I like to turn it around so that they start to think of something else. Specifically, other people.
So I read them this book.
It's about a man with no friends whose life is changed when he receives an anonymous Valentine. I have to warn you, you might need a tissue. I had a couple of fourth graders (and a Special Ed para) with damp eyes.
After we read the book, I lead the kids to think about the people at our school who don't have a class of students to give them Valentines. People like the custodians, the lunch ladies, the specials teachers, and the office staff. We discuss how Mr. Hatch was so happy to believe someone loved him, and how we might make the people at our campus feel the same way. And I tell them they are going to make Valentines for those special folks.
I explain that our Valentines are going to be anonymous, like the one Mr. Hatch received. We talk about how Mr. Hatch walked around town, wondering if he'd run into the person who sent him his Valentine. We wonder if our people will question which of the 850 students at our school made them a Valentine.
I always have to do a mini-lesson on picture and text placement on a greeting card (I bring a few examples to share.) We brainstorm sayings that might be included. One little brainiac suggested we sign them "Your Secret Admirer," since that is what Mr. Hatch thought about the person who sent his Valentine.
Then I hand out white construction paper and we get to work.
At the end of the day, I put all the Valentines in the mailboxes of the people we named.
Somebody loves you, Converse staff!