Making Valentines to Promote Written Expression

It’s fun to work holiday themes into your lesson plans, but you want to avoid doing the same activities year after year if only for the sake of keeping things interesting and fresh for you. What ideas have you collected over the years for Valentine’s Day? Feel free to share them. I’ll offer a couple of my own among this week’s postings. Here’s the first:

Activity: Making Valentines

Targeted Skill: Using metaphors and similes in writing

Task: To create a greeting card for a classmate

STEP 1: Ask students to name common comparisons used as romantic lines. List them on the board. For example, a man might compare his lover’s eyes to stars: EYES = STARS.

STEP 2: Show the use of similes (i.e., the use of like or as to make a comparison) based on your list. Example: Your eyes are like stars. / Your eyes shine as brightly as the stars. Then demonstrate how metaphors are more direct in structure: Your eyes are my stars, and I no longer live in darkness. You can cite famous quotes, if you’d like. For instance, in the well-known balcony scene from Shakespeare’s play Romeo calls Juliet his sun (Act 2, Scene 2):

But soft! What light through yonder window breaks?
It is the East, and Juliet is the sun!

STEP 3: Tell students to imagine that they work for a greeting card company. They must produce a collection of Valentines to be sold for the upcoming holiday. Lower level students can create simple cards that have a romantic simile or metaphor on the front cover and Happy Valentine’s Day! on the inside cover. Challenge upper level students to add one or two appropriate lines on the inside cover before the traditional holiday greeting. Initial ideas should be reviewed by you and the final versions can be handwritten on construction paper. Encourage unusual comparisons. I recall two students comparing their real or fictitious beloved to a compass and a cup of hot cocoa!

SUGGESTIONS FOR SHARING THE CARDS: 

1) If more than one class completes this activity, you can collect all the cards and place them on display. Right before February 14, allow each student to “shop” for one card. 

2) If only one group of students completes this activity, you can collect all cards in a box and then have each student draw a valentine from a “secret admirer”.

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