Free, Fun and Festive Valentine's Day Projects

If you're like me, you're always on the hunt for a fun and festive Valentine's Day project.  Today, I thought I'd share two FREE lessons that you can combine to make two different types of projects.  I've teamed up with my friend, Art with Jenny K.. to tell you all about them!

Here are the links to the resources you'll need for the projects:
Pop Art Heart (This is in the supporting documents of the video in Art with Jenny K.'s shop.)
Writing a Valentine's Day Rebus (You'll find this as a free download in my shop.)

Start both of these projects with the pop art heart designed by Art with Jenny K.  

Students will need to add patterns and designs inside the shapes of the heart.  Then, they can color in their patterns to make a unique Valentine heart.

Next, get students working on creating and writing a rebus valentine.  

Students will learn all about the rebus style of writing.  Then, they'll solve sample riddles before they brainstorm some ideas of their own.

Finally, they'll create their own Valentine message in the rebus-style of writing.  They should write their message on the final copy paper provided.

After students have finished their pop art heart and rebus valentine, it's time to get creative.  Students can create two different projects with their work.
1.  They can create a jumbo Valentine's Day card.
2.  Or, they can make a long Valentine's Day poster to display.

If students will be creating a jumbo card, they'll each need an 18" x 11" piece of construction paper (along with their pop art heart and rebus valentine.)  

Have them fold an 18" x 11" piece of construction paper in half.  Then, they can add the pop art to the cover.  Inside, they can glue the rebus message.  You can "amp" up the valentine with scrapbook paper, stickers, cut-outs, and lots of doodles and drawings.  Or, you might have students draw the pop art heart directly on the cover of the card.

Or, you might have students create a Valentine's Day poster with the pop art and rebus message.  Again, students will need a piece of 18" x 11" paper and their completed work.  On a piece of 18" x 11" paper, students can glue their heart and rebus.

Both projects make great gifts or classroom displays.  We hope you and your students enjoy combining the pop art hearts and their Valentine's Day rebuses to create fun and festive projects!

You can check our video all about these ideas HERE.

Looking for more Valentine's Day activities?  Check out these favorites...

Valentine's Day Fact Hunt and Doodle Infographic
Students collect 14 facts about Valentine's Day while they learn about its history, traditions around the world, and stats and figures.  Then, they turn their learning into a fun doodle infographic.

Valentine's Day Gift Tags
Here's a free set of Valentine's Day gift tags that you can add to school supplies and give to your own students.  For a fun twist, check out this video to learn how to turn the tags into stickers!

Valentine-Themed Creative Writing Lessons and Poetry
Check out this set of 5 Valentine-themed creative writing lessons.  These lessons help students practice skills like figurative language and parts of speech.  Students will be able to write creativity all February long!  

And, when you're ready for a little spring (after Valentine's Day), you might want to check out my favorite set of poetry analysis lessons.

More Pop Art Coloring Pages
Oh, and if your students fall in love with creating the pop art heart, find a bunch more pop art coloring pages here.  Or, combine reading and pop art with this set of Nonfiction Reading Comprehension Passages!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Mary Beth

Favorite Winter-Themed Lessons

I don’t know about you, but for me, the winter season always seems so busy!  Perhaps it's the holidays and celebrations or maybe it’s all the activities, but winter is a super busy time of year...especially in the classroom. With so many tasks, activities and traditions in our "real" lives, it can be hard to find the time to plan lessons for students. That's why I thought I'd take one thing off your "to do" list:  lesson planning! 

I've put together a round-up of winter-themed lessons and units that are just a download away from teaching.  Some ideas are specific to holidays and others are perfect for any winter day!

Here's a quick listing of the ideas I'm sharing today...
➽  FREE December Plan Book  and January Plan Book
➽  Winter Poem Analysis (5 poems)


Make the busyness of the winter months a whole lot easier with the December and January virtual plan books

Free ideas for December lesson planning.
The FREE virtual plan books are designed to provide inspiration and ideas for making teaching and learning a whole lot more fun!  You'll find lesson ideas and teaching tips & tricks for each month.  And the best part?  They’re free!  If you’re looking for a discounted set of units for both months (which means you won’t have to plan a thing), check out the December Unit Bundle and the January Unit Bundle.


Here are a few ideas that tap into students’ natural excitement about the winter holidays while keeping students learning!

Lesson plans for "A Christmas Carol"
This is one of my favorite units to teach...especially in December! This 8-day drama study includes absolutely everything you'll need to teach the play. There's a traditional version and a version for interactive notebooks!

Help students learn about holidays around the world and Christmas around the world with this fun research project.  Students research Christmas in different countries and then turn their research into festive gift boxes.
Research has never been more fun or interactive with this Christmas Around the World project! Students each research a different country. Then, they turn their learning into fun and festive gift boxes. It's the perfect way to keep students learning this month!

Teach friendly letter writing with this set of 6 engaging activities based on 8 letters from Santa's reindeer.
Tap into students’ natural excitement about the Christmas season with this fun, engaging, and super educational Reindeer Mail Mini-Unit! Filled with six activities that address critical ELA skills there is nothing “filler” about this unit! 


Check out these resources designed for the end-of-the-year.  The reflection can be completed before students head off to break or when they return to school.  And speaking of break, there’s a print-and-go resource for helping students learn over break too!

Help students reflect on their year with this personal reflection and infographic activity.
As the calendar year draws to a close, engage your students with this fun, creative and FREE Personal Reflection and Infographic Activity. Students will complete a reflection on their year. Then, they'll turn the significant moments from 2017 into an infographic. This is perfect to do before break!

Keep students learning while they are on winter break with these activities that they can complete over winter break.
Want to keep students learning while they are on winter break? It's easy with this Winter Break Project! The Tic-Tac-Snow Winter Break Project is filled with 9 learning activities that will have students reading, writing, and practicing critical thinking skills in unique and creative ways!


Here are two sets of lessons that are built around the winter season!

This resource contains five winter-themed learning centers for students to rotate through in small groups.
This brand-new resource is perfect to teach before the break or when students return to school in the new year. There's five winter-themed learning stations that target different reading comprehension skills.  Students even create a fun flip book and "build" a snowman at each learning center!

This winter, help your students cozy up to five winter poems in this engaging 5-day Poetry Analysis Unit.

This winter, help students cozy up to five winter poems with this engaging 5-day poetry analysis unit.  Take all the intimidation out of teaching and analyzing poetry with the interactive flip books designed for each poem.  Each poem has a winter-theme and aligns with four analysis tasks.

Speaking of poems, click here to find a set of Winter Poems that are perfect to read aloud!

Thanks for stopping by!

Mary Beth

Looking for fun lessons and units to teach all winter long?  Then, you're in luck!  I've rounded up my favorite ELA lessons for the winter season!

5 Favorite Poems to Teach Growth Mindset

Teach growth mindset with these five poems.  Each poem is inspirational and addresses critical concepts of growth mindset!

Robert Frost once said “There are three things, after all, that a poem must reach: the eye, the ear, and what we may call the heart or the mind. It is most important of all to reach the heart of the reader.” Anyone who has read a poem and felt the words deep within themselves knows this assertion to be true. Poetry is uniquely capable of touching the hearts of readers.  That's why it lends itself perfectly to the underlying messages of growth mindset.

Poetry can be engaging when relatable, and it also makes for an easy way to reinforce skills that students have already learned while reading longer works such as interpreting figurative language, citing evidence within the text, finding the central idea, and close reading. But it also has the potential to begin a conversation with students about their own lives and experiences. Poetry can spark an investigation into growth mindset, too.  Everyone can relate in some way!  

The following poems are ones able to reach even the most reticent of poetry readers while shedding light on the themes of growth mindset. Each person, young and old, has had experience with trying to persevere through tough times when things seem to be working against them. These poems present an easy way to show students who may be struggling that they are not alone, while also building on reading and critical thinking skills.

POEM #1: "The Man Who Thinks He Can" by Walter D. Wintle
Favorite poem to teach growth mindset

Surely such a short poem couldn’t be so powerful? Think again! This poem focuses on the idea that positive thinking is one of the most important factors in succeeding when faced with something difficult. This poem is packed with fun rhyming, but also offers some more difficult phrases to inspire thinking amongst students in order to feel the full meaning of the poem. 

If you'd like to give students a chance to analyze this poem and connect it to growth mindset, check out this popular set of Growth Mindset Doodle and Do activities.

 POEM #2: "It Couldn't Be Done" by Edgar Albert Guest

Much like The Little Engine That Could, this poem aligns perfectly to growth mindset.  That's because it takes a look at positive thinking when completing tasks. This is such a fun poem because the rhyming makes it seem as though it is a fun nursery rhyme. Reading this aloud is sure to get students engaged and interested in this poem and its underlying meanings.

POEM #3 - "If-" by Rudyard Kipling 

Critical thinking is shall I say…critical! In this poem, the author takes the reader through a journey of understanding the qualities in themselves that may set them apart...such a great growth mindset lesson!  The best part about this poem is its use of metaphor to get some points across. This poem is sure to keep students thinking and coming to their own conclusions.

Poem #4 - "Hard Luck" by Edgar Albert Guest

The grass is always greener on the other side—right? In this poem, the writer confronts the concept that we sometimes think that someone else has it much easier than we do when maybe they don’t.  Although this longer poem may take more critical thinking on the part of students, its casual wording, such as using the word “ain’t,” can make for a very fun read-aloud!

Poem #5 - "Listen to the Mustn'ts" by Shel Silverstein

We complete this list with a well-known and loved author—Shel Silverstein! Although a short poem, it still adheres to the idea of perseverance and positive thinking (hello, growth mindset)!  This can be a fun treat to include in lessons to give students a mental break with a favorite!

Poetry can be so powerful, and when it's combined with important concepts like growth mindset, its impact is immeasurable!  I hope you've found a few poems to share with your students!

Great news!  Since poetry can be so much fun in the classroom, I've put together a set of 5 poet-"treats" for teachers and students.  You'll receive 5 FREE poetry analysis, writing, and reading lessons!  Click here to have the exclusive free poetry lessons sent to your inbox!

If you're looking for more ways to develop growth mindset all year long, check out this blog post or you can find 5 of my favorite poems for middle school here.

Thanks so much for stopping by!
Mary Beth

P.S. You might want to check out this blog post, too!

Help students understand the concepts of growth mindset with these inspirational poems!  Perfect for helping students understand the essentials of growth mindset!

3 Fun and Educational Thanksgiving Lessons

Thanksgiving lessons for the ELA classroom that are fun and educational!  This list of Thanksgiving activities move beyond Thanksgiving crafts and ELA skills to students' learning.

I love infusing holiday-themed lessons into ELA instruction. Since students are naturally excited about holidays like Thanksgiving, it's easy to capitalize on their enthusiasm while still teaching critical skills.  That's the key part, right?  I love lessons that keep students learning while adding a Thanksgiving-twist to the lessons.  

Here are a few of my favorite Thanksgiving lessons that are not only fun, but super educational, too!

This FREE lesson combines listening comprehension and art!  It's a collaboration between Art with Jenny K. and I.  During the Thanksgiving lesson, students will practice the critical skill of listening comprehension while they learn about the origin of Thanksgiving as a national holiday.  After a mini-lesson on listening and note-taking, students will listen to a passage about Sarah Josepha Hale two times.  They'll take notes during both readings.  Then, they'll answer comprehension questions based on the passage.

Help students develop their listening comprehension skills and learn about Thanksgiving with this art-infused lesson!

Finally, students will create a festive piece of turkey pop art with designs and shapes based on their answers.  This activity is the perfect way to celebrate Thanksgiving in the classroom while helping students develop critical ELA skills!  Check it out here.  (Oh, and there's two versions included.  One for grades 4-5 and one for grades 6-8.)

These Thanksgiving-themed reading comprehension centers are not only designed to give students meaningful opportunities to practice reading, they're also incredibly fun and engaging!  The resource includes EVERYTHING you'll need to easily bring the Thanksgiving reading comprehension centers into your classroom.  

There are five different centers.  Students will practice distinguishing between fact and opinion, identifying the main idea, making inferences, finding the sequence, and comparing and contrasting nonfiction passages.

Thanksgiving reading comprehension centers to help students practice their reading skills and learn about Thanksgiving.

The stations are super versatile.  They can be taught during a single class period or spread out over consecutive days.  You'll find table labels, teacher resources, student pages, all the center materials, a grade tracking sheet, and answer keys in the resource!  The learning stations are super hands-on, too!

Fun and engaging reading centers all about Thanksgiving!

And...there are even two different versions.  One for grades 4-5 and one for grades 6-8.

This activity is all about the primary sentiment of Thanksgiving:  gratitude.  Rather than just teaching about the Thanksgiving holiday, this activity is meant to help students show some gratitude and thankfulness.  The activity is from my Classroom Community resource, but I'm providing it as an exclusive freebie here.

It includes a stack-able poster.  The poster contains a quote about gratitude (one of my favorites).  After a discussion about the quote, students will participate in a gratitude activity.

Classroom kindness poster

During the activity they'll reflect on a person that they are grateful for.  Then, they'll turn their reflection into a personalized note to that person.  The note is on a postcard that students can cut out, design, and mail/give to their own "charming gardener."

I hope you've found a few fun and educational ways to teach Thanksgiving in your classroom!  Here are some of the links from this post:

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Mary Beth

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