already began searching for the “most awesome” and “coolest” Valentine (most likely One Direction). They have created a list of which card goes to which friend, and  selected the perfect little candy to attach to their special little cards. Not to mention which box of chocolates they will be delivering to yours truly. Believe me, it is a big deal!

I don't want to take away from their excitement, but I also don't want to do the same thing AGAIN! I might very well lose my mind. How do I share my enthusiasm for this day and show a little creativity? With a giant celebration!

We are in the final chapters of The BFG by Roald Dahl ( which I highly recommend) and I discovered the perfect way to blend both Valentine's day and this story: celebrate with an “I love the BFG” party!

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I know, it sounds a bit strange having a Valentine's party in honor of an imaginary character, especially a giant, but the BFG is not just any giant! He is the Big Friendly Giant who just happens to love children. Roald Dahl does a wonderful job depicting the friendship between a little girl named Sophie and a giant who calls himself the BFG. This delightful story is filled with examples of friendship, acceptance, patience, respect, and care. Isn't that what Valentine's day is supposed to be about- showing others we care?

 A few of the activities I have planned for the day incorporate what we are learning so I am not sacrificing learning for fun but rather adding fun to our learning.  Clever huh?

  • Take math for example, instead of just reading word problems from the text and asking students to solve them, we will write our own based on the story. Sophie finds herself in Giant country. She estimates she has traveled 300 miles away from the orphanage. If it took the giant 15 minutes to travel 100 miles, how many minutes did it take him to travel 300 miles?
  • We are learning cause and effect. This story is perfect! What happens when the BFG blows dreams into the bedrooms of the sleeping children? What was the effect on Fleshlumpeater when we was given the nightmare from the BFG.
  • Sadly, the BFG did not get to attend school so his grammar and spelling are poor. Editing to the rescue! Students can edit a page from the story. For additional verb identification, they can then underline all the action verbs from a page within the story.
  • Description writing is a breeze. Students can create a new giant for Mr. Dahl to add to the story. As an added bonus, persuasive writing in the form of a advertisement explaining why their should  be added to the story.
  • What would a lesson on giants be without a little history? Have students make a list of famous “giants” and write a description of them. How did they affect those around them (real or fiction). Do giants exist today? What classifies a giant?
  • Dreams in a jar? How great would that be? Students not only write out a detailed dream but also create a jar to place the dream. Exchanging the dreams instead of cards is also another great option.

Of course no party would be complete without a little treat. The BFG's favorite is frobscottle, a fizzy drink where the bubbles fizz downwards instead of up. I am not sure how to create upside down bubbles, but I did find a cute version of the drink on Pinterest.  While he was not a fan of disgusting snozzcumbers (such a fun word to say), our version of this would be bananas and what goes great with bananas? Ice cream! We will end our special learning day, secretly disguised as Valentine's day, with delicious student made banana splits and yes, exchange (One Direction) Valentine's day cards.

How will you celebrate Valentine's Day?

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