“Life’s greatest happiness is to be convinced we are loved.” ~ Victor Hugo
Valentine’s Day is celebrated worldwide. The holiday is named after the martyr, St. Valentinus, who often performed secret weddings for soldiers for which he was imprisoned. Lovers worldwide celebrate the holiday by giving each other gifts to show how much they care about each other. It is a time when children eat candy hearts and send heartfelt messages to each other. It is the holiday of romance, but in the classroom we can teach various themes including relationships, kindness and various kinds of love, such as love of a pet, family, one’s self, or hobby.
ESL-Library has collected all of their resources on the theme of love and relationships in this NEW collection.
Below are a few more activities with these themes in mind.
Explore Heart, Love, or Romance Idioms
Valentine’s Day is a perfect excuse to teach idioms. Your students will enjoy learning about various idioms related to love, such as, “falling in love,” or “head over heals.” ESL-Library has three lesson plan sections that combine the theme of love with idioms, including First Love, First Year, and The Case of the Missing Ring (a Detective Series). Here are some more ideas.
- Use this infographic with visuals to teach various idioms like, “Pop the question,” or “Get back together.”
- After learning some idioms, have students choose a few to explain in a comic, with tools like ToonDoo, Make Beliefs Comix, and Creaza. Be sure to check out this post, Create Your Own Cartoons for Teaching Languages.
Heart Candy Activities
Ever receive a box of candy hearts with their short but lovely messages? Try any of these activities.
- Try playing charades where each student picks a candy heart and has to act out the message for their classmates. When someone guesses the message the actor gets to eat the candy heart. This could help motivate shy students to play.
- Play guess the drawing where each student picks a candy heart and has to draw out the message for their classmates to guess.
- Have students pick out 3 to 5 of the messages and create written or digital stories using these messages. They can use tools like Storybird, Zooburst, or Animoto.
- Students pick out 4 to 6 of the messages and create a video dialogue between 2 or more fictitious characters using digital storytelling tools like GoAnimate, Xtranormal, Dvolver, and ZimmerTwins. If you want them to use their mobile devices, then try these free dialogue apps- Sockpuppets, PuppetPals, or Talking Ben and Tom News Reporter.
- Students pick out 4 to 6 of the messages and create a digital comic of the conversation.
Explore Love in Art
Take a famous piece of art like Marc Chagall’s Dream Village. This painting represents Chagall courting his wife. Break students into pairs and have them write down at least 3 scenes/visual symbols they observe in the painting. Have them guess what each of these scenes/visual symbols represent. Regroup as a class and have them share their ideas with the class.
Check out ESL-Library’s NEW Valentine’s Flashcards. Katelin did a fantastic job drawing this new set! Here are a bunch of ideas for how you can use these Valentine’s images in the classroom.
Explore Love in Poetry
Valentine’s Day is a perfect time for students to explore the language of love in sonnets, haikus, limericks, etc. Try these ideas:
- Break students into pairs and give them a few poems to explore then have them create a comic or multimedia presentation where they recite the poem and add visuals that highlight the meaning. Use tools like Animoto, Photopeach, or UTellStory.
- With Photopeach they can create a multimedia, interactive quiz about the poem that their classmates have to answer.
- Have students create their own love poetry with this cool online magnetic poetry tool. The words are there. They just put them together to create a poem, then can take a screenshot and post in a blog or wiki.
- Students can learn to write haikus, sonnets, limericks, or any other type of poetry with the Poetry Idea Machine. This incredible site walks students through each step in creating various forms of poetry. They can send these poems to their family, relatives, or friends.
Analyze Love Quotes
Collect a list of love quotes like Einstein’s, “Gravitation is not responsible for people falling in love,” and cut them into strips. Have the quote in one strip and on another strip list the author and a few clues. Give each student a strip. Instruct students to walk around the room to find their partners. Then give them 5 minutes to discuss the meaning of the quotes, whether they agree with the author, and name an example to support their stance. They will present their quotes and ideas to the rest of their peers when you regroup as a class.
Analyze Pick Up Lines
Take famous pick up lines and have students create dialogues in which they have to create clever comebacks like in this funny post. They can use the previously named dialogue tools and comic strip tools.
Create Valentine’s Day Messages & Send to Friends & Family
Have your students create handmade crafts, cards, or origami where they insert kind messages for their family members or classmates. When sending these creations to their classmates, make sure they send nice messages to everyone so no one is singled out. You may want to check the messages for any grammar errors before they send these out.
- Find out how to make origami hearts, boxes, and more
- Create a Valentine- A Starfall game that teaches kids phonics and vocabulary
- Use mobile apps such as Red Stamp, Fotobabble, or Animoto to send Valentine’s Day messages. These are free and have templates related to the holiday.
More Great Websites and Resources
Find more ideas for teaching about Valentine’s Day by visiting the resources below:
- Valentine’s Day Sites and Activities by Cybraryman
- Best Sites to Learn About Valentine’s Day by Larry Ferlazzo
- Reasons for Buying Flowers- Great Lesson Plan by Jamie Keddie
- Valentine’s Day videos, quizzes, and more by ESOLCourses
What other ideas do you have?
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Shelly Sanchez Terrell is a teacher trainer, instructional designer, and author. She has been recognized by various entities, such as the ELTon Awards, The New York Times, and Microsoft’s Heroes for Education as a leader, innovator, and visionary in the movement of teacher driven professional development, education technology, elearning, and mobile learning. She is the co-founder of #Edchat, the Reform Symposium Web Conference, and The 30 Goals Challenge for Educators. She has trained teachers and taught learners in 100+ countries and has consulted with organizations such as UNESCO Bangkok, The European Union aPLaNet Project, Cultura Iglesa of Brazil, the British Council in Tel Aviv, IATEFL Slovenia, HUPE Croatia, and the British Council in South East Asia. She is the host of American TESOL’s Free Friday Webinars and shares regularly via TeacherRebootCamp.com, Twitter (@ShellTerrell), Facebook.com/shellyterrell, and Google.com/+ShellySanchezTerrell. She’s the author of Learning To Go, Byte-sized Potential, and The 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers published by Routledge. Recently, she was named Woman of the Year 2014 by the National Association of Professional Women and awarded a Bammy Award for #Edchat. Website: http://teacherbootcamp.edublogs.org/ Twitter: @ShellTerrell