Wanting to spice-up your February ELA lesson plans? Winter months can be some of the toughest in the classroom. Add some variety to your instructional approaches and ward away boredom with these ten fresh ideas.
1. Valentine’s Day Silly Sentences
Spiral in some holiday-style review that focuses on language elements by incorporating silly sentences! Students play with grammar elements, figurative language, and word connotations as they fill in the blanks of a romantic or grumpy Valentine’s Day letter. This is the perfect activity for a light-hearted, low-key day!
2. Adjective One Pager
Practice grammar with young adult literature! It is possible to connect grammar to other areas of study. Pull those books off your shelves and ask students to have fun with titles. This one pager is a combination of grammar, reading, and creative writing. Have fun with it.
3. Poem (or Song) Analysis
Keep students engaged in poetry by bringing annotations to a new level. This poetry analysis activity borders one pagers and essay writing. It requires students to think deeply and symbolically while using color. At first, students will break down elements of the poem or song, but there are additional options for students to show their thinking through extended response and scaffolded questions.
4. Character Analysis
What motivates a character? The answers might surprise you with these graphic organizers. Determined to get students thinking, I created this modern version of character analysis. You can use different ones with stories, or you can provide student choice.
5. Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown
Secondary students can use brain breaks between lessons and units that require a lot of critical thinking. If you have a day where you just want to reward students for hard work, or if you need a buffer to catch up on conferences, running assessments, or providing feedback, let students celebrate the month of February with a quick episode of Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown. Grab this viewing guide to pair with the show.
6. Editable Research Rubrics
Teaching research can feel overwhelming, but starting with the end in mind can help both you and your students. These MLA rubrics are completely editable so that you can personalize and modify for every writer.
7. Vocabulary in Formal Writing Bell Ringers
Tired of reading the same cliches and elementary words or phrases in students’ writing? Try teaching students about colloquialisms and cliches by introducing common informalities and showing them how to replace elementary wordings with more mature word choice. These vocabulary bell ringers, which can be used at any point throughout the period, include student-generated word wall templates and three weeks worth of daily vocabulary for writing.
8. Sentence Types
The basic sentences (interrogative, declarative, exclamatory, imperative) can become redundant to study! To spice up activities, I add a color by grammar activity to station rotations or as a review option.
9. Pyramus and Thisbe
The story of Pyramus and Thisbe is an excellent way to bring a splash of mythology into the Valentine’s Day season. Whether students are reading A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet, or another story of forbidden love, this close reading activity leads to interesting discussions about symbolism, theme, and connections.
10. Inspirational Bookmarks
Inspire your students with these fun (and free!) bookmarks. Add these to your classroom library today.
And there you have it! We hope that these TEN February ELA lessons will help you get through the month with a spring in your step because…well, Spring is actually right around the corner.