As a TEFL teacher, take the time to celebrate global holidays and learn about your students’ cultural holidays to create an all-inclusive, respectful, happy classroom atmosphere. Celebrating holidays, like Valentine’s Day, in the classroom provides the opportunity to introduce or reinforce core humanity values such as spreading peace and showing kindness. And which classroom couldn’t do with more of these, right?
Choose activities centered on the day of love that allows students to practice their 4 skills: reading, writing, speaking and listening. Be inspired by our Valentine’s English activities below that can be adapted to your student class’s proficiency level, age and culture.
Who said English can’t be fun even on Valentine’s Day?
- Valentine’s sight words search: Create a word search filled with the targeted sight words. Use this free website that even has the option of turning the grid style into a heart!
- An ‘’I love…’’ book: Fold a piece of paper into a 4 page booklet. Students can either draw or cut pictures out from magazines of things they love. Once completed, commence a show-and-tell either to the whole class, small groups or partners.
- Heart attack sight words: This is a twist on the fun vocabulary revision classic ‘Slap the board’ game. Cut out various sized paper hearts in either traditional red, white and pink Valentine’s colours, or assorted funky colours. On each heart, write a sight word in bold font and stick up all the hearts onto the board. The rules: Students line up in 2 rows, allowing 2 students to participate at a time. The teacher calls out the word, or provides the definition of the word, and the first student to slap the correct word on the board wins a point for their team. Those students then go to the back of the line, or return to their desks, and the next 2 students in line take a turn. To keep their interest, encourage students to take turns quickly and encourage peer motivation.
- Alphabet hearts: Hand in hand with the heart attack sight words recognition game, the students can arrange the words into alphabetical order.
- Valentine’s Would You Rather questions: Who doesn’t love a round of answering these humorous and engaging discussion questions? If teaching online, have the students make a special signal for answers 1 or 2. If teaching in a physical classroom, designate 2 spots in the class and have students move to either spot when answering the questions. After each question, select 1 student from each group to provide a reason for their answer.
Examples of questions:
- Would you rather eat only white foods for the rest of your life, or only red foods?
- Would you rather get 20 Valentine’s cards from your friends, or just 1 from your crush?
- Would you rather watch a romantic movie or a scary movie?
Be prepared for lots of giggles!
- Appreciation notes: Start this lesson with a discussion on what it means to be appreciated and why it’s important to show it to others. The assignment: Students write 3 appreciation notes to the following categories:
- Someone you love
- Someone who has helped you
- Someone who needs some encouragement
Provide students with red/pink coloured paper or make a digital template for them to write their appreciation notes on. Encourage them to deliver their notes! For a follow-up warmer activity, students could report back on the recipients’ reactions.
- Heart to heart conversation: Taken from the concept of speed dating, in this activity, students form an inner and outer circle facing each other. The teacher selects pre-made questions from a jar, reads the question aloud and puts on a timer for the students facing each other to share their feelings. Allow for both students to respond to this question before the timer goes off. Students in the outer circle then rotate and the process starts over with a new question and a new face to talk to. Once the activity is completed, discuss similarities/differences in answers, if they were surprised by any responses, and if any of their perspectives have changed.
Examples of questions:
- I feel loved when…
- I would define love as…
- The kindest thing someone has done for me.
- If there were more love in the world then…
- What do you value most in a friendship?
Alternatively, for a more lighthearted approach, merely ask typical getting-to-know you questions.
- Valentine’s murder mystery: There’s nothing like a little love gone wrong to practice English fluency and critical thinking skills! Use this murder mystery for a fun lesson enhancing activity, adapt the number of characters to your class size, and encourage roleplaying for some fun as they work together to solve the crime.
Lastly, want to reward your class for their diligent effort with English language learning? Throw a Valentine’s class party with Minute to Win It games. Teaching online? Try out tic-tac-toe or a Valentine’s Pictionary party game with love themed words.
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