5 Fun Ways to Incorporate Valentine's Day in School Counseling

Valentine's Day is just around the corner, and while it's not my favorite holiday I like to use it to inspire my class lessons and counseling sessions. What I do love about this Hallmark holiday is that it's the perfect time to remind my kiddos that they are loved and to also reinforce the importance of showing love to others and to themselves!

If you're scouting around for Valentine's Day-themed resources and are wondering how to use them in school counseling, this blog post is just what you need!

1. Healthy vs Unhealthy Friendships Discussion Cards

Six months into the school year and you're bound to hear of friendship issues, especially in your upper elementary classes. While among some kiddos, tattling might be an area of concern, or maybe you have a lot of kiddos dealing with friendship drama. Then of course, there are new students who join at the start of the second semester and need help with making friends. To address these issues in a positive and often preventative way, I love using this set of discussion cards.

Whether it's in a whole class lesson, a friendship/ conflict resolution/ new students small group, or in an individual session, these discussion cards are a great way to get students to think and talk about their friendships.

This Valentine's Day-themed discussion card set was created to help students determine the difference between healthy and unhealthy friendships. Each of the 16 discussion cards comes with interesting prompts such as 'Healthy or Unhealthy?', 'What Would You Do?', 'True or False', and 'Talk About a Time When', which give you multiple ways to take the discussion/lesson forward.

2. Healthy vs Unhealthy Relationships Discussion Cards

We're always talking to our kiddos about building friendships, but relationships are not discussed as openly. But it doesn't have to be that way. As a school counselor who's worked with students of all ages, I feel that we need to be able to talk about relationships with just as much ease as we talk to our students about friendships. I've used these discussion cards with middle and high school girls and it was extremely powerful in helping them learn what's appropriate behavior in romantic relationships. We can't always assume our students are having these conversations with parents at home.

If you're wondering how to get started with these seemingly awkward but necessary conversations, this set of 16 discussion cards will come to your rescue. Created to help students determine the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships, these Valentine's Day-themed discussion cards focus on romantic relationships and come with prompts such as 'Healthy or Unhealthy?', 'What Would You Do?', and 'Real Talk'.

Wondering how effective they are in starting an open and honest conversation? A review of this product by a counselor who used it says, 'Students can be shy when talking about relationships and these discussion cards really helped!'

I typically use this resource with students in grades 7 and up. These discussion cards are versatile and can be used as an ice breaker in group sessions or with individual students who might be in unhealthy relationships.

3. Healthy vs Unhealthy Friendships Boom Cards

Has your school gone back to online learning? Is it safer and more convenient for you to have your students use their digital devices during your sessions at school? If your answer is yes, this digital resource is a lifesaver.

If you know me, you know how much I love using Boom Cards with my kiddos in all three tiers of counseling. Boom Cards are more fun than traditional slides and provide a new way to engage students, especially during distance learning. Plus you don't have to print and prep a thing!

These digital task cards can be used with students of Grade 2 and above and in different settings. A counselor who purchased this resource used it with a bunch of upper elementary girls, each of whom had a different opinion on some of the digital task cards, and that in turn gave way to some excellent discussions on healthy and unhealthy friendships.

'This is one of my FAVORITE boom card decks...used with a virtual girls group. I liked that everyone didn't automatically get them all correct...they actually had some challenging situations which led to great online discussion. Highly recommend this deck if you use boom cards!' - Debbie, School Counselor

This is also a great resource to use with a small group working on friendship or social skills.

4. Valentine's Day Coping Strategies Digital Activity?

Coping strategies are something I find myself teaching all year long but it can be fun to put a seasonal twist on them to engage students. I love these Valentine's-themed ones because they include everyday real life scenarios plus Valentine's Day specific ones that students may be experiencing.

I love using these to supplement my typical class lessons this time of year.

5. Self-Concept and Self-Esteem Scrapbook

Come Valentine's Day and the focus is almost always on showing love to the ones who are special to us. I, however, think it is a great time to also talk about self-love and self-esteem. Many of the kiddos I work with know how to be good friends but struggle with self-acceptance.

While explicit lessons on self-love and self-esteem are great, to add a dash of creativity to the mix, I enjoy getting students I see, especially in groups and individually, to work on this fun emoji-themed interactive scrapbook.

You could use a file folder or manila folder to create this cut and paste craftivity. Through this activity, students will identify what they love, what they are proud of, what their strengths are, how they are smart, and why they are a good friend, among other things. My kiddos always leave having learned something wonderful about themselves!

What are your go-to Valentine's Day-themed activities? Let me know in the comments!

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