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5 Valentine’s Day Activities for Middle School ELA

Valentine’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate love, kindness, and friendship. With love being the focus of so much great literature, this holiday naturally lends itself well to the English Language Arts classroom. There are lots of high-interest ways to combine curriculum with creative Valentine’s Day activities to engage your middle school ELA students without sacrificing content. Here are five of my favorite Valentine’s Day activities that you can easily implement in your classroom right away.

1. Write a Break-Up Letter

The first Valentine’s Day activity I want to suggest involves getting your students to write a break-up letter or text message. For this activity, your students will develop two fictional characters whose relationship is coming to an end. They will write out detailed information on their personalities, how they met, and what their relationship is like, for example. Crucially, they will also develop a reason for the breakup and decide who, of the two characters, wants out. Then, students will create an outline of the break-up letter (or text message) before composing a final good copy!

To really make the most of this activity, I like to begin with a class discussion on what makes for a strong break-up letter. You can get students to discuss their thoughts in groups for this, and you can share your own thoughts with them as well. I like to tell students to be upfront about the intention to break up in their messages. I also encourage them to be specific about why they feel it is best that the relationship come to an end. This heartbroken fictional character deserves honesty at the very least!

I discuss this activity in more detail in another post. Click here to read that now!

Writing a Break Up Letter Valentines Activities

2. Editing Cupid’s Social Media

Let’s be honest, it can be difficult to get middle school ELA students excited about grammar. This year, try using the spirit of Valentine’s Day to spark your students’ love for fixing writing errors—even if this love only lasts one day!

For the Editing Cupid’s Social Media activity, your students will read Cupid’s social media posts, find the errors, correct them, and then provide reasons for their corrections. Below are four different ways that you can use this activity with your students.

  1. Valentine’s Day Social Media Edit Of The Day: Introduce one post to your class each day for the 14 days leading up to Valentine’s Day. Everyone gets a copy of the post and makes the edits and reasoning on their own (or you can do it in groups or pairs). Then you go over the update together as a class and come to a consensus.
  2. Valentine’s Day Writing Centers: Include a packet of the posts (as task cards) at a writing center where students can choose which ones to work on. Edits can be made in their writing notebook rather than on the sheet (so you don’t have to make tons of copies). You can also make an answer key booklet for them to use after they are done!
  3. Pair Work: Give each pair of students a Valentine’s Day status update task card and have them complete it together. Then each pair can present it to the class and share what edits they made. The class can give further suggestions.
  4. Group Work: Give a group of three or four students a Valentine’s Day status task card and have them come to an agreement about the edits to make and the rewritten sentence. The group can present it to the class when they are finished.

Valentines Day Grammar Activities

3. Valentine’s Day Around the World

Did you know that in South Korea, the fourteenth day of every month marks an unofficial love-related holiday? Or that on February 14, it is often the men who traditionally receive Valentine’s Day chocolate from women?

South Korea’s Valentine’s Day traditions are fascinating and so are other celebrations of love around the world. The Qixi Festival in China, Dragobete in Romania, and Dia dos Namorado in Brazil are all examples of other love-themed holidays that are absolutely worth learning about!

One of my favorite Valentine’s Day activities to do with middle school ELA students is to learn different Valentine’s Day traditions around the world. I like to focus on these four countries in particular: South Korea, China, Romania, and Brazil. What I do is give students nonfiction articles that explain Valentine’s traditions, practices, and customs of different countries around the world. Then, I have them answer comprehension-based questions.

This activity can be done in groups or independently, but it also lends itself well to the jigsaw method. To do this, put students in groups of 4 and make each of them responsible for one of those four countries’ traditions. Then, as a group, they can piece together their knowledge (like a jigsaw puzzle) to get a bigger picture of the different Valentine’s Day traditions around the world.

Valentines Day Traditions Around the World

4. Crumpled Hearts Writing

The next Valentine’s Day middle school ELA activity I want to suggest is what I like to call Crumpled Hearts Writing. This fun collaborative writing activity is sure to get even your most reluctant students putting pencil to paper. Here’s how it works in four simple steps…

  1. To begin, give each student a different narrative story starter. I like to use picture prompts for these (as shown in the image below), but you can also use written prompts. Students will be given a set amount of time (I usually do 10 minutes) to begin their respective stories. They will introduce the setting, at least one character, and start the plotline.
  2. After everyone has had time to get their stories started, it’s time for the best part. Get students to crumple up their pages into “hearts” and throw their stories to the front of the room! Every student will retrieve a new story from the pile of paper hearts, and then they will each smooth out the paper and continue writing where the previous writer left off.
  3. The second writer should continue the plot, develop the characters further, and create a conflict in the story. The process repeats once more. The third writer is responsible for resolving the conflict and bringing the story to a close.
  4. Then, they must return the story back to the original author to write a final copy.

 

TIP: If you can manage it, distribute this activity on pink paper! This will help make those crumpled hearts look more like proper Valentine’s Day hearts.

Crumpled Heart Valentines Day Activities

5. The Chaser by John Collier

Have you read “The Chaser” by John Collier? This short story is about a young man named Alan who is desperate to make a woman named Diana fall in love with him. So desperate, in fact, that he is willing to use a love potion. Collier’s story lends itself especially well to Valentine’s Day activities.

“The Chaser” focuses on unrequited love. More than being an apt Valentine’s Day tale, reading “The Chaser” also serves as a great way for students to develop important ELA skills. Whereas Collier does not provide all of the details, the story makes for a good way to practice inference.

I like to start off my lesson by asking students to make a prediction about the story based on the title alone. Then, I ask discussion questions that will relate to the text, such as “Do you think money can buy love?” I choose a few students to read out loud, getting each of them to play different roles in the story. I stop to ask questions throughout and encourage students to use their inference skills to more fully understand the story.

Afterward, I engage students in a post-reading discussion before moving on to Abby’s Advice column, an assignment that allows the student to play the role of a newspaper columnist who gives advice to the main character.

 

The Chaser by John Collier ELA Valentines Day Activities

There you have it! I hope you can incorporate one or more of these Valentine’s Day activities in your middle school ELA classroom. Looking for more tips and resources for your classroom community? Click here.

Writing a Break Up Letter Shop This Post

Editing Cupid's Social Media Shop This Post

Valentine's Day Around the World Shop This Post

Crumpled Heart Valentine's Day Writing Activity Shop This Post

The Chaser by John Collier Short Story Resource Shop This Post

 

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