These engaging language learning activities are perfect for celebrating love in your Spanish classroom.
When I was a teacher, Valentine’s Day meant two things: Sweet treats from students—my favorite since I sometimes forgot my lunch and those Dove chocolates were my only source of protein during the day—or a front-row seat to the teenage drama about who gave who a stuffed animal and who bought who a bar of chocolate from the cafeteria.
Valentine's Day is also an excellent opportunity to celebrate love in your Spanish classroom. It’s a fun holiday and a great chance to boost your students' language skills and deepen their understanding of Spanish-speaking cultures’ practices during this lovey-dovey time of year.
To make the most of this holiday, without the drama and sugar high, here are three Valentine's Day activities you can use in your Spanish classroom that will make Cupid look good.
1. Busca a alguien (Find Someone Who): Spanish Valentine’s Day Edition
Find Someone Who is a common ESL/world language classroom activity that helps students practice their speaking skills and get to know their classmates. It’s typically used in novice to intermediate-level classes, and it’s easy to prepare with a Valentine’s Day theme!
To begin the activity, the teacher gives each student a worksheet containing “yes or no” questions or statements in Spanish. The students then move around the classroom, trying to find someone who can answer "yes" to each item on their worksheet. Once they find someone, they write their name next to the question or statement and move on to the next person for the next question. If a classmate says “no,” they cannot record their answer.
The activity can be modified to suit the level of the class. For example, for beginner classes, the teacher can provide pictures or simple words for the students to use as a reference. In higher-level courses, the teacher can use more complex questions or statements that require more conversation.
The activity is a great way to encourage students to speak in the target language and get to know their classmates in a fun and interactive way. And what better day to be social than Valentine’s Day? Download our special holiday-themed version, Busca a alguien: Edición de San Valentín!
2. Love Poetry for Spanish Learners and Heritage Speakers
Using poetry in Spanish class can get students' creative juices flowing while also diving deep into Spanish language and cultures. Using literary devices like metaphor, imagery, and rhyme can help students develop their vocabulary, grammar, and comprehension skills.
Literature and poetry can also be used to develop Spanish learners' critical thinking skills as they analyze and interpret the meaning of the poems. Plus, it allows students to express themselves creatively in the target language, boosting their confidence in speaking and writing.
Now, you’re probably wondering, especially if you teach novice low to high students: “They can barely form a full sentence in Spanish; how are we going to write poetry for Valentine’s Day IN SPANISH?”
Language learners can increase engagement and creativity by using fill-in-the-blank poetry templates. Through templates, learners can express themselves creatively and demonstrate their knowledge of the language in a meaningful way. This creative approach can make language learning more engaging and enjoyable for novices.
Our templates let students practice writing in Spanish, which can help them reach their proficiency goals. In addition, working with templates will naturally reinforce key grammar structures and vocabulary words.
Here are three templates you can use with your novice learners:
Somos como… This template is very straightforward and geared towards novice low learners. Students think about their best friend, their crush, or someone who means a lot to them. Then, they think about famous inseparable pairs. For example, Macaroni y queso—mac and cheese; Mantequilla de maní y mermelada—peanut butter and jelly. That’s it!
Mi vida es más…contigo. This activity is geared toward novice low and mid-students. Once again, students think about a loved one and how this person has improved their lives. They have to fill the heart-shaped graphic with at least ten positive adjectives. For example: Mi vida es más amable, divertida, especial contigo.
Eres para mí… This template is geared towards novice high/intermediate low students. The instructions are completely in Spanish, and students have to build an acrostic poem based on their loved one’s name. For example, if their loved one’s name is Sue, they have to think of an adjective per letter of their name: SUE - Sorprendente, Única, Especial.
All templates are in a single file, so choose whichever best fits your classes! Download here.
If, on the contrary, you teach AP Spanish or a Spanish for Spanish/Heritage Speakers class, the previous templates may be too basic for your students. You may want to switch gears and focus on analyzing literary works of Spanish-speaking authors.
Spanish literature has been dominated by love poetry for centuries and it has played a significant role in shaping Spanish culture. In your role as a Spanish teacher for heritage speakers, you have the opportunity to introduce your students to some of the finest Spanish love poems. This will foster pride and a love of the Spanish language and culture.
Pick poems by well-known Spanish-speaking poets, but don’t limit yourself to the classics! There is a lot of wonderful work being produced by contemporary authors.
Here are some poems you can use with your heritage Spanish speakers:
Si me quieres, quiéreme entera, by Dulce María Loynaz.
A veces, by Nicolás Guillén
XXVI, by Cristina Peri Rossi
Clasificado: corazón, by Jessedith García Cordero
La tierra giró para acercarnos, by Eugenio Montejo
Your heritage Spanish-speaking students will be able to appreciate the rich tradition of love poetry in the Spanish-speaking world by incorporating these elements into their lessons. They will leave your class with an improved understanding of the Spanish language and culture, whether they become avid poetry fans or enjoy a deeper connection to their heritage.
Another way to use literature with heritage Spanish speakers is the eReaders included with En voz alta: Español para hispanohablantes. A range of reading selections—literature, informational texts, infographics, and authentic materials—support discussions, analysis, and debates about culture, heritage, and the benefits of community.
3. Uno se tiene que ir (One Has To Go): What Does the Heart Want in Spanish?
One Has To Go is another common Spanish classroom activity that can be used as a brain break or class opener. It is typically used in novice to intermediate-level classes.
The activity begins with the teacher presenting a list of vocabulary words or sentences to the class, usually in groups of three. The students must then decide which word or sentence they think they could live without and eliminate it from the list of options.
The activity can be modified to suit the level of the class. For example, for beginner classes, the teacher can provide pictures or simple words for the students to use as a reference. In higher-level classes, the teacher can use more complex words or structures that require more critical thinking.
The special edition we created for Valentine’s Day has tropes and actions typical of the holiday that students may find either difficult or easy—for instance, choosing between heart-shaped candy, chocolates, or flowers; or choosing between a date at the movie theater, the mall, or a fast-food restaurant. You’ll see many discussions arise from some of the prompts!
Download Uno se tiene que ir and use it in your class for low-prep fun.
Teach Your Heart Out on Valentine's Day!
These three Valentine's Day activities are just a few examples of how you can use the holiday to boost your students' language skills and deepen their understanding of Spanish-speaking cultures. They are perfect for celebrating love in your Spanish classroom, engaging your students in fun and interactive language learning, and fostering creative thinking and cultural understanding.
For more tips and lesson plans, join the Language Is Limitless community, a great resource for new and innovative ways to engage your students in language learning. You can share ideas, resources, and best practices by connecting with other like-minded world language educators from around the country.
Former Spanish teacher based in Virginia. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish Language and Literature from la Universidad del Zulia and a Master's degree in Spanish Linguistics from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Her interests include SEL education in the world language classroom, theater, and how to make the world a less scary place.Explore more related to this author
Valentine's Day is a fun holiday and an excellent opportunity to boost your students' language skills and deepen their understanding of Spanish-speaking cultures’ practices during this lovey-dovey time of year.
Natalia Álvarez-Morillo, Spanish teacher