As with any lesson plan, the details can make a big difference in how your students respond in class and how comfortable they are using new material. Keeping that in mind, there are lots of things you can do to make your Valentine’s Day lesson go smoothly and encourage students to get in the holiday spirit.
Do's and Don'ts for Your Perfect Valentine's Lesson
DO have fun.
Plan to include some simple games or creative worksheets in your lesson. Crosswords and word searches are a good way of introducing or reviewing relevant vocabulary. You can also use a love song for a listening activity to focus on new words or to lead into a discussion.
DON’T embarrass students.
Steer clear of controversial topics, don’t ask students personal questions such as “Do you have a boyfriend?” and choose age appropriate activities. Love and romance can be a difficult subject to cover especially with younger students so keep it light and enjoyable for everyone.
DO introduce Valentine’s Day vocabulary.
This will probably be the best opportunity you get to teach students words like cupid, arrow, and romance so make the most of it. Focus on Valentine’s Day specific words and elicit vocabulary during your introduction to see what students already know.
DON’T tell students about your personal life.
Students may ask questions about your relationship status but it is best to remain noncommittal. If you are married, you can simply tell them that without divulging any details.
DO wear appropriate colors.
Wearing Valentine’s Day colors will at the very least amuse students but it can also make them more aware of how special this lesson is. You can even encourage students to wear clothes that are red, pink, and purple if your school doesn’t have a uniform.
DON’T ignore the holiday.
Even if you do not have time to devote a whole class period to Valentine’s Day, say something about it and use it as the theme of your lesson anyway. Some students may expect something special and would be disappointed if you did not even touch on the subject.
DO use Valentine’s Day clipart like hearts and cupids on your lesson materials even if the lesson is about a different topic.
This way you can still incorporate the holiday into your lesson without losing any precious class time. For students that finish exercises early, you can have them complete a short Valentine’s Day word search for extra credit.
DON’T have students make Valentines for one another.
This can make students uncomfortable and ends up being a popularity contest. Unless this is a tradition at the school, make cards for family members instead. If you must do a Valentines exchange in the classroom, conduct the activity like a Secret Santa; have students make cards, say something nice about the recipient, and hand them in anonymously. Then you can pass them out and everyone will go home happy.
DO give out candy, decorate, and write in red marker.
These things do not take a lot of energy but really add to the atmosphere of the classroom. Students will appreciate these gestures. Make sure that you are allowed to give students food before bringing candy into the classroom.
These are just some things to keep in mind this February 14th. A good Valentine’s Day lesson will brighten everyone’s week and help motivate students. See VusyTeacher’s section full of creative Valentine worksheets here.
If you know any more DO's and DON'Ts for St. Valentine’s, why not share them below?
Tara Arntsen has worked with English Language Learners of all ages for many years and has taught in Japan, Cambodia, and China as well as online. When she is not teaching, she enjoys cooking, traveling around the world, and scuba diving. She is a member of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi and is currently pursuing an M.A. in Teaching-TESOL at the University of Southern California.
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