Sadlier Math Grades K–6
Core Program
Full Access
Progress in Mathematics Grades K–6
Core Program
Full Access
Progress in Mathematics Grades 7–8+
Core Program
Full Access
Progress Mathematics Grades K–8
National Program
Full Access
New York
Critical Thinking for Active Math Minds
Grades 3–6
Preparing for Standards Based Assessments
Grades 7–8
Vocabulary Workshop, Tools for Comprehension Grades 1–5
Print Program
Interactive Edition
Vocabulary Workshop Achieve Grades 6–12+
Print Program
Interactive Edition
Vocabulary Workshop, Tools for Excellence Grades 6–12+
Print Program
Interactive Edition
Vocabulary for Success
Grades 6–10
English Language Arts
Progress English Language Arts Grades K–8
National Program
Full Access
New York
Grammar & Writing
Grammar Workshop, Tools for Writing
Grades 3–5
Grammar for Writing
Grades 6–12
Writing a Research Paper
Grades 6–12
Writing Workshop
Grades 6–12
From Phonics to Reading Grades K-3
Print Program
Interactive Practice Bundle
Fluency Booster Practice Book
Interactive Assessments
Sadlier Phonics
Grades K–3
Close Reading of Complex Texts Grades 3–8
Print Program
Interactive Edition

English Language Arts Blog

The home of Vocab Gal and other educational experts K–12 resources

January 24, 2019 VG Writing with Vocabulary 6-12, VG Seasonal Activities Winter, VG Writing with Vocabulary K-5, Vocab Gal, ELA Seasonal - Winter, ELA K-5, ELA 6-8, ELA Resources - Activities, ELA 9-12, ELA PD - Leadership, ELA PD - Other, ELA PD - Vocabulary, ELA Focus - Writing with Vocabulary, ELA Focus - Vocabulary

ESL Valentine's Day Lesson for Vocabulary Learning, Grades 1–12

Valentine's Day is approaching and offers teachers with the opportunity to link ESL students' interest in the calendar holiday with vocabulary learning! With this ESL Valentine's Day lesson students will compose love notes to vocabulary words.

Download the Valentines to Vocabulary Words Activity now!


Getting ESL Students Interested in Word Learning

We know that when students have a vested interested in a topic and can connect new concepts with ideas that they know and enjoy, more learning takes place.

I have been friends with each of the three English Language Learner (ELL, ESL, ESOL) teachers that have served my district since I began teaching, but I especially enjoy our new ESL specialist, who is passionate and eager for ESL students to comprehend all possible materials. She works with elementary through high school students, and I love that she emphasizes that to reach ESL students—and, let’s be honest, most students—the key is making connections to pop culture and timely events.

Calendar holidays are a great way to engage ESL students in word learning. Here are some calendar holidays that can be celebrated with ESL students and used to learn vocabulary words. Click on the links to access related printable ESL worksheets.

FEBRUARY 18: Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast Day

FEBRUARY 20: Metropolitan Museum of Art Opened in NYC (1872)

FEBRUARY 28: Pink Day

MARCH: Music in Our Schools Month

MARCH: Pinterest Launched 2010

MARCH 1: Pig Day

MARCH 2: Read Across America Day

MARCH 5–11: Teen Tech Week

MARCH 10: Mario Day

MARCH 11: March Madness Basketball Tournament

MARCH 17: St. Patrick's Day

MARCH 20: First Day of Spring

MARCH 21: Twitter Founded

MARCH 29: Major League Baseball Season Begins

APRIL: Poetry Month

APRIL 9: Name Yourself Day

APRIL 13: Scrabble Day

APRIL 15: Jackie Robinson Day

APRIL 15: Take a Wild Guess Day

APRIL 17: Haiku Poetry Day

APRIL 21: World Fish Migration Day

APRIL 22: Earth Day

APRIL 28: International Tabletop Day (Board Games)

MAY 2: National Teacher Day

MAY 5: Free Comic Book Day

MAY 7–14: National Music Week

MAY 13–19: Transportation Week

MAY 18: International Museum Day

JUNE 18: Go Fishing Day

JUNE 19: Garfield the Cat Day

JUNE 19: First Official Game of Baseball (1846)

JUNE 21: Summer Begins

JUNE 26: Canoe Day

JUNE 30: Social Media Day

JULY 16: National Ice Cream Day

AUGUST: Happiness Happens Month

AUGUST 2: Coloring Book Day

SEPTEMBER 9: Eleanor Abbot (Creator of Candy Land Game) Birthday (1910)

SEPTEMBER 12: Video Games Day

SEPTEMBER 22: Autumn Begins

SEPTEMBER 25: Comic Book Day

OCTOBER: Emotional Intelligence Awareness Month

OCTOBER 1: CD Player Day

OCTOBER 2: World Architecture Day

OCTOBER 2: Name Your Car Day

OCTOBER 9: World Post Day

OCTOBER 16: Dictionary Day

OCTOBER 22: National Color Day

OCTOBER 23: Apple's iPod Unveiled (2006)

OCTOBER 28: Make a Difference Day

NOVEMBER 5: First Automobile Patented (1885)

NOVEMBER 11: Sundae Day

NOVEMBER 18: Cook Something Bold and Pungent Day

NOVEMBER 22: Thanksgiving

DECEMBER: Bingo's Birthday Month

DECEMBER 3: Make a Gift Day

DECEMBER 4: National Dice Day

DECEMBER 4: Game of "Monopoly" Debuted (1935)

DECEMBER 15: Game of Basketball Created (1891)

DECEMBER 19: Look for an Evergreen Day

JANUARY 17: Kid Inventors' Day

JANUARY 24: Compliment Day

JANUARY 25: First Winter Olympics (1924)

JANUARY 29: Puzzle Day


ESL Valentine's Day Lesson

A few years ago I created a Valentine’s Day lesson that tasks students with writing valentines to vocabulary words. Since then, this activity has been used numerous times to engage ESL students in word learning.


Download Now

Here's how it works...

First, download the worksheet for the ESL Valentine's Day lesson.

Next, instruct students to select 3 vocabulary words that they just can't seem to remember, but that they like for their sound or meaning.

Then with my Valentines to Vocabulary Words templates, have students write a "love note" to each word, using it's definition to help inform their lines. Your students' valentines can be as goofy or sincere as they want– as long as they are learning or reviewing words, it doesn't matter! Share the examples below with students or compose a valentine to a vocabulary word as a class. It is important to model the writing before students start composing their own love notes.

Here are examples to share with students:

EXAMPLE 1– Sincere


EXAMPLE 2 Tintinnabulation


In Summary

Linking instruction to ESL students’ pop culture interests and calendar events makes vocabulary learning more fun and meaningful, and allows everyone to learn as much as possible.

The ESL Valentine's Day lesson will encourage students to compose love notes to vocabulary words they have a hard time remembering!

To learn additional vocabulary strategies for ESL students, click here.