"Happy Valentines Day!" is what I hear all day long at school, on this special day. First grade students really enjoy celebrating. And they’ll help you celebrate ANYTHING.
Typically, they are a happy bunch, anyway. And being six-years-old is an exciting time for them ... Some of them even think they are old enough to write love notes.
Thanks goodness, most of their love notes are to their parents, or to me … their first grade teacher.
Is It a Happy Valentines Day?
At recess, Ema showed me the note that Ben had given her. And she was angry! He had written, “i love Ema.”
“LOOK AT HIM!” she said, stomping her little foot. “That makes me SICK!”
Taking the note from me, she ripped it in half, and groaned, “Ugggh!”
Then, with infuriated hands, she crushed the pieces into one small wad.
Ben stood frozen.
Like Ben, I watched too ... to see what she did next.
She threw the note into a trashcan on campus, plopped onto the ground, and sat with folded arms.
Poor Ben. He hunkered down where he was, biting his knuckles – first one hand, then the other.
Suddenly - without warning - the strangest thing happened ...
Ema looked at Ben and S.L.O.W.L.Y, a smile spread across her face. And soon …
Her mouth was wide open. And every tooth in her head was shining.
Ben’s face brightened. And I heard him breathe an audible sigh of relief. Finally, he stood up, proud and happy again.
He’s an achiever, and he looked as if he had just passed a big test …
And, in truth, he had. One of the biggest. She liked him!
This afternoon I took bus duty for one of my teacher buddies who had to leave earlier in the day.
All of the students had gone now except for two first graders from another teacher’s classroom. Quietly, they stood in the breezeway clutching crumpled, white paper bags … Bags overflowing with candy and valentines.
“Did you have a nice party?” I asked.
The two boys looked at each other and nodded.
Noticing the faint circle of red around their lips, I couldn’t help but tease them ... “I bet I can tell you what you had to drink at your party today.”
Again, the boys looked at each other.
“Something … ” I said, tapping my finger on my chin and pretending to think about it. “Let’s see … Something RED. Yes, that’s it!”
“How’d she know that?” the first one asked.
The other one shrugged. “I don’t know.” Then, forgetting to whisper, he continued. “She must be … whatchamacallit ... Starts with a sssss sound.”
“I know,” the first one replied, “psycho!”
Clarissa was upset. “Teacher, this is NOT Happy Valentines Day.”
“No?” I said.
“I got good news and worst news,” she said. And burst into a flood of tears.
“Awww, what is it, baby?”
“The good news is I finally found my … my Happy Valentines Day stick-pin.” Her lips quivered as she sobbed. “The worst news is - it’s BROKE!”
Yesterday, I taught the students how to write the initials for their names.
Then, today, Stevie handed me a note and said, “What does THAT mean?”
“Let me see,” I said, and read the note ...
i love u
to A. S.
frm S. M.
do you love me
“Hmmm," I said, stalling for time. I wanted to handle this carefully. "Did you write this to Amy?”
He nodded and pointed. “I did that part. And she did THIS.” He turned the paper over. On back, it simply said, “T.U.L.”
“T.U.L,” I said. “What does that mean?”
Stevie huffed. “THAT’S what I asked YOU!”
“That’s right,” I said. “I’m not sure what those letters mean ... Those aren’t her initials,” I mumbled to myself.
“I know they ain’t!” he fussed. “But I been guessin’ and guessin’ - and I don’t know WHAT they mean.”
I would have “a talk” about passing notes in class later … Right now, I was curious, too.
I motioned for her to come see Stevie and me. "What does T.U.L mean?” I asked.
She saw the note in my hand. “I didn’t have enough time,” she explained. “It was time for Spelling, so I put T.U.L."
She smiled her shy, sweet smile at Stevie. "That means, I’ll tell you later.”
Note: I'm so glad my kiddos not only listen to the lessons, but they also apply what I teach them ... even when it's found in a "i love you note" on Happy Valentines Day!
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