When you hear the word ‘Valentine’, do you think of hearts, candy and cards? Do you think about those same things when you hear Feb. 14? Who says Valentine’s Day is the only time to talk about love? We can tell the people we care about how we feel any day of the year.
Don’t wait until Valentine’s Day to let your students express how they feel about someone close to them with the following love-ly activities.
V: Valentine's Day Any Day. How to Have a Love-Themed ESL Lesson
There are countless books about love that appeal to young children. These books may address romantic love, but more likely they will show love for one’s friends and family. You probably already know which ones are your class’ favorites, so read them again to get in the mood for love. You can also ask your students to bring in books from home that deal with the topic of love. If they are written in the students’ native language, ask for as much translation as the child can give or just show the pictures to your class and guess together what the story might be.
Along with all the books, many songs address the topic of love. Play selections from some songs about love with your class. You might want to use “All You Need Is Love” by the Beatles or some other piece that appeals to the age group you teach. There are countless songs about romantic love, but try to find other examples for your students. You can also have them talk about different kinds of love in small groups. Have your class brainstorm all the different kinds of love that they can think of, for example romantic love, friendship love, parental love, brotherly love, etc.
As a final example of love, bring in a selection of cards that express different types of love. You can include romantic cards, but be sure to have examples of friendship and family in some of your cards. Ask your students if they notice any common phrases throughout the cards. Are there any phrases they see multiple times? If so, make a list and talk about what type of love that expression is used for.
After your class has talked about the generalities of love, ask your students to think about someone specific that they love. It can be a parent, relative or friend. Group students and allow them to share with each other some information about that person. They may want to explain how they know that person, what makes them care for that person, and a favorite memory of that person. Allow your students to ask questions of one another. Once your students are almost finished, have each person talk about what that person likes.
Using the information from the discussion time, your students should design a card for the person they have been talking about. They can think about colors and hobbies that the person likes. Have your students write a practice draft on regular paper. They may want to model their cards after some of the ones you showed your class. Make sure the cards are available to your students when they are planning their own. Once each person is satisfied with what he or she wrote, have your students make a final draft on a folded piece of card stock. They can then decorate the card with pictures and art materials.
Let your students share their cards with each other in their small groups. Students will enjoy getting a look at the personalized card since they know so much about the recipient from the discussion time. Then provide your students with envelopes and show them the correct way to address them. If possible, give each student a stamp and mail the cards. If your students have chosen to write to loved ones out of the country, you may want to send a letter home explaining that the class made personalized cards and that Mom and Dad should mail the card to the appropriate person. Ask your students to let the class know if they get any response from their everyday-valentine. You may even want to make a chart or graph that shows how many responses the class received.
Valentine’s Day is a fun occasion for your students, but you don’t have to wait until February to let your students express their love. Give them an opportunity at an unexpected time of the year to show someone that they care. After all, love is all we need.