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Valentine's Day Activities for ELA

Valentine’s Day Activities For Middle and High School English

I love finding creative ways to bring the holidays into the ELA classroom without sacrificing content. When Cupid comes around, I like to break out some fun Valentine’s Day-inspired activities for my middle and high school English students. From sending students on a date with a book to writing an anti-Valentine’s Day breakup letter, here are 12 of my favorite ways to incorporate this day of love in English Language Arts.

1. EDIT GRAMMAR ON CUPID’S SOCIAL MEDIA

Let’s be honest, grammar is not the most exciting topic for middle and high schoolers. I try to make grammar instruction fun during Valentine’s Day by having students correct Cupid’s social media updates. Students read the update, find the errors, correct them, and give reasons for the corrections.

It’s amazing how much more engaged students can be in finding errors by simply adding a twist to the context. I use them in task card format for a class station or writing center, but you could also easily use one a day as an English bell-ringer for the whole class on the days leading up to Valentine’s Day. Although I didn’t intend for these to be competitive, students usually want to be the first to find all the errors. I must say that, as an English teacher, it is quite satisfying to see students get so excited about punctuation!

Valentines Day Grammar Activity

2. WRITE THE PERFECT BREAKUP LETTER OR TEXT

Try an anti-Valentine’s Day twist by getting your students to write the perfect breakup letter or text message! After students learn about what a perfect breakup letter looks like, they develop two fictional characters and create a deal-breaking issue in their relationship. Have students do some pre-writing to develop the couple’s relationship, personality traits, and relationship issues. Then, after they create an outline for the letter or text message, they can start writing the heartbreaking message.

Writing a Break Up Letter Valentines Day

 

3. SEND STUDENTS ON AN ONLINE DATE WITH A BOOK

Help your students find a novel to read by sending them on an online date with a book. Here’s how it works:

1. Students get a random book (you can preselect high-interest ones) and create an online dating profile based on the book cover, the title, and the blurb on the back of the book or inside the jacket cover. The profile will include a physical description, words to describe the book, a brief plot “about me” summary section, an ideal reader description, and an area to describe who should “check the book out.”

2. The teacher creates a class bulletin board to display all of the profiles (mine says “Fall In Love With A Book – see above). Students find one that interests them and take it down. They have found a match!

3. Students read some of the novel during silent reading, examine their first impressions, and decide if it is a love connection or if it will end in heartbreak.

Learn about how to set this up in more detail by reading this blog post.  

Date with a Book for Valentines Day in ELA

4. FIND LOVE-INSPIRED FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE

Cover common figurative language and literary devices used in poetry or fiction by having students locate examples in Valentine’s Day-inspired stories or examples. I have students read original passages that include figurative language and color code the examples they find. The terms I use are metaphor, simile, personification, alliteration, oxymoron, and onomatopoeia.

Valentines Day Figurative Language

 

Don’t have time to write your own examples? Tell students to write an original Valentine’s Day-inspired sentence that includes one figure of speech. Collect them all and make your own practice worksheet with their examples!

Valentine's Reading and Writing Resources

5. READ A SHORT STORY ABOUT LOVE

One way to bring Valentine’s Day into your English classroom is to introduce a romantic or love-themed short story to your students. One of my favorites is The Chaser by John Collier.

The 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!

Not only is this a story that students love, it is also useful in teaching inferential thinking. Usually, the story ends with some students snickering in total understanding while others are completely confused. This provides a great opportunity for students to go back to the text to read between the lines and infer to fully understand the plot. I also have students complete a post-reading creative assignment called “Abby and Andrew’s Advice Column” where they give advice to Alan from a male and female perspective.

Valentines Day in ELA The Chaser by John Collier6. WRITE CUPID’S RESUME

Help students understand resume structure by developing one for Cupid! This assignment asks students to imagine that they are cupid, and they are developing a resume to apply for a job as head matchmaker.

The resume template is used as a guide, and students fill it out to demonstrate an understanding of cupid’s skills, personality traits, interests, and qualifications using much detail and creativity as possible. It is also a good idea to have students do some research on cupid before getting started on the assignment. This way they have some more detailed information to include.

Download this activity for FREE by clicking here.

Free Valentines Day English Activity

7. LEARN ABOUT VALENTINE’S DAY HISTORY

Another way to bring Valentine’s Day into the middle school ELA classroom is to have students learn about the origins of the holiday. Students are always surprised to hear the story of St. Valentine who performed wedding ceremonies in secret because Claudius, the Emperor of Rome in the 3rd Century, outlawed marriage. After students have learned about the history, I have them imagine that they are St. Valentine and write a journal entry from his perspective. I ask them to write about how he feels about the ban on marriage and what he intends to do about it! Check it out by clicking here.

History of Valentines Day for English Class

Students are also eager to learn about how Valentine’s Day is celebrated around the world. This could be a research project where students read about how the holiday is celebrated in different countries. I use South Korea, China, Brazil, and Romania. Students are always fascinated to learn about South Korea’s White Day, the Chinese Qixi Festival, or the Brazilian Dia dos Namorado! I use it as an opportunity for reading comprehension practice, but you could also have students choose a country and present their findings to the class.

Valentine's Day Around the World

8. LEARN IDIOMS RELATED TO RELATIONSHIPS

Do you teach students who speak English as a second language? Use the holiday to introduce those students to English Idioms that deal with love and relationships. These expressions can be so confusing to an ESL learner. Help clarify by teaching them what it means to be head over heels, to go Dutch, to have a crush, or even to pop the question and tie the knot!

Valentines Day Idioms

9. INFER INFORMATION FROM VALENTINE’S TEXTS

Inference can be a challenging skill for students to master. One way to get students thinking inferentially during Valentine’s season is to have them infer information from Valentine’s inspired text messages. After reading text conversations, students can infer information.  They should consider who the two people are, what their relationship is to each other, where they are, and what kind of personalities they have.

What’s great about this activity is there is no right answer! Students respond based on their own background knowledge and experiences. This means no marking for you, but lots of great discussion in class.

Valentines Day English Language Arts Inference Activity

10. LEARN NEW LOVE-INSPIRED VOCABULARY

Have students learn the meaning of love-inspired vocabulary with a fun, interactive broken heart cookies Valentine’s day activity. How it works: Students receive a variety of broken-heart cookies. They match up the vocabulary words on the right with their proper definition. Then, they assemble them on a cookie sheet.
Valentines Day Vocabulary Activity

11. HAVE STUDENTS WRITE POETRY (SONNETS) 

Sonnets are typically about love, so they make the perfect Valentine’s Day poetry lesson. I typically teach students about the typical form and structure used in this form by using Shakespeare’s “Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day.” After students have analyzed the poem, I have them try their own hand at it. They have so much fun trying to use iambic pentameter in the process.

Valentines Day English Sonnet

12. VALENTINE’S DAY INSPIRED TASK CARDS

Set up a stations activity in your classroom and have students improve their English Language Arts skills by circulating and completing Valentine’s Day-inspired tasks. I have a station set up for parts of speech, figurative language, grammar rules, and vocabulary. This can also be used digitally by assigning each student a slide to complete daily leading up to Valentine’s Day or as a collaborative class activity where everyone is working within the same Google Slide with each student assigned one slide.

Valentines Day English Task Cards

 

Thanks so much for reading. If you liked these Valentine’s Day activities for English Language Arts, many of them are included in my Valentine’s Day Reading and Writing BundlePlease note: Not all the resources mentioned in this post are in the bundle. Please read the description of the bundle carefully before grabbing it. If you have any questions at all, definitely reach out.

Valentine's Reading and Writing Resources

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