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.
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.
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.
Here's how it works...
First, download the template for the ESL Valentine's Day lesson.
Next, instruct students to select 4–6 vocabulary words that they just can't seem to remember, but that they like for some reason.
Then with my Valentines to Vocab heart templates, have students write a valentine to that word, using its 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.
To differentiate the ESL Valentine's Day lesson, you can assign certain students to incorporate extra vocabulary words in their love notes, make their lines rhyme, or use a pun or two!
Finally, I suggest once students have written and decorated to their hearts' content (pun!) you display them somewhere in your classroom (and take pictures of them to share with me on Twitter or Facebook)
Here are examples to share with students:
EXAMPLE 1: SINCERE
EXAMPLE 2: TINTINNABULATION
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.