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Feb 11, 2010

Yesterday, I looked over my shopping list, and saw something that my chidren had written down. "Valentines for school", were the instructions that I read. What they meant by that were little cards that are designed especially for school children. Here, in the U.S., it is tradition for the children to give a miniature card to each of their classroom buddies. Sometimes the teacher will allow a treat or tiny toy to be attached or taped to the card, something like an eraser, a pencil, or a small chocolate. It is a tradition which is unfortunately driven by materialism. Valentine's day itself, is not celebrated in a huge way at all by the general public. It is true that there are cards, flowers, and chocolates all over the place to give as gifts for a loved one, but it is not a holiday. The children take their card distribution very seriously, though. The teachers even print out a list of the names of the children in the class, so each child can write the correct names on the little gifts. The older children will read about St. Valentine; the younger ones will usually cut and paint big, red or pink hearts for their parents or guardians. Last night, as my children prepared their Valentines, it was all business. They each counted out the cards, wrote the names, added treats, and put them into a paper bag, ready for school today. And beware anyone who wished to interrupt! "Hey, that's my card!" "Don't use my pencil!" "You'd better leave enough chocolates for my class!" I think some of the Valentine's spirit should have been directed at eachother, let alone their friends.

Grammar notes.

 Practice of the preterite with new vocabulary: miniature, driven, guardian, beware.

1. My father bought me a miniature, glass house for my birthday.

2. He was driven to madness by her constant nagging.

3. Her aunt became her guardian when her parents died.

4. "Beware the stranger from the forest!" warned the old man.