My Jar of Hearts Writing Activity

Valentine's Day is right around the corner so I wanted to share one of my favorite writing activities: My Jar of Hearts.

Two things I love about Valentine's Day are the candy hearts and the "feel good fuzzies" you get from someone else's kind words; whether it be verbal or written. So this writing activity incorporates both.




Here's how the lesson goes:

A week before, or the week of Valentine's Day, I place a glass jar in the classroom. At the end of each day I have students share out things for which they are appreciative (or you can do the things they love). I write down six "appreciations" on the board, listed in numerical order.

- example -

1. I appreciate my friends playing with me.
2. I appreciate that I had a delicious lunch today.
3. I appreciate that my parents work hard to support me.
4. I appreciate my mom driving me to school.
5. I appreciate my freedom.
6. I appreciate a break at recess time.

Every student that shares out gets a candy heart...yum! Then, I roll a die, and for the number that comes up (1-6) I write that corresponding "appreciation" from the board down on a heart cut-out (or I have a student write it for me - depending on the grade level). I do this with a few hearts each day and place them in the class "Jar of Hearts."


The week of Valentine's Day we start our My Jar of Hearts writing activity. To begin the lesson, I pull out all of the hearts from the class appreciate jar (or love jar) and read them aloud again to get students brainstorming. Then, I each student a pre-write and let them write down their own six different things in their lives for which they are most appreciative.


Students cut out their hearts and glue them onto a jar.


Depending on the grade level, students can use their pre-writes to develop a "Dear Diary" entry, a paragraph, or a poem for "My Jar of Hearts." If you use this with kindergarten, you can modify the lesson and have the writing portion be the writing down of appreciations on hearts for individual student jars. If you use this with preschool, students could draw pictures on the hearts, rather than writing any words...there are lots of ways to modify this activity!




Materials needed for the lesson are:

1 large glass jar (a mason jar works great)
1 bag of candy conversation hearts
10-12 paper heart cut-outs
Photocopies of My Jar of Hearts Writing Freebie for each student
9x12 pack of construction paper to mount the final product on (I use red, white and pink)

DOING THIS AT HOME

This activity can be done with parents and their children, too! As a parent, I love having activities that we can do together at the dinner table. Here's how I would modify this lesson for home:

*I would have a family jar of appreciations (or love) leading up to Valentine's Day.
*Each night at dinner, we would take turns writing down one appreciation that we have on a paper heart, and put it in the family jar.
*I would give my children a candy heart for sharing a meaningful appreciation.
*The day before Valentine's Day I would have my kids take all of their appreciation hearts out of the jar and glue them onto the paper jar. I would not make them re-write on the pre-write paper since they already did the work.
*Then, I would have my children write a "Dear Diary" letter Valentine's Day to remember all of the things they appreciate.
*Finally, we would read our letters aloud at the dinner table.

I hope you enjoy this activity, and I wish you all a fabulous February!

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