There were no chocolate hearts, but the first thing that occurred to me was: here’s a great opportunity to combine a lovely theme and a lot of learning! No matter what theme the students are interested in, there are possibilities. A holiday, a TV-series, a footballplayer or whatever interest – everything and anything can be tied to different subjects, and basic skills! You’ll find a free Valentine’s related download at the end of this post – but feel free to read through the post first! 🙂
1. Reading and writing
Reading as a basic skill is perfect for Valentine’s Day. Writing and reading are closely linked, and I am a firm believer in writing your way to better reading skills.A typical preferred task of mine is searching for sight words. Automating sight words will make reading- and writingprocesses so much easier for the students! I also enjoy reading comprehension tasks that instruct the students in how to color an illustration. I’ll even add some contradictory instructions to see if they are paying attention. I’ll also write “color illustration X with two color, but not green or blue”. You’d be surprised how many illustrations turn out green and blue!
Making words is a classic task that works with absolutely all topics! I prefer using worksheets, but you can write the main word on a board, and let the students use their notebooks to create new ones. This task is also great for cooperating and working in groups – maybe even a friendly competition? If your students are bilingual, mix in another language and let them create words in both languages!
Math skills are great to combine with different themes. If you create math problems inside heart shaped illustrations or on a blank sheet of paper doesn’t really matter. It just makes it Valentine’s Math!I find all holidays such as Valentine’s to be a great opportunity for revising basic math skills. Some of the images to the left show addition, odd & even numbers, telling time, comparing numbers and more. None of these are related to Valentine’s – but why not combine them anyway? I overheard a student saying that “Valen-time” was much more fun than math class! It really doesn’t take much, does it? 😉
I like to give students a set of worksheets that follow a pattern, and then give them a template to create similar tasks later. This requires very little explanation, considering they just completed similar tasks themselves. They can also keep their worksheets as a reference. Once they have created new tasks they can swap with a learning partner, complete the new tasks and then correct them together!
3. Oral activities
I love oral activities! We need to get out of our chairs, and we need to talk! Since I mainly teach languages, oral activities are absolutely necessary. They are still important to keep in mind within other subjects too. All kinds of worksheets (or workbook tasks) are possible to carry out in an oral activity. Let the students complete a set of tasks/worksheet, and then wander in the classroom comparing their notes with others. Have them discuss, and add answers they didn’t think of themselves. Divide them in groups and let them take turns at revealing their answers. Maybe they can present a solution to the others? Show and explain how they arrived at this solution in particular?
An oral activity perfect for Valentine’s Day is “speed dating“. Speed dating is arranged by setting up two chairs facing each other at a desk. You may want to arrange your classroom to have these “dating stations” form a circle. The purpose of the activity is initiating short conversations, and you can use it for any given subjects. Give the students worksheets or task cards with keywords to make it easier to get started. Examples I’ve used in the past are getting to know each other tasks and collaborative mind maps on a topic we’re working on. For the latter, the students bring their mind maps to their “dates” and fill in information as they go. I’ve sometimes had them complete the dating circle twice for this, as there is continuously more information to add. For math class we’ve used speed dating to present how we solved a math problem, by explaining it in detail to each other. These probably wouldn’t be very successful dates in the adult world, but a great variety and practice talking in the classroom. It’s important to learn how to speak with different people, practicing eye contact, and speaking without having all the details planned out ahead.
4. Cross-curricular work
Of all the different subjects you can tie Valentine’s Day to, crafts and cooking are without a doubt the most fun!There are countless sources filled with creative ideas, and I’ve collected some of them in a Pinterest board. Find the board at the bottom of this post!
A typical Valentine’s task is making cards, and I’ve opted to use these folded cards. Quite simple and with cute illustrations – only your imagination limits the possiblities here!
5. Digital skills
Digital skills are extremely important, and I like to add them to the mix as often as I can. At previous Valentine’s Days we’ve attempted to have different digital presentations. One of the writing tasks I use for Valentine’s is writing about “A person I love” – which can be used for a digital presentation! It has a positive spin, and most students are able to find someone to write about. The task can be altered into more or less amorous anges too. Be careful when determining the task criteria, or you might find yourself with a lot of presentations about pop idols and athletes… ;-)PowerPoint is classic, but you might also want to take a look at Prezi. This tool might be best suited for older students, who have previous experience with PowerPoint. An extremely simple tool for creating digital presentations with images, video and audio is Microsoft Photo Story 3 – Windows Movie Maker’s predecessor. The most available tool is probably Movie Maker, a software most students master well. If you’re unsure about how to use it, you can find a guide here! All these programs can be used for creating amazing presentations about a Valentine’s related topic.
Looking for more inspiration?
If you wish to use my teaching resource to work on basic skills with a this theme, you will find it in my Valentines Unit.As a reader of my blog I’d like to share a Shooting Star (freebie) with you. It’s a reading comprehension sheet, and a Valentine’s card template (foldable).
I also have a Pinterest board dedicated to Valetine’s Day, and it’s filled with different resources, activities, recipes, ideas, tips and more. Feel free to browse it and see if you find something that’s a good fit for your class.