Making Valentine's Day Meaningful and Academic in Middle School E.L.A.
In middle school, I always like to make holidays academic in some capacity. That doesn't mean it can't be fun, too! Hop onto Teachers Pay Teachers and you will find tons of Valentine's Day activities. A lot are cute, pretty, and honestly, catered toward the younger crowd. Read on to find out what I do for Valentine's Day!
Break Up Letters
Valentine's Day always seems to be about spreading love. But, in reality, Valentine's Day is not always so great for everyone! To play on this concept, I thought it'd be a fun idea to write break-up letters. I didn't know where to go with this exactly, considering my kiddos are 11/12 years old. I had to think...how could I tie this in to E.L.A.?
Well, in the beginning of the year especially, my students abandoned a ton of books. Their reading stamina was very low and it was tough for them to stick with a book. At this point of the school year, their stamina is much better, but every so often they just don't like a book! This is sometimes the case with a book club book they read. Those they cannot abandon...they have to read those in their entirety. There is often a rare case of a student not liking those books. Then it came to me...they should write break up letters to books they abandoned or simply did not like!
I have them set it up into about four short paragraphs. Within their break-up letter, they need to explain what was great about their "relationship"; what did the student like about the book? Then, they have to elaborate on why the ultimately "ended" their relationship.
This is all a really great way to get them thinking about what books they like and don't like! It also forces them to think about why they abandon certain types of books.
To follow up with their break up letters, I have them write love letters to books they loved! I give them some directions on how to write the love letter, focusing on what they loved about certain aspects of the book.
Take it a Step Further
You can have the students pull quotes from both texts to support. For example, what line did the character say in the book you hated that just made you say, "ugh...really?" or what line in the book that you loved made you swoon?
Collaborative Writing Activity
Another activity I like to do with my classes is a collaborative poster. You'll find a ton of these on TpT, but I like to incorporate writing into mine.
This one focuses on the idea of students describing what they think love is. This can be very simple in which they describe what love means to them or you can have them elaborate more. What does love mean in family? What does it mean in friendship? What does it mean for society?
Another E.L.A. approach you can take is having them choose a book character and write from that character's perspective. What would Harry Potter say love is, for example? You could make it fun and have them do it for pop culture characters, too!
Part of the fun of these types of posters is coloring and putting the puzzle pieces together. So, the students use a grid to do that!
I know some of us choose to do nothing for holidays, which I respect; not every child celebrates or even is aware of the holidays based on their culture.
I always like to tie holidays in to instruction. These are some great ways to make Valentine's Day fun and academic.
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