Here it is again! Valentine’s Day with all the associated craziness. Kids love it, and I’m seeing it as a perfect opportunity for a fun project that will reinforce their skills with figurative language – specifically similes and metaphors.
Kids in middle school and upper elementary love to celebrate, they love Valentine’s Day, and they love to make stuff. Turning your language arts class into a greeting card design room for the day would match with all of those “loves.” Set up would be simple, and it would fit right in with language standards. Basically set up involves two things – finding fun Valentine clip art and reviewing similes and metaphors with Valentine’s Day examples.
Images – the Fun Part
Selection of images depends in whether your kids will be working on the computer or on paper. Either way works fine, and actually I think I combination of both might be the most engaging. If your kids will be working on paper, print out a selection of Valentine’s Day hearts and other images in advance. Small sizes work great – the kids will have more options, and it involves less color ink. If the kids are using computers, they can search for free clip art of even free photos. From there, one choice would be to paste the image directly onto their document and continue designing their card to be printed out when complete. The other choice would be to print just their images and then cut and paste them onto construction paper cards.
Either way, I like the idea of using several small images rather than one big picture. Kids can mix a few small pictures and move them around to begin creating their own design. Next, they can add their own embellishments – borders, flourishes, or fancy word art.
Similes and Metaphors – the Creative Part
The other part of the prep, which you actually might want to do first, or even a day in advance, is to review these figures of speech using Valentine’s Day examples. Talk about messages that kids remember seeing on Valentine cards. Were the expressions exaggerated? Were they comparing the loved one to something special? Review the difference between a simile and a metaphor, and maybe have kids try changing a few examples from metaphor to simile, or the other way around.
Start a collection of favorites by listing them on the whiteboard. Use kids’ ideas from cards or candy hearts. Or have them look up lists of ready-to-use holiday phrases and select a few that catch their attention. I’ve also collected some silly Valentine’s Day Metaphors in this slide show, which you can download for free if you would like.
Kids can try writing their own by thinking of a characteristic that might apply to a loved one, for example “sweet,” and then thinking of other, unrelated things that are sweet – blueberry pie, a bouquet of roses, a robin’s song, etc. They can try writing the comparison both ways -You’re as sweet as blueberry pie, You’re my blueberry pie – and then choose whichever one they prefer. Add some of these to the class list of favorites for more examples.
Now the kids are ready to design their own cards. Armed with a selection of clip art and some colored pencils, and ready to write their own messages with over-the-top Valentine’s Day language, they are sure to come up with some beauties – personalized cards that will be appreciated far more than those valentines in a box. Sweet as pie!