8 Valentine's Day Activities For English

Incorporating the holidays without sacrificing content can be a challenge in middle and high school, but there are lots of fun ways to bring Valentine’s Day into your classroom while still covering outcomes!   Read below to find 8 Valentine’s Day activities that you can use in your classroom:

Try an anti-Valentine’s Day twist by having your students write the perfect break-up letter or text message.  After I give students information on what should be included in the perfect break-up letter, I have them 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 past relationships.  Then, after they create an outline for the letter or text message, they can start writing the heartbreaking message. Try the activity here: WRITING A BREAK-UP LETTER

Use the holiday as a springboard for improving research and writing skills by having students examine how Valentine’s Day (or other love-related holidays) are observed in other countries.  Students can choose their own countries, but one of my favorites to have students examine is South Korea who has unofficial holidays on the 14th of every month. Some of these days include White Day, Black Day, Kissing Day, Rose Day, and Green Day.  Other holidays that are great to research are the Qixi Festival in China, Dragobete in Romania, and Dia dos Namorado in Brazil. 

You could choose to have students write a comparative or informative essay, or you could even have them develop a presentation to teach the class about what they learned in their research. 

Another way to bring Valentine’s Day in is to introduce students to quotes that give advice or make a statement about love.  These quotes can be used as a springboard for writing or discussion.  

A really fun way to engage with love-inspired quotes is to have students imagine that they are a psychologist, and the ONLY advice they can give their client is the love quote you provide them. Have them write a paragraph from the perspective of the client coming in to the office. They will have to consider what advice the quote of is giving and think of what the client might be like if he/she is not following that advice.  Grab this free activity: LOVE QUOTE ADVICE 

      Another option for using love-inspired quotes is to have students discuss/write about what the quote means in their own words, how it applies to their own life, and whether or not they agree with the words. You could also have students make two columns and describe the personality and habits of a person who follows the advice of the quote and a person who does not follow the advice.

Host a classroom debate on the topic: Should Valentine’s Day be celebrated?   It seems like such a simple topic, but there are lots of arguments for both sides.  The debate can get quite intense with some arguing that Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate love, kindness, and friendship and others arguing that it is only a materialistic and commercial holiday.

Have students write a film review on their favorite movie that incorporates some element of romance.  When I have students write a movie review, this is the process/organizational structure I have them follow:

Paragraph one contains the title of the film, the director, genre, setting, and a basic overview of the plot (that doesn’t spoil the ending). 

Paragraph two focusses on the characters.  Students can discuss important roles in the film and evaluate the characterization by considering important moments from the characters and whether or not the actors are suited for their role.

Paragraph three focusses on evaluating one element of the filming.  This could include music, sound effects, camera work, costumes, set, direction, or special effects.

Paragraph four focusses on examining the theme of the film and how it develops or is expressed.  I also have students provide their personal opinion and recommendation in this paragraph.

Let’s be honest, grammar is not the most exciting topic for middle and high schoolers.  I try to make it more fun during Valentine’s Day by having students correct Cupid’s social media posts.  Students read the post, find the errors, correct them, and give reasons for their corrections.  Try this activity here: CORRECTING CUPID'S SOCIAL MEDIA

  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 station or writing center, but you could also easily use one a day as a bell-ringer for the whole class on the days leading up to Valentine’s Day.

A tumblr account called PopSonnet by Erik Didriksen includes a collection of 100 pop songs rewritten as Shakespearean sonnets!  He also sells an eBook and Hardcover copy of Pop Sonnets: Shakespearean Spins on Your Favorite Songs.  This would be an amazing contribution to your class library!  The website where the book is sold also has a free Teacher's Guide with lots of amazing suggestions for implementation.  Check out the rewritten version of Ed Sheeran's "Thinking Out Loud" below! 

The sonnets are perfect for middle and high school students to examine Shakespearean sonnet structure in a fun and modern way.  Here are a few things you could do with these poems:

      1.      Give students the poems without the titles and have them try to rewrite the words into modern English then attempt to guess the song the sonnet was based on.
      2.     Have students examine the poetic structure to see if it follows the typical Shakespearean sonnet (iambic pentameter, rhyme scheme etc.)
      3.     Have students write their own sonnet based on a song of their choice!

Six-Word Memoirs were introduced by Smith Magazine when they asked readers to tell their life story in just six words. This request was inspired by the literary legend that Ernest Hemingway was once challenged to write a short story in only six words.  His story read: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”  The Six-Word Memoir official website has a section with submissions related to love and heartbreak which would be perfect to use around Valentine’s Day!  They also have a book that includes all of the best ones which would make a great addition to your classroom library.   

The website also includes resources for teachers, including a blog all about how teachers bring Six-Word Memoirs into their classroom.   You can also follow them on Twitter @sixwords and on Instagram at @six.words.memoirs.

Here are a couple of quick suggestions for using this around Valentine's Day

      1.      Have students use one of the submissions as a prompt to write an extended short story.
      2.     Have students write a Six-Word Memoir for a famous love story (movie, novel etc.)

Looking for other resources to use around Valentine's Day?  The ladies of the Secondary English Coffee Shop have you covered!  Click the links below.

Valentine's Day Escape Room by The Classroom Sparrow
An Interview With Cupid by Addie Williams 
Valentine's Day Grammar Worksheets by The Daring English Teacher
Valentine's Day Writing Choice Menu by Secondary Sara
Valentine's Day Figurative Language Activities by Stacey Lloyd
Valentine's Day Challenges by Room 213
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