February 14 is quickly approaching, so now is the time to begin planning a few fun academic Valentine’s Day activities to use with your elementary students. From handmade crafts to projects requiring critical thinking skills, these activities will open one’s heart to a love for creativity. While the holiday inspires love among people, it can also inspire your class to practice talents they don’t always get to display for their peers.
Valentine’s Day Music Compilation
Students can design a love-themed album complete with cover and playlist. For the cover, students can work with a variety of media. Share samples of artwork that uses construction paper mosaics or hand-drawn images. Do you have old magazines that no one is reading any longer? Students can cut these up to make paper collages to fit their love-themed album. For the playlist, require songs that don’t just sing of love; have students select each according to special criteria. For instance, one could be a love song that the student knows the words to. Another could be a love song from a favorite movie or animated show. Some songs on the playlist could be those chosen by the student’s best friend, family member, or caregiver.
This activity also opens doors for students who have musical talents. You may be surprised by those in your class who can play the piano, guitar, or other instrument. These students may want to share their talent with the class by recording or performing live an original musical composition inspired by the Valentine holiday. Others in your class may be inspiring lyricists. They can write the lyrics to their own song and perhaps even sing it to the class!
Art with Hearts
Making a work of art is a great way for any age to celebrate Valentine’s Day, especially those youngsters who are still learning how to use their motor skills. Challenge your students to make Valentine’s Day artwork by solely using heart shapes. Demonstrate by drawing a large heart on your chalkboard. Turn it into a face by giving it smaller hearts for a nose and mouth, and even smaller hearts for pupils. How can hearts be drawn onto the original heart so that the face has ears? Make a mouth by sketching hearts adjacent to one another. When students make their art with hearts, provide them with options for using markers, crayons, construction paper, wallpaper, or scrapbook paper. The final project could be posters that celebrate the holiday or greeting cards to be distributed to other students at your Valentine’s Day party.
If you are looking for another hands-on way for students to express their artistic side, Martha Stewart knows a fun art with hearts activity that will require students to follow a set of instructions. While many send roses to a loved one for Valentine’s Day, her Valentine’s flowers don’t require watering! Students will construct flowers from craft paper, beads, wire, and floral tape. These special flowers are handmade gifts perfect for any student’s loved one.
Do your students know how their family members fell in love? Brainstorm a list of questions that students can ask their relatives to find out the story behind their relationships. Where did it happen? How long ago did it occur? When did they know that they were really in love? Students can report their findings in the form of a descriptive essay or sketch it out in a graphic novella.
Love Is… Poetry
Valentine’s Day has inspired volumes of poems! Introduce your students to love-themed poetry and maybe even a Shakespearean sonnet. Together, identify the use of poetic devices such as simile, metaphor, and personification. Also, note sound devices that poets use like rhyme and alliteration. Have students experiment with these devices to use language in a creative way. Once you have checked their understanding of the devices, challenge students to use many of them in an original poem.
For additional help in teaching poetry, visit the lessons provided by ReadWriteThink. Here, you will not only find information on how to teach the basics, but you will also discover interactive tools that students can use to create theme poems, which are always popular for the holidays. For Valentine’s Day, students can make their own heart-shaped poem using their laptops or touchpads. Individual work can be printed for displays or to give as gifts.
If grades must be taken for any of these activities, be sure to provide students with specific guidelines and instructions for the activity so that you will be able to properly assess skill benchmarks and each student’s ability to meet your expectations.