Happy Tuesday, National Math Bee Family! Valentine’s day is a few days away! What does that mean for you and your household or classroom? How about celebrating friendship and inclusivity. Above all, Valentine’s day is the perfect opportunity to celebrate friendship. It is also a wonderful moment to extend kindness, and an excellent excuse to develop friendships and make new friends. National Math Bee invites you to encourage your children to branch out of their ordinary social circles and reach out to create unique, unordinary friendships. Much can be done in the classroom to help kids to break from their conventional circles and spark conversations with a classmate that they may not regularly be social with.
A few ideas to spark camaraderie within the classroom
Below are a few ideas that may be incorporated into the classroom to help spark camaraderie. These ideas are brought forth in the spirit of celebrating friendship and inclusivity.
Pair students that do not regularly socialize. Have students interview one another. Ask your students to spend a significant amount of time with one another to get a real grasp of the other person. Have them write a biography of their partner based on the investigation. This biography can be shared with the other individual or with the classroom.
Grow from one another
Pair students that do not regularly socialize. The base of this pairing can be on balancing the strengths and weaknesses of individual children. This pairing is to be structured so that children will truly learn from one another, strengthen one where the other is weak, and so forth. This pairing should be subject-based or based on different aspects, such as socially or emotionally. The idea is to get to know one another and learn to grow from one another.
Hold teambuilding activities that highlight the importance of each individual’s existence in the classroom. Sometimes all a child needs to know is that he matters, which can make all the difference. “Because community building is such an important aspect of student learning, teachers must continue to revisit and build upon activities and strategies that strengthen student relationships in the classroom.” 1
Below are some beautiful Valentine inspired team building ideas from our friend Sharon Taylor at Scholastic.
Can you mend my broken heart?
Taylor suggests that you divide your class into small groups and give each group pieces of a broken heart. The purpose of the game is to put the heart back together as fast as possible. The first team that mends the broken heart is the winner. This game is fun, fast-paced, and inspires collaboration.
“Give each of your students one half of a broken heart cut in different ways. Instruct the students to move around until they find the classmate with the matching heart. Once all the students have found their partners, have the students pair up for the rest of the day. Encourage students to learn at least two new things about their partner and share it during closing circle.”1 This activity focuses on creating new friendships and strengthening the bond inside the classroom.
Take advantage of this fun holiday to inspire your children/students to be kind to one another
These activities are sure to be fun and exciting for your students. Some can be eye-opening, forcing students to experience life in the shoes of one another, while others merely strengthen the bond within the classroom. Ultimately these activities are meant to encourage new friendships and appreciation for one another and can serve as a building point for greater collaboration and empathy within the classroom.
What Valentine’s day activities do you implement at home and in the classroom? Do you focus on celebrating friendship and inclusivity? What ideas do you have to build new friendships and make students be better human beings to one another?
Have a happy valentine’s day, we value your friendship.
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