1-2-3 Come Do Some Candy Heart Activities With Me
One of the things I do during February, is use NECCO's candy conversation hearts in all sorts of fun activities. NECCO stands for the New England Confectionary Company. I really enjoy doing research to find out the background of things I use in the classroom, and while working on this blog article, I found some truly interesting information on a candy that's been around since Lincoln's time, when it was popular during the Civil War!
Back then, they were a crisp candy with a paper note tucked inside a cockle shell, much like a fortune cookie. In 1866 the candy evolved into a heart shape when Daniel Chase, the brother of NECCO’s founder, Oliver Chase, invented the process of printing words on the candies. They were written in red dye and were an instant success, (particularly as a wedding party favor) becoming known as "Motto Hearts".
Until I started doing research, I was not aware that each year the company makes up new messages. However, some sentiments like "Kiss Me" and "Be Mine" added in 1902, continue to be favorites. To keep things current, they've invited the public to join an online survey to decide what they want these sweet little messages to say. Recent favorites: "Tweet Me", Text Me", "Love Bug" and "You + Me".
I also learned that they have themes such as food, resulting in "Recipe 4 Love", "Table 4 Two" and “Yum-Yum” messages. In 2003 they had a “school” theme with the messages: “Teach me” “Let’s read.” “Write me.” and “Whiz Kid” . To see an archive of the sayings from past years click on the link.
According to the National Confectioners Association, “About 8 billion hearts will be produced this year!” The company has to produce 100,000 pounds of hearts a day to meet that demand, as they sell that amount in 6 weeks during their peak Valentine’s Day season. So how do I use them in the classroom?
So we can do a variety of math activities, I give each student 10 hearts. We count them forwards and backwards; sort them by color, do some patterning with them, and measure how many hearts tall and long different things are. We also practice addition and subtraction skills. I call out various equations, writing them on the board and have my kiddos make the "equations" on their desk, using the hearts as manipulatives.
We also graph their favorite color and flavor as a whole group. These graphs are in my first candy heart packet, which I made before I had all of the graphic programs I now use. I wish I had the time to revamp a few of these older packets.
It's 32-pages long and includes reading, writing and math activities, plus some candy heart puzzles.
More Fun With Candy Hearts is another older packet, which includes a variety of skip counting by 2s, 3s, 5s and 10s activities. There's patterning practice as well as "guess-timation" activities.
This 33-page packet also includes 44 candy heart CVC word squares that you can use to play games or create sentences with.
I designed these using the Acme Heart Maker site where you can type in 4-letter words on a candy heart template. Even tho' they look exactly like real candy hearts, being a teacher, I'd rather have had them printed in lowercase letters.
A year later, I found a new site: cryptogram.com where you can type in up to 11 upper or lowercase letters! Woo hoo! I had so much fun thinking of things to make.
Oh the possibilities! Type in your students' names to make them a bookmark or magnet; or set this up as an independent computer-center activity and allow them time to make a few of their own. I even made one for my husband and tucked it in his lunch.
Some school's 100 Day lands on or close to Valentine's Day, so I made up a Happy 100 Day candy heart note for your kiddos. To make this an extra special gift, attach a box of the conversation hearts.
The Dollar sells them 4 in a pack. There's also smaller candy heart cards in the packet. Use them for Memory Match or "I Have; Who Has?" color games. Click on the link to view/download the 100 Day With Candy Hearts activities.
Of course my brain was working over time trying to think of the zillion ways I could use this. I got out my Dolch word list and made a complete set of conversational hearts from all of the lists Pre-Primer through 3rd grade.
You can do several things with these. Simply use them as anchor charts, or print them off, laminate, and then cut them apart to make Memory Match games.
You can also put the posters up on your word wall for February; have students put the hearts in alphabetical order, or cut them up to make mini puzzles. Students can also choose several hearts and make sentences using those words.
Play a whole-group game and put the laminated hearts in a box, have students take one out identify the word(s). If they cannot they are out of the game. Click on the link to view/print the Dolch Word Candy Hearts.
Since we were also working on colors, I designed a set of candy heart color cards. Print; laminate and trim the cards to make Memory Match or "I Have; Who Has" games. I've also included a cover, if you want your students to make an Itty Bitty Candy Heart Color booklet.
Finally, Contraction activities are often requested, so I thought I'd make a set of those, using 61 contractions.
Students match the word cards to their contraction cards. You could also have children choose several cards and write sentences. Click on the link to view/download the Conversation Heart Contraction Cards.
Whew! That's a lot of candy heart themed activities. I hope you found a few to help round out your Valentine's Day activities, or use for the rest of February.
Thanks for visiting. It's a cold and overcast day here in Michigan' perfect for snuggling up with a cup of hot cocoa and make some valentines for those near and dear to my heart. Wishing you a warm and cozy day.
"I believe we must give more than we get; and leave more than we take." - Foster G. McGaw