When students have multiple, low-stakes opportunities to experiment with language concepts, knowledge retention is strongly developed.
By describing fun food objects, students can continue to use their poetic language in creative ways. Furthermore, the element of play cannot be stressed enough, as humorous experiences are also the ones that are most memorable. Through delving into meaning and nuance in order to write “love notes” and “chocolate descriptions,” students can fully embrace their words.
Valentine’s Day can be fraught with anticipation and rejection, but when everyone writes “love letters” to words, no one feels left out. The words cannot write back, and so the expectations are low and the opportunities for learning are high.
With the Valentines to Vocabulary Words Activity, students will write "love notes" to three vocabulary words they like for their sounds or meaning. Using the templates on worksheet, they will write a valentine to each word, making sure to explain its meaning, and possibly pronunciation, as they explain why they like the word.
If possible, have many different examples of Valentine’s Day cards as models, and ask students to underline examples of poetic language. In doing so, students can showcase their prior knowledge regarding poetic techniques and use them as models when creating their own odes to words.
Students' valentines can be as goofy or sincere as they want—as long as they are learning a new word, it doesn't matter! Once students have written their hearts' content (pun intended!), display them somewhere in the classroom or school (and take pictures of them to share with me on Twitter or Facebook).
Additionally, to differentiate this lesson, the use of poetic language and additional vocabulary words can be required only for proficient and accelerated learners. Struggling students can focus on writing a few lines explaining why a specific word is deserving of a valentine. As long as the word is described accurately, those who need more time can have one task to focus on rather than multiple ones, will be able to show mastery of their task. For those needing a challenge, asking for more depth in the lines through the use of additional poetic techniques or vocabulary words provides students with higher expectations for their writing craft.
Around Valentine’s Day, stores not only carry cards, but also plenty of boxes of chocolates. However, most of these boxes are made with less than desirable flavors. What could be more fun than asking students to design their own box of sweet delights, specifically for themselves or around a book they love!
The objective of the Not Your Average Box of Chocolates Vocabulary Activity is play. Students must use at least one vocabulary word to describe each chocolate, as well as what it tastes like or what it helps them do. These chocolates can be exotic flavors or imbue the eater with special gifts—nothing is too weird since the creations are imagined.
Alternatively, this activity can combine concepts from the books students are reading with vocabulary knowledge. In asking students to connect words with literature, you help them see that vocabulary is as an integral part of the curriculum rather than simply a separate concept to be studied that has no bearing on other work.
To differentiate this assignment, consider assigning specific words to those students who are struggling and, if working on a literature assignment, specific characters and events for students to use when writing. For those who need more of a challenge, ask for specificity in descriptions of each piece of candy and use of sensory details.
The Not Your Average Box of Chocolates Vocabulary Activity download includes a worksheet and two activity examples that students can use as a reference.
Valentine’s Day is a great excuse to ask students to have some fun with their vocabulary learning. Students can experiment with vocabulary and the reasons they love words, as well as learn more about poetic techniques in the Valentines to Vocabulary Words Activity. Furthermore, designing desserts for themselves or books is a great way to stretch students in their writing of details. When asking students to describe their reading, the open-endedness of the Not Your Average Box of Chocolates Vocabulary Activity allows for student voice and choice and a way to connect vocabulary and literary concepts together.
Students must have many opportunities to play with vocabulary in order for words to enter into one’s long-term knowledge. These vocabulary Valentine’s Day worksheets allow students to learn to love doing so!