9 Must-Have Valentine’s Day Activities for the ESL Classroom
Valentine’s Day comes around and “love is in the air”, as the famous song says.
But the holiday has gone far beyond the celebration of romantic love and is now a considered a great time to celebrate all forms of sharing and caring. Why not take advantage of this holiday and share with your ESL students the importance of kindness and caring in everyday life?
Here are 9 Valentine's Day activities that every ESL teacher must have:
Valentine’s Day – A Little Bit of History
At BusyTeacher.org, we have two excellent worksheets that provide students with the opportunity to learn a little more about the history of Valentine’s Day and practice reading comprehension skills at the same time. This Valentine’s Day Text and Activities worksheet provides excellent background information on the holiday, as well as three reading comprehension exercises, and so does the second worksheet Valentine’s Day Text and Activities # 2.
What better way to practice Valentine’s Day vocabulary than with these fun, printable Valentine’s Bingo sheets? Make sure you first introduce the new vocabulary, use it in context, then have fun playing Bingo! Ask students to use each new word you draw in a sentence for extended practice.
Valentine’s Matching Game
Another great way to practice Valentine’s vocabulary. In this case, all you need to do is print 2 sets of any of these 88 Valentine’s Day Coloring Sheets and engage students in a fun Matching Game. After you introduce the new vocabulary, ask the little ones to color the sheets, then glue them onto poster board to make your very own Valentine's flashcards. Mix them up, place them face down, and ask students to find the matching cards. They must name each card they turn over and/or use the words in a sentence.
Norman Bridwell’s lovable big, red dog spends his very first Valentine’s Day with Emily Elizabeth and gets into lots of trouble as he tries to help her make some Valentines for her friends. Read with your young ESL learners and discuss the importance of sending kind and warm messages to loved ones.
Valentine’s Day Craft – I Heart My ESL Class
Cut out hearts of different sizes from different colored papers, poster board, magazines, wrapping paper, etc... You can do this before class or with your students, depending on how much time you have. Students use the hearts to make a creative collage: they can glue them side by side and make a love worm; glue different sized hearts to create heart people; or make a garden of heart-shaped flowers. Let them create to their heart's content!
Valentine’s Couples - Famous Pairs
Make a list of well-known pairs that could either be famous couples or simple classic pairs, like: Romeo and Juliet; Beauty and the Beast; Batman and Robin; black and white; salt and pepper; Tom and Jerry; Hansel and Gretel; etc... Cut out the first name with the “and” in one piece. Fold and place all of the slips of paper in a bag. Students must draw one and supply the missing pair. You can divide students into teams and tally up a score.
An excellent activity for teen and adult ESL learners, this board game requires students to move around the board and answer questions related to relationships. Large groups can be divided into teams of 3 to 4 students. You may choose to give them a time limit, and ask them to speak for a full two minutes, for example. An excellent way to spark discussion!
A Valentine's Day Song
Valentine’s Day is not Valentine's Day without a mushy, romantic, love song. Listen to Wet Wet Wet's Love is All Around with your class, and ask them to complete the gap-filling exercise. Or choose any other romantic love song. In fact, choose two, a classic from the 70s or 80s (Air Supply, Barry Manilow) and a more recent hit, and compare. Have love songs changed in any way, or are they essentially the same?
Valentine Love Letters
Nothing could be more appropriate for Valentine's Day than a reading of some of the world's most famous love letters. A great activity for advanced adult learners, it gives students a glimpse into the minds of famous novelists, politicians and world leaders as they poured forth their feelings for those they loved. Pick any of the love letters available at TheRomantic.com, read them out loud with your class, and discuss. Make sure you pick one that is appropriate to your students' level.
From young learners who know little about romance to adult ESL students who know plenty, any class will enjoy these Valentine’s Day activities.
Claudia has been an ESL teacher for 20 years and has taught a wide variety of students from pre-schoolers to senior citizens, complete beginners to advanced students. This vast teaching experience has helped her write over 100 articles for BusyTeacher.org. When she is not teaching, she is also a freelance travel writer contributing reviews for V!VA Travel Guides' upcoming Uruguay edition, as well as travel articles and blog posts for a variety of online publications. She is currently living in Buenos Aires, Argentina with her spunky 7-year old daughter and crabby 10-year old cat, Ulysses. Google +.
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