Vernon Hills first graders work on basic writing skills for Valentine's Day project

Valentine's Day was much more than flowers and chocolates for a group of students at Aspen Elementary school.

Aspen Elementary first grader Roen Katz shows off his Valentine's Day writing project. Students were asked to create a booklet about things they love. Courtesy of Hawthorn District 73

Around 55 first grade students at the Hawthorn District 73 school in Vernon Hills participated in a Valentine's Day project that included writing sentences, proper capitalization and sounding out words.

Both the remote and hybrid students in three different classes participated in the activity.

Students were assigned to make a booklet to share with their families about things they love. If they wrote about playing with dad or reading with mom, for example, they wrote that and drew pictures to go with it.

Aspen Elementary first grader Blake Weingardt does some artwork for his Valentine's Day writing project. Courtesy of Hawthorn District 73

Aspen first grade teacher Rebecca Green said students almost always have a weekly project. Sometimes they will write a paragraph about important figures like Martin Luther King Jr., write facts and opinions about photos they find in magazines, or write about favorite winter activities.

"It is so important for primary-age students to continue to practice writing, cutting and drawing, especially considering the increased screen time they are experiencing this school year," Green said.

Aspen Elementary first grade teacher Rebecca Green works with student Rachel Villasenor on her project. Courtesy of Hawthorn District 73

"This Valentine's Day project not only allowed students to make a sweet gift for someone special, but they also practiced sentence writing and were able to be creative with their ideas and artwork."

Most students made projects to share with family, Green said, but some wrote about babysitters and friends. This year, because of the pandemic, PTO-sponsored virtual Valentine's Day parties took place on a different day than the writing project.

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