I love to feature teachers on my blog that exemplify educators who integrate the arts into their classrooms in meaningful ways. Today I have an extraordinary guest post from Jessica S. from Prudence Crandall Elementary in CT. Jessica and I have connected several times over the years via Instagram.
Recently Jessica contacted me and inquired about her entire school using my Valentine’s Day Card StARTers for a community project called “Valentines for Veterans.” It didn’t take me 2 seconds to know that I wanted to support this project however I could. (You can get a FREE sample of my cards below – keep reading!).
I am excited to share with you what Jessica’s school did for their local veterans in hopes that this might inspire you to do the same for your community – whether it be on the whole school level like Jessica and her colleagues or with your classroom. I think this is a significant way to remember our veterans at other times of the year – not just in November during Veterans’ Day.
Here is Jessica’s school project, in her own words:
Our school created a community building partnership within classes to promote positive interaction with students in grades above and below them. We meet once a month with a preplanned activity for all staff and students. February’s activity was “Valentines for Veterans”. Our academic coach has a personal connection to the Soldier’s Home in Holyoke, MA and for the past few years we have sent over 400 cards with messages of love and thanks to these veterans. Typically, we receive thank you cards and letters from veterans who may have not received a valentine in years! We enjoy listening to our students share stories of the veterans in their own lives as they write a card.
This year we used Jenny K’s “Valentine’s card StARTers” to help students create a valentine. We wanted every student to feel that they could be successful so we brainstormed a few sentence starters for the message inside and allowed students to work with their “buddy class” to draw, color, and write a message of love and thanks to a veteran. We were very pleased with the colorful and heartfelt messages the students created.”
I was honored that Jessica and her school used my Valentine’s Day Card StARTers to do this activity.
Valentines for Veterans: How-to
Here is a brief overview of how my “Valentine’s Day Card stARTers” resource works (along with some comments from other teachers at Jessica’s school as they crafted personalized cards for their local veterans):
Students design their cards.
These card starters allowed even our reluctant artists to create a card they are proud of. There was a good starting point for the students to begin without feeling overwhelmed looking at a blank piece of paper.” -3rd grade teacher
Students write their messages on the inside.
I’ve provided many different “starter” designs to choose from to help students get, well, started!
Our students took precise care in the making of these cards. I am impressed with the quality of the paper and the number of designs available to the students to give them a wide variety of choices.” -4th grade teacher
“Students enjoyed choosing from the variety of designs that suited their tastes and preferences.”-5th grade teacher
I’ve also included a how-to video in the resource to make the directions as easy as possible to follow.
The video was a great visual demonstration of how to create a quality card and gave our students a real exemplar to follow.” -5th grade teacher
I think you’ll agree that seeing all these cards all together is a powerful message.
The finished quality of the cards are some of the best ones that we have sent to the veteran’s hospital. I feel this is because of the card starters.” -3rd grade teacher
What a wonderful and meaningful project!
The complete set of my Valentine’s Day Card StARTers is available in my TeachersPayTeachers store, or you can get a FREE sample by joining my e-mail list.
I want to say a special thank you to Jessica for inviting me to play a part in this special project. To me, she and her school exemplify what a model school community is made of!
Thanks for reading and for making art with your students!