Looking for ways to merge a Valentine’s Day theme into therapy with your older elementary and middle school students? Read on! I’ve got activity ideas and freebies to make planning hassle-free!
1. Compare and Contrast Emotions and/or Character Traits!
Here’s a list of emotions and character traits you can compare (beyond the typical “happy, mad, sad).” Students may find it easier to first compare and contrast two distinctly different emotions (thankful/ungrateful) and then move on to comparing and contrasting two similar emotions such as sadness and grief.
In the picture below, students compare and contrast “jealousy” and “loving” using a heart-shaped Venn diagram.
Looking for something a bit lighter? Have students compare and contrast how they celebrated Valentine’s Day when they were younger compared to now. They can also compare and contrast characters from a movie, from literature, or compare and contrast what makes a “good” and “bad” friend or a “good” and “bad” boyfriend/girlfriend. I have a free item at my store on Teachers Pay Teachers that offers three Valentine’s Day themed graphic organizers. The link is at the end of this post.
2. Valentine’s Day Story Mapping
Pull from a book your students are reading or from their textbooks and have them complete a Valentine’s Day themed story map where they answer five wh questions (who, what, where, when, why) about the reading material. You will find a link to a free Valentine’s Day themed story map at the end of this post!
3. Valentine’s Day: Emotional Idioms
Valentine’s day is of course, a great time to be exploring emotions. You can explore emotions and work on figurative language by working on emotional idioms. My Emotion Idioms product has posters and activities about emotions related to happiness, sadness, anger/frustration and anxiety/fear. You can have students play a go fish game where they request various idioms. One card has a picture of the idiom on it and another has the written idiom on it! The cards are pictured below.
4. Valentine’s Day: Teach the Skill of Accepting and Giving a Compliment!
Since Valentine’s Day is truly about love and friendship, teach your students a social skill that will help them in both areas! My Compliment Packet: Older Students includes a teaching story about giving and receiving compliments, motivating you tube clips on compliments with accompanying activities, scenario cards with real photographs where students draft compliments based on the information provided on the card and a bucket filler or bucket drainer game. Help your students fill the buckets of those around them by giving sincere compliments. This packet works on valuable language and perspective-taking skills while teaching students about compliments!
Here is the link to the Valentine’s Day Graphic Organizers Freebie that is featured in the pictures at the top of this post. I hope it helps make Valentines planning for your older students easier!