Classroom parties… I both love them and dread them. Probably more on the love side than dread, but still they can be challenging. They are a chance to actually relax and have fun with your kids, something that is very rare these days in education, but they can also be chaotic and if you are a super routine-driven teacher like me, the unstructured time can be really stressful. I find the Valentine’s party to be the most chaotic because kids are all all over the room passing out their Valentine cards. Over the years I have found a few ways that can make them less stressful, while still leaving in all of the fun of the party.
Address cards before: Have students come to school with their valentines already addressed to the other students. I have even heard of teachers just having kids sign their names, and not address the cards to specific kids so there is even less hassle. However, I remember really enjoying picking out which valentine I would give to which of my classmates, so I don’t mind letting the kids do this as long as they are done before they bring them to school.
Skip the extra party treats: So many kids bring candy along with their valentine’s that having extra cupcakes and cookies is just way too much. For one it is so much sugar for them, and also there just isn’t enough time for them to eat it all of it.
Have collection bags: Some teachers have their kids make super cute envelopes or boxes to put their valentines in, but we have typically just decorated a lunch sack. It is nice to have the kids put all of their cards in there rather than seeing them strewn all over the table (and inevitably the floor).
Keep the games low key: With all of the hustle and bustle of kids passing out their cards, there often isn’t much time for a game, but I still like to have some sort of activity. I usually do an estimation game with a cute Valentine’s plastic cup filled with candy.
Relax: As much as it stresses me out to see all the kids walking (running) around the classroom to deliver their cards, they are having a great time. These kids spend a lot of their days doing things that are pretty challenging, so I love to watch them just be kids. While it may get a little crazy, I just relax snd soak it in, and know that this is one of the few times of the year where they really get to let loose.