Valentine’s Day is the perfect holiday for ELA teachers. There are so many opportunities to incorporate themes of love and friendship into our language arts activities. Any event that highlights words, emotions, and expressions is ideal for engaging our middle schoolers with some unique lesson ideas. If you are short on time but still want to add some Valentine’s Day fun to your lesson plans, here are a few easy ideas you can spin up pretty quickly.
1. Valentine Poetry Lesson
Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to introduce (or review) some poetic devices. A few easy ones that work with almost any poem include stanza, tone, imagery, and metaphor. Find a few Valentine poems that suit your age group and have students identify the poetic devices within them. Use this list on WeAreTeachers to save time searching for poems that fit your grade level.
If you want to add another layer to this activity, you can have students write their own Valentine poems that feature the poetic devices you review together. Ask them to pen a poem for a friend, family member, or something they’re passionate about. You can even host a poetry reading for those who want to share their work with the class.
Check out this post for more tips on teaching poetry analysis.
2. Literature Character Letters
This idea works particularly well if you are in the midst of a novel study that has a strong relationship or friendship theme. The assignment is to have students write a friendship letter (or thank-you note) from one character to another. This is a great way to test their understanding of the characters and storyline within your novel unit, and it gives kids creative writing practice.
TIP: If you are not currently reading a book together in class, you can use easy examples like Cinderella, Rapunzel, or The Little Mermaid. Discuss the challenges each of these famous romances faced and see where your students go with their letters!
3. Valentine’s Day Word Work
Students get tired of doing the same things every week, whether it’s a weekly writing list or vocabulary word work. Seasonal events are the perfect time to get creative with new word work templates. For Valentine’s Day, try reimagining your weekly vocabulary list with words related to love and friendship. Click the image or link here below to download my Valentine Vocabulary Freebie PDF.
I’ve also included a simple heart-shaped spelling printable and word grid you can use to add even more fun to your vocab lesson. Repetition is an important part of learning to spell new words, and these activities make the process a little more engaging.
4. Random Acts of Kindness
This year, Random Acts of Kindness Day lands on Saturday, February 17th, but did you know that Random Acts of Kindness Week is also a thing? It starts on Valentine’s Day, so this year it kicks off on a Wednesday. There are dozens of ways to incorporate reading and writing activities into this week, and you can even find free lesson plans on the RAK Foundation website.
One easy idea is to have a class discussion where you brainstorm random acts of kindness that students could perform. Follow that up with journal writing, where students write about their goals for kindness week.
Another idea is to turn this into a daily journal challenge for the week. If you want to inspire your kids with a fun story about this time, check out my Random Acts of Kindness Reader’s Theater. It also includes a few comprehension activities related to this special week.
5. Valentine’s Day Homework Pass
If you need a quick Valentine idea to give to your students, nothing is easier than making a homework pass! These things are like gold in my classroom, and I love listening to the kids strategize about how they are going to maximize their pass! See below for the design I am using this year. You can click the image or use this link to download this free PDF to use in your classroom.
Hopefully, you found some ideas here to enhance your Valentine’s Day classroom activities. This really is a great “learning holiday” for ELA teachers. There are so many real-world imagery and figurative language examples around in February. Take advantage of it to highlight the power of expression through words in both reading and writing. Happy Valentine’s Day!