4 Creative Writing Assignments for Valentine's Day

By Presto Plans

Valentine's Day is just around the corner, and with love being the focus of so much great literature, this holiday naturally lends itself well to the English Language Arts classroom.  It's also a time when you can foster your students' creative writing by introducing a holiday twist. I'm excited to share 4 creative writing activities that you can use to incorporate the spirit of Valentine's Day in your ELA curriculum this year. 

1. Writing a Break-Up Letter

Valentine's Day doesn't have to be all roses, chocolates, and love!  You may want to try flipping the holiday on its head with this anti-Valentine's Day writing assignment where students write a break-up letter or text message!   

To make the most of this activity, I suggest beginning with a class discussion on what a healthy relationship looks like.  Then, I take it a step further by having them share what they think a good break-up looks like.  You can get students to discuss their thoughts in groups for this, and after, you can share your own thoughts and discuss as a group!  

Then, students will be tasked with developing two fictional characters whose relationship is on the rocks. Students will brainstorm important information about the fictional couple (i.e. how they met, what their personalities are like, what their relationship is like, etc). They must also develop a reason for the breakup and decide which, of the two fictional characters, wants the relationship to end. 

Some students have taken this as a real-world writing exercise where they use it to break up with their real boyfriends or girlfriends!  I can't be held responsible for any broken hearts. 😉 Others have even taken a different approach by having famous couples break up (think Mickey and Minnie).  Some have even written break-up letters with bad habits they have or difficult situations like doing schooling online!  

Once students decide on what approach they want to take, they will make an outline of their break-up letter or text message before writing a final copy. I tell students to be upfront and clear about the intention to break up in their letters. I also encourage them to be as specific as possible about why they feel the relationship should come to an end. 

The best part comes in the sharing!  There will be lots of laughs if you have students volunteer to read their writing aloud to the class.  You might even consider bringing in some broken heart cookies. 

2. Write Your Own Pop Sonnet

What happens when you put Ed Sheeran and Shakespeare together?  Popsonnets!  My second Valentine's Day creative writing activity suggestion is centered around a Tumblr account called PopSonnet by Erik Didriksen. This page includes a collection of 100 pop songs rewritten as, you guessed it, Shakespearean sonnets! 

Didriksen also sells an eBook and Hardcover copy of Pop Sonnets: Shakespearean Spins on Your Favorite Songs which 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 Didriksen's Shakespearean Sonnet version of Ed Sheeran's popular song "Thinking Out Loud" below!     

This is a fun and modern way for middle and high school students to examine Shakespearean sonnet structure and have a little fun with penning their own lyrical sonnet. 

Start by giving students giving students one of Didriksen's rewritten songs in sonnet form without their titles and get to them try and rewrite the words into modern English.  Then, they should attempt to guess which song the sonnet was based on.  If the lyrics are appropriate, you might even listen to them in class! 

Then, get students to examine the sonnet structure to see if it adheres to the typical forms of the Shakespearean sonnet (iambic pentameter, rhyme scheme, etc.).

Then, after students have a good understanding of the form and have interacted with a variety of the popsonnets, have them write their own sonnet based on a song of their choice. 

Then, have a poetry reading in the class where students read their rewritten songs in sonnet form, and have the rest of the students attempt to guess what song they chose! 

3. Crumpled Heart Writing

How do you think your students would react if you told them to crumple up a piece of their writing and throw it around the room?  This is the premise behind the next creative writing Valentine's Day activity I want to suggest called crumpled heart writing. This collaborative writing activity will get even your most reluctant students putting pencil to paper. 

Here's how it works: 

  1. Start by giving each student a different narrative story starter. I use picture prompts for these, but you can also use written prompts. Students will be given a set amount of time (around 10 minutes) to begin their stories. This is where they will introduce the setting, at least one character, and start the plotline.  Printing the pre-made templates or having your students do their writing on pink paper is recommended if possible, so they will look like hearts when crumpled.
  2. Once 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 them to the front of the room.  
  3. Then, have each student go to the front to retrieve a new story from the pile of crumpled paper hearts, go back to their desk, smooth out the paper and continue writing where the previous writer left off. 
  4. The second writer will continue the plot, further develop the characters, and create a conflict in the story. 
  5. This process repeats once more with another crumple and throw. The third writer will resolve the conflict and bring the story to a close. 
  6. Finally, students must return the story to the original author so they can write a final copy.   

Quick tip:  Have your students write in pen.  Sometimes pencil can be hard to read with multiple crumples.

4. Write Cupid's Resume

Even Cupid needs job experience, right?  For this last Valentine's Day creative writing activity, you will have your students imagine that they are Cupid and need to apply for the job of head matchmaker!  To do this, they'll need to create Cupid's resume (FREE resource). This free Valentine's Day writing activity will get your students thinking outside the box while also helping them to understand resume structure. 

The resume template included in the free resource can be used as a guide for students to fill with Cupid’s skills, personality traits, interests, and qualifications. Encourage students to use as much detail and creativity as possible. It can also be a good idea to have students do a little research on Cupid before getting started on the assignment.

Looking for other creative resources to use around Valentine's Day? The Secondary English Coffee Shop has you covered!

Valentine's Day Newspaper Article by The Classroom Sparrow

3 Ways to Use #BookTok in Class

3 ways to use #BookTok in class

by Tracee Orman

Many English teachers enter the profession because we have such a deep love for reading and literature. But one of the biggest frustrations of teaching English language arts is the time constraints of the job (along with all the added paperwork), limiting the time we have for reading for pleasure.

I am sure I am not alone in admitting that many years I was lucky to read two or three books total. I was embarrassed when students came to me asking for book recommendations. I was their English teacher, after all. Shouldn't I be keeping up with all the latest greatest books? 

Using BookTok in class
This post is for all of you teachers out there feeling down on yourselves for not reading more. I am here to tell you that you should NEVER feel bad; our jobs require us to devote so much time to reading our students' work that we rarely have time to read for ourselves. Plus, I have a solution for you. It's called BookToks and they are fabulous!

Users of the popular social media app TikTok have been using the hashtag #BookTok to share their book recommendations, especially in young adult literature. The videos are short clips and often use comparisons, genres, or feelings to appeal to users. Publishers began to notice that TikTok was actually driving sales and decided to jump on the bandwagon, as well.

So how can BookToks help you? Here are three ways you can use them with your students:

1. Use BookToks to recommend books to your students. Teens are receptive to recommendations from their peers; short videos make the recs all the more appealing. You can share the #BookTok hashtag with students and have them browse for suggested reads. If you have younger students and do not want to refer them to social media, you can research the hashtag yourself to get ideas. Here are some videos and accounts that may help:

    Books that make you cry 

    Books for the sports fan

    Books that represent LGBTQ+ (fantasy)    

    Books that represent LGBTQ+ (contemporary)

    Books with good energy       

    Romantic books     

    Historical fiction                          


@mrs_orman If you like this book…try this one. #bookrecs #booktok #yalit #youngadultbooks #teachersoftiktok #classroomlibrary ♬ Suns - Official Sound Studio

2. Have students use BookToks to make comparisons between books and other mediums (such as songs).
One of the fun trends is to select a song then share all the books that remind you of that song. You can see an example here: Caitsbooks Enemy. Having students create their own short videos actually uses a lot of higher-level skills. Plus, they will get the opportunity to be creative and use a platform they probably already know and love. But just to be safe, you can have them create videos without using the app--especially if you have younger students. You can use my pack for assigning the activity or create your own.

BookTok book talks

3. Replace your traditional book talks with BookToks. Are they shorter? Yes. Do they offer as much information about the book? No. But BookToks are a great way to relate and connect with students and you can show YOUR creative side. Plus, the preparation you go through to prepare book talks for students can be very time consuming. You can create a short BookTok in minutes and the appeal can be just as effective (maybe more!). Don't worry if the idea of creating a video terrifies you--it terrified me, too. But I love to share my love for books and have for years on Instagram. So I decided to start sharing on TikTok and I really love the format. You can find my BookToks here. I plan to keep adding videos with books I am currently reading and those I recommend for your classroom library.

I hope you've found some new ideas that will make recommending books a little easier for you! You can also check out these great posts and resources from my fellow Coffee Shop friends:

Book Talk Hacks for Secondary Teachers by Room 213

Independent Novel Discussion Questions by Presto Plans

Thanks for reading!

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