Teaching with a Valentine’s Day Theme- Differentiated and Leveled Instruction with a Freebie!

Happy Sunday Friends! Valentine’s Day is just around the corner! This is a prime opportunity to recognize kindness and being a good friend. We’ve got some ideas to bring that content into your classroom while also differentiating it and layering it for your students. Make sure to read to the end so you can get the FREEBIE!

There are definitely some tried and true texts out there that support the ideas of kindness. Today, we’ve picked Somebody Loves you, Mr. Hatch by Eileen Spinelli and My Friends by Taro Gomi. These texts, in themselves, are geared towards different levels of learners. With them both, you can teach quite a few of the common cores.

Here are some cores that we will be focusing on:
My Friends
RL 2 – Retelling
RL 4 – Determining meaning of unknown words
RL 6- Point of view, or voice.

This texts also lends itself well to teaching about verbs.

Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch
RL 1- Asking and Answering Questions
RL 2 – Retell
RL 3- Story Elements, character response
RL 6- Character Voice

My Friends is a great story about a character who acknowledges all the things she has learned to do from her friends. She is thankful for what she has learned. It has a lot of great verbs in the story as well! This text would be geared more towards kindergarten and first grade. It has great picture support but also has an easier text that allows students to follow it easily.

Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch is a very detailed story that would be more appropriate for second grade and higher. If you have a class in first or kinder that has a high attention span, it would be great for them too! This is a great text for students to see what happens when they are kind to people. They can see how it can totally change the way someone is. This text is very detailed and paints a clear picture of how Mr. Hatch’s behavior changed. This text is great for modeling questioning, how a character responds to events in a story and how the voice of the character will change.

While these texts don’t scream Valentine’s Day, they are both a great way to introduce the purpose of Valentine’s day and how it is about loving and being kind to each other.

Next, let’s move on to how you can differentiate and support this concept in small groups.

These two leveled passages are from our Valentine’s Day Passages Set. They come leveled A – I. This is where you can differentiate the concept of Valentine’s Day for your students. No matter their level, they are able to read and learn about the holiday. They can also take what they learn in their group and connect that to what they learned from the anchor texts. These passages also come with vocabulary and sight word practice that allows students to learn the words associated with the day. This supports the concepts that you are learning whole group, when it comes to kindness and love.

Finally, we have ways that your students can apply what they are learning in class about kindness in a way that will help improve the culture of your classroom. They can do this with compliment cards. Compliment cards are a way for students to thank someone or tell them that they are appreciated. They are anonymous and focus on the act of kindness. This goes will with Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch. The second way for students to apply what they are learning is to make the heart is full hats. With this activity, students are focusing on all the people in their lives that fill their hearts with love. They can write the names and add pictures. This activity goes well with My Friends. Click HERE to get these FREEBIES!!

By taking your content from whole group, to small group, to application, it allows students to hear the concept multiple times. It also allows for students to learn about the concept in different ways. Taking it to small group, really allows you to differentiate for all the levels in the classroom. Then when applying, higher students can write compliments, while the younger or lower level students can focus on writing single words and illustrating.

We hope that you all have a wonderful Valentine’s Day! 🙂


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