I am a holiday junkie. When I was little, I lived for the holidays, ALL of the holidays, and I still do. One of the holidays holds a special place in my heart: Valentine’s Day. And yes, that pun was intended. =)

Valentine’s Day had a magical quality for me. I mean, it basically came with a homework assignment to pick out fun Valentine cards to send to all of my classmates. It was a young notebook-lovers dream. I’d spend a lot of time in the store aisle picking out just the right box of Valentines and then, I’d spend even more time handwriting names and notes for my friends. And knowing I’d leave school the next day with a pile of my own special notes made it even more exciting. 

Fast forward to today and I still love the holiday, it just looks a bit different. Every year, on the first day of February, I get out our five small, colorful Valentines mailboxes. Years ago, my children labeled each one and decorated them with fun stickers. Each day, we would leave love notes and trinkets to surprise family members with. It is one of my most treasured traditions. Fast forward ten years and I have three teenagers in the house. The mailboxes might not have the same childlike appeal, but they bring a smile to our faces when we see them. Each day, I fill them with love notes, messages and even a treat or two. It is definitely a day-brightener, especially when one of them sneaks in a special note for me, too. 

There’s just something special about handwritten cards and notes, isn’t there?! I’ve written a whole post on why we should make a place for them in our coaching and today, I’m sharing a fun twist on personalized notes just in time for Valentine’s Day: Coaching Conversation Hearts. 

Coaching Conversation Hearts are exactly what they sound like: cute, candy-like love notes in the shape of a heart just for teachers. They’re the perfect way to bring a smile to our inner child and we have a few options to do just that.

If you are coaching in person, print out a few heart cut-outs (like the simple ones here stolen from a sorting template!) and handwrite messages perfect for the teachers you work with. Keep them generic and scatter them across the school or personalize them and leave them in teachers’ mailboxes or tape them to their classroom door. 

You can even bring teachers into the fun! At the start of a faculty meeting or grade level meeting, pass out the conversation hearts and encourage teachers to write personal messages to themselves and their colleagues. Have a good old-fashioned Valentine exchange! 

If you are coaching virtually, you can send Valentine’s digitally instead. I like using these Canva templates because they are beautiful and so easy to personalize. Download the template, personalize it and send it off in a fun email. Insert the picture directly into the email so it’s the only thing they see when they open the email. No extra clicking needed means faster enjoyment!

And now, for the best part…...I’ve got the perfect opening move for your next virtual faculty meeting, grade level meeting or professional learning session to bring teachers into the fun: collaboratively create shared conversation hearts that teachers can save and post to remember how amazing they are. 

Here’s how: Ask teachers to think about something they need to hear right now: an affirmation that will lift their spirits, a comment they wish they heard from a colleague, a note of thanks they’re hoping to hear from a parent or student. Anything they wish someone told them to fill their bucket. 

Then, give teachers access to a shared Google presentation like the one below (Click on it to make it your own!) so they have editing rights and let the fun begin. 

Ask teachers to choose a heart, write the message they wish they heard inside and personalize it with their favorite fonts and colors. Then, spend some time browsing the hearts and basking in the affirmations of colleagues. 

As a follow-up, save the slide as a JPEG and email it to teachers so they can save it as their screensaver or desktop background. This way, they’ll be surrounded by positive affirmations whenever they glance at their device. Here’s one I created with my monthly coaches group (Click here to find out more and join us!) to lift our coaching spirits. It’s my screensaver for the month of February!

I think you probably know where I’m heading with this next: Having fun with this activity with teachers is the perfect way for them to do the same with their students. So, give it a try this week and let me know how it goes!

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