Conversation Heart Sort

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Valentine’s day is upon us. Since there is an increasing amount of hype swirling around Valentine’s Day, you might as well jump on the bandwagon and make a lesson plan around it. Let’s face it, breaking up the winter blues with a cute holiday theme is kind of nice. At the OT Toolbox, we want to make your planning just a little bit easier with a FREE conversation heart printable! The Conversation Heart Sort is a great activity to address multiple skills at once while motivating your students with something that is not so “boring.”  Simply enter your email address below, and somehow through the magic of the internet, your free PDF will be in your inbox before you know it.

conversation heart sorting activity

What to do with this Conversation Heart Sort Freebie

There are many ways you can present this Conversation Heart Sort worksheet.  On the printable, you’ll see directions for using the conversation heart worksheet.

  1. Have students write the color words underneath the printed word in the hearts.
  2. Then count real conversation heart candies and graph them according to the number of each color.

For this worksheet, you’ll need conversation hearts, crayons or other coloring utensils (colored pencils or markers), scissors, and glue.

You could also use this activity sheet without using actual candies. Use manipulatives, stickers, foam hearts, or cut out hearts in different colors.

You can extend the activity by using real heart candies for a fine motor activity, or you could use heart stickers, mini heart erasers, or other heart shaped manipulatives.

You will need to make several copies of the heart worksheet, otherwise your graph will only have one of each color on it. 

Here are some great ideas to use the Conversation Heart Sort worksheet:

  • Have students fill out the hearts on one sheet, then photo copy the page several times before cutting the hearts out. You will have to remove some of the hearts, or your graph will have all the same numbers for each color
  • Use this activity with a group of students, having them all put their Valentine’s hearts into the same container. They can take turns grabbing some of the hearts, count them together, or make predictions about their graph
  • Once you finish this coloring and cutting the Conversation Heart Sort activity, use REAL candy hearts for graphing or sorting onto the color pages
  • STEM learning STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematicsSTEM fine motor activities are going to be much more important to build these important skills. 
  • Laminate the cards to make them reusable. You can either laminate the finished product, or laminate blank cards for different groups of students to use the same set of cards. Note: while some learners love to use wipe off sheets, others become upset they cannot take their work with them.  For those who want to save their work, consider taking a screenshot of it.
  • Make a memory game out of the conversation hearts. Turn the hearts over while students try and find matches to the color cards. You can make this simple with fewer cards, or more difficult
  • Decorate the cards to make them fun and flashy. Glitter, sequins, gel markers, and paint can create a masterpiece
  • Enlarge or shrink the hearts depending on the skill level and handwriting ability of your learners.
  • Pre-cut the pieces ahead of time if your emphasis is on coloring and decorating
  • Work in pairs or in a small group to address problem solving, turn taking, and negotiation skills
  • Gross motor – run across the room collecting pieces to add to the bookmarks.  Gather pompoms/sequins/pieces of paper/etc, by squatting and bending to retrieve them

All of these fine motor activities with conversation hearts will be a hit with your kids this time of year!

How to document after using this free Conversation Heart Sort worksheet

I recently read a post on social media from an OT asking about documenting activities. She said she knew they were fine motor or perception, but did not understand the best way to effectively document what her learners had done during the session. These can be measured in percentages, or actual numbers. Recent Medicaid guidelines suggest avoiding vague words such as mild/moderate or good/fair.

  • Use data to back up your documentation. Avoid or limit phrases such as min assist, fair, good, some, many, etc.  They are vague and do not contain the numbers and data critical to proficient documentation.  Instead use percentages, number of trials, number of errors, exact sizing, how many letters were written incorrectly, number of reversals, number of prompts, minutes of attention.  You get the idea.
  • Document the percentage of correct letters. This can get tricky. Are the letters correct if they are legible, or only if formed top to bottom like they should be? If you want to be even more exact, document how many letters are correctly formed out of the total written.
  • Indicate how many letter reversals, omissions, duplications
  • Indicate the size of letters in relation to the lines OR sizing compared to the size they are supposed to be (tall versus short letters).
  • Line placement in handwriting – how many letters sit on the line (or within a certain distance), as well as how many hanging letters are below the lines
  • Spacing in handwriting – is there correct spacing between the letters, or are they spread out/clumped together
  • Note their grasping pattern and hand dominance
  • Document attention to detail, following directions, number of prompts and reminders needed, type of prompts
  • Can your learner scan the page and do near point copying?  Are they recognizing what they are writing, or merely copying lines and circles?
  • Can your learner correctly hold and manipulate the scissors/pencil? How much assistance do they need to grip the scissors and cut (remember to use number and types of prompts in favor of “min assist”.)
  • Can your student continue to hold the scissors while trying to manipulate the paper?  How far are their snips from the lines? Can they don scissors independently?
  • How many times do you need to repeat the directions so your learner can follow them?
  • How many reminders does your learner need while doing this activity?
  • Before documenting, determine what goals and skills you are addressing. Are you looking strictly at letter formation, and scissor skills?  Or something else entirely such as executive function and behavior?
  • Focus your observations on the skills you are addressing.  It is alright to address one, or ten skills at once, just be sure to watch for those skills during the activity.  This can take practice to watch everything all at once. Newer clinicians often videotape sessions to go back and review clinical observations they may have missed.

This type of documentation may feel foreign at first if this is not what you are used to, however insurance and governing agencies are becoming stricter about accurate documentation.

conversation heart activities

Conversation Heart Activities

The world wide web is a huge source of information.  Sometimes too big.  You could spend hours gathering ideas for your treatment plans.

Here are some other tools to use along with your conversation heart sort activity:

  • Printable Valentine’s Day CardsThese printable cards have differentiated lines to support many handwriting needs. Cut a heart out of construction paper and create your own conversation heart message on the front. Then glue it to the front of the Valentine’s day card.
  • Lucky for you, the OT Toolbox has a Valentine’s Day Fine Motor Kit.  Pick one or several to incorporate into your lesson plans. So many of the pages in this resource could be used with conversation hearts in mind…
  • Valentine’s Day Activity Sheet– Line conversation hearts up on this page to match the images. This activity supports visual scanning, visual memory, visual peripheral skills, form constancy, fine motor skills, eye-hand coordination, dexterity, pencil control, motor planning, coloring and more.
  • Valentines Fine Motor Worksheet– Perfect for using with conversation hearts, you can have fine motor races with candy hearts. Use tweezers to move conversation hearts along the path. There are so many ways to play and develop skills with a conversation heart theme!
  • If fine motor and visual motor skills are needed, try some Valentine’s Day crafts and ideas. I tend to keep looking for bigger and better, even after I have found a handful of great ideas.
  •  Valentines Day I Spy activity is a free printable that is perfect for visual motor and fine motor skill-building. Cover matches with conversation heart candies or mini erasers.
  • Valentine’s Day Hat Craft– Print off this hat template and work on coloring skills, scissor skills, and executive functioning to build and create the Valentine craft.
  • Valentine Hole Punch Cards– These free pintables are perfect for occupational therapy Valentine parties. Use the printable activity to build skills in eye-hand coordination, hand strength, bilateral coordination, arch development, visual scanning, and more.
  • Heart Deep Breathing Exercise– This printable goes really well with a conversation heart theme. Print off this heart poster and use it to develop skills in mindfulness, self-regulation, and even proprioception through the chest and upper body. It’s a very calming activity that can be a great addition to the sometimes chaos and unexpected situations in a classroom Valentine’s Day party. Use it to support sensory needs at a Valentine’s Day party!

I love adding fun or obscure facts about whatever we are learning. Valentine’s Day is no exception.  Here is one about conversation hearts:  “Weirdly enough, the story of conversation hearts first began when a Boston pharmacist named Oliver Chase invented a machine that simplified the way medical lozenges — used for sore throats and other illnesses — could be made. The result was America’s first candy-making machine, because the pharmacist soon started shifting his focus from making lozenges to candy instead! Chase founded the New England Confectionery Company, or Necco, and the candy lozenges soon became what we know today as Necco wafers.”

If Valentine’s Day is an excuse to get free candy and chocolates, count me in!

Free Conversation Heart Sorting Page

You can get our Conversation heart worksheet as a free download by entering your email address in the form below. We’ll send you a copy to your email inbox!

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FREE Conversation Heart Sorting Activity

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    Victoria Wood, OTR/L is a contributor to The OT Toolbox and has been providing Occupational Therapy treatment in pediatrics for more than 25 years. She has practiced in hospital settings (inpatient, outpatient, NICU, PICU), school systems, and outpatient clinics in several states. She has treated hundreds of children with various sensory processing dysfunction in the areas of behavior, gross/fine motor skills, social skills and self-care. Ms. Wood has also been a featured speaker at seminars, webinars, and school staff development training. She is the author of Seeing your Home and Community with Sensory Eyes.

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