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This post has been co-written with Ben Wolfson, a full-time educator and assistant principal in the USA.
Valentine’s Day is a special time in the kindergarten classroom. Your whole room gets filled with hearts, sweet treats and terrible puns on friendship and romance. The young students focus on the friendship aspect so you don’t have to worry about things getting out of hand, and you can tap into the spirit of the holiday with this Valentines Alphabet Match center. It doesn’t matter to your student what skill you choose to practice as long as there’s love hearts and Cupid arrows all around them.
Matching Lowercase And Capital Letters
Letter recognition is a key skill to master in kindergarten. The early part of the year is spent going systematically through each and every letter, so a Valentine’s alphabet match game comes along at the right time for review. Students need to know that each of the 26 letters in the English alphabet has an uppercase and lowercase forms, and some of these forms change depending on which font is being used (consider the different shapes of the letter ‘a’, or how some letters appear in cursive). This cute Valentine’s alphabet puzzle will have your students matching lowercase and capital letters surrounded by hearts and friends.
Preparing Your Alphabet Heart Puzzles
Extension Activities For Valentine’s Alphabet Match
The best thing about this Valentine’s Day center is that it’s so simple to use. You simply cut up the heart letters that you want your students to practice that day, and they have to match the uppercase and lowercase version of each letter. The fact that they form a jigsaw makes this a self-checking activity (though you can scaffold this by adding additional small cuts so each piece will only match with the correct other half. To get even more out of this Valentine’s alphabet puzzle, try some of these tasks:
Scavenger hunt – any time you can bring movement to a learning center, you’ll always see the engagement rise dramatically. Turn this matching lowercase and capital letters into a classwide scavenger hunt by hiding all the pieces around the room for your students to track down. Once they’ve found all the pieces, they can then create the jigsaw puzzle. This also acts as a good logic puzzle as they will need to work out which letters (and which case of those letters) they’re still missing.
Find a partner – you can also turn this Valentine’s alphabet match game into a social activity. Start by handing out heart halves to your students and challenge them to find their partner as quickly as possible. You can then up the challenge by doing the same task, but not allowing them to talk, or show their card. You’ll be amazed at how inventive they are about sharing their letter.
Fix the mistakes – finally, error analysis is a great tool for assessment as it truly shows which students have mastered the skill of matching lowercase and capital letters. Give them a complete set of alphabet love heart cookies, but “accidentally” mix a few of the answers up. Then challenge your students to find and fix all the mistakes, either by themselves or working collaboratively with a partner.