When Love speaks, the voice of all the gods
Makes heaven drowsy with the harmony.
(Love’s Labour’s Lost, 4.3 – Shakespeare)
I have been away for a while. In fact, it was vacation time and next week our school year will start again. So, I decided to create some activities based on Valentine’s Day and I would like to share with you a couple of ideas that will engage some groups of teens and adults classes as well.
This year Valetine’s day will be on Sunday and of course these ideas could have been used previsously during the week. However, in Brazil it was Carnival Time and some schools will return next Monday. It can be a nice way to work as a warm-up or icebreakers activities. In addition to, this year we are celebrating Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary. It is such a nice time to introduce a glimpse of love to some students who have never heard about Shakespeare masterpieces.
First of all, I suggest you give them some hints about this lovely day. As some students from Brazil may not know why Valentine’s day are so popular in UK or USA or maybe some other countries celebrate it in another time of the year. It is very helpful bring to them videos or small texts explaining about this famous celebration.
For example in Brazil, we do not celebrate it in February – It is on 12th June (before Saint Anthony celebration – a Portuguese Heritage). Thus, here it is a wonderful video in which you can work with some interesting facts about Valentine’s day
Another kind of activity you can engage the whole group is using found poetry from a text. It can be from a newspaper, a page of a book,
magazine and so on. This one will be very challenging and they can work in pairs on it. I have done this twice with a group and they simply loved it!
You can use this picture as an example of what you want them to do. In this activity, they are now ‘writers’. You can scaffolding by listening to or observing them. Moreover, you can not take control of the activity. If you do so, it will turn the idea into a boring exercise and they will give up.
It demands a couple of minutes. At the end of their creativity process, they can read their poetry aloud or exchange within their classmates.
You can use a text from Romeo and Juliet or Midsummer Night’s dream from some well-known Readers (select the level you are teaching) It is not difficult for teens levels though. Some of these classical books have turned recently into movies and, they will recognize easily the plot.
Do not worry whether some students are afraid of reading Shakespeare. Unfortunaly, the language issues is the top notch caution. We teachers know that, it is for sure not easy task – there are lots of vocabulary and language structures in which they have never heard about; or maybe someone has told them that it is extremely hard job for basic and intermediate students read Shakespeare books.
Therefore, we have to expose them to these classical books and with their enigmatical words to delight his poetry, narratives and on. Otherwise, They will never figure out that some of the words that we have today came from him and that English language owes a lot to Shakespeare works.
What about music? Valentine’s day without music, come on. Bring a song and ask them to sing along and filling the gaps contest. I reckon this season will be Adele – Hello?!. Well, Well, here you can find some songs to work with your classes from teens to adults.
Finally, you can engage the whole classroom without exposing themselves. I really do not like the idea of exchange cards or writing a love letter. It is something very personal and we have to keep in mind that our students have to be comfortable to join the activity. Nowadays, because the high level of bullying incidents, I have decided not take these kind of activities into classes. I reckon when we taylor-made materials or activities, we have to be sensible and put ourselves in the students shoes. Using some kind of activities that will not engage the whole group may be avoiding and, some of these ideas will not contribuiting in their learning process at all.
Needless to say that, there will be some studens that might argue with you “Why do they have to learn this kind of stuff”. Try to explain them that when we learn a language, we are exposed to its culture. So we can not separate these two important and valuable issues. There is no language without its culture or vice-versa.
So, I hope these ideas can help you! Thanks for dropping by and I wish you a happy Valentine’s day full of chocolate and love.
Credit photo : https://br.pinterest.com/pin/251990541626793645/