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English-Zone: Valentine's Day Activities

Website Example:

More Ways

Web Site, Internet, Computers

Activity Description

Students complete the first activity, which requires Internet use as part of jigsaw reading task, to learn about common symbols related to Valentine's Day and their meanings. The activity includes speaking with classmates to share information students find on the Internet. The other activities include reading a poem, writing a poem (optional), and learning about the symbolism of different colored roses and certain other flowers.


  1. Make sure that the Example Web Site, above, is not blocked on the computers you plan to have students use to do the activities. Download the handout and answer key Example Document, above.
  2. Go through the exercises yourself in order to choose which one you will use and/or to find out if all are appropriate for the language ability level and skill level of your class and to be able to anticipate difficulties.
  3. Select and note vocabulary that students may not know to pre-teach and plan a mini-lesson on how to help students understand these vocabulary words before doing the activities.
  4. Print the handout. In Word you can specify just which pages you want to print if you are not doing all the exercises. Only one copy of the Answer Key pages is necessary.


  1. Activity 1:
    • Introduce the topic of Valentine’s Day by asking students what they know about it, whether a similar holiday is celebrated in their countries and if so, how, what Valentine’s Day makes them think of, and record their associations on the board.
    • Tell students that they are going to learn about the background and significance of four Valentine’s Day symbols (hearts, cupid, doves, and lace).
    • Divide the class into four groups.
    • Distribute a different handout to each group.
    • In a computer lab, students can sit in their groups or work individually to fill out their handouts.
    • Model how to open the Example Web Site and do the activity.
    • After students have completed the handout, they can compare their answers with other members of their group. Then, regroup students so that each new group has one member who researched a different symbol.
    • Model and explain to students how they will share the information they learned about the symbol they read about in their new groups.
    • Finish with a whole-class debriefing by asking students to share what they learned.
  2. Activity 2, Part I:
    • Ask students if they have ever read or written a romantic poem.
    • Go back to the poem on the first page of the Example Web Site, project it, and read it aloud to students. The poem can be used as a pronunciation exercise with students repeating lines after you to work on sounds, stress, and intonation. For homework, you could ask students to copy the poem and memorize it to recite on a given date. Optionally, have students write their own poems on an assigned topic or using a list of target vocabulary words .
  3. Activity 2, Part II:
    • Ask students the English words for flowers they know. Teach words for new flowers by using visuals, if possible (such as Google images).
    • Ask students what kinds of flowers and what colors of flowers are associated or used for different events in their home countries and/or in the USA.
    • Ask them what it means if someone gives another person a red rose.
    • Ask if they know the significance of other colored roses. Tell students that they are going to learn the meanings behind some common flowers. Demonstrate how to open the Example Web Site and then go to Valentine's Day Symbols and select Roses to complete the activity.
    • Have students compare answers in pairs or small groups.

Teacher Tips

  • The handout includes an answer key. For Activity 2, the poem is the first one on the top of the page, not the Shakespeare sonnets, which may be too challenging for some ESL students.
  • You may want to post the links for the activities on a class Web page or e-mail it to students so that students do not have difficulties if they type in the Web address (URL) incorrectly.
  • The activities will take a minimum of two hours to complete all, depending on the English level and computer/Internet skill level of your students. Choose only one or plan the activities over the course of a few days leading up to Valentine's Day.

More Ways

  • The English-Zone Valentine's Day Web page  has texts about the history of Valentine's Day, quizzes, games, poems,and more. The English-Zone Holidays Web page  has links to many different holiday activities and resources.
  • The English-Zone site  has many online interactive activities and/or printable worksheets involving grammar, reading, writing, spelling, idioms, pronunciation, study skills, vocabulary, reading charts & graphs, money, check reading, coins, labels, time, health problems, basic skills, and map reading & traffic signs.



  • Intermediate Low
  • Intermediate High
  • Advanced


Basic Communication

  • (0.1) Communicate in interpersonal interactions

Basic Communication

  • (2.7) Understand aspects of society and culture

Basic Communication

  • (7.7) Demonstrate the ability to use information and communication technology
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OTAN activities are funded by contract CN200091-A2 from the Adult Education Office, in the Career & College Transition Division, California Department of Education, with funds provided through Federal P.L., 105-220, Section 223. However, OTAN content does not necessarily reflect the position of that department or the U.S. Department of Education.