Whoops! You’ve completely forgotten that Valentine’s Day is tomorrow and haven’t planned anything with a romantic theme for your classes.
Don’t panic – Here are 3 last-minute love lessons / activities for you to try with very little preparation needed.
TIP: Talking about relationships can be uncomfortable for students who don’t want to discuss their personal lives. In order not to invade their privacy, encourage them to create imaginary characters.
- Briefly introduce the concept of ‘speed dating’. It may be unfamiliar to some cultures.
- Divide the students into men and women. If you have an unequal number, just ask some of the students to play a member of the opposite sex.
- Arrange the seats in two lines facing each other, one line for the women and the other for the men.
- Give each student a photo of a single man or a single woman (you could ask them to draw a face) and create a profile for their portrait (age, name, job, interests, favourite movies or music etc.).
- Tell them they are single people looking for a partner and their aim is to find somebody who wants to go on a date with them.
- Let them show the portrait/ picture to their partner.
- Do a trial run by asking the students to chat to the person sitting opposite them for 2/3 minutes and try to charm them.
- Then, ask the men to stand up and move one seat to the right. Give them they 2/3 minutes to chat to their new partner.
- Continue the activity until all the men and all the women have had a 2/3 minute chat.
- To finish, ask the students to write down their first and second choice for a date.
- Collect the slips of paper and see if any if any of the choices corresponded, if a man choose a woman as her number 1 and she also choose him as her favourite.
Great for: 2nd conditionals “If you were to go out with me, you’d have the night of your life.”
2. Round-robin romantic story
- Create a simple handout on an A4 sheet of paper. Draw a picture of a man and woman at the top. Write the following questions on the page. Leave enough space after each question so that students can write their answers. Tip: fold the sheet 3 times and you’ll have enough space for 8 questions.
Who was the man?
Who was the woman?
Where were they were they met?
What was he doing when they met? What was she doing?
What did they say to each other?
What did they think of each other?
What did they do after they met?
What happened in the end?
- Hand a sheet to each student and ask them to write their name at the top of the sheet and an answer to the first question.
- Wait for all students to finish, ask them to fold the sheet below their answer. Tell them to pass the sheet to the person to their left. The next person can see the second question but not the first answer.
- Ask your students to answer the second question, fold, pass the sheet to the next person.
- Continue until all of the questions have been answered.Collect all the sheets and then hand them back to the person whose name is at the top.
- Finally, let the students read the stories. Some of them will be nonsense but a few are bound to make sense.
- Ask them to correct any errors.
Great for: Practising narrative tenses.
3. Dating Coach role-plays
- Give each student a portrait photo. Tell them that the person in the photo is single and ask them to create a profile for the person in the photo.
- Then, ask them to write down 3 reasons why this person is single (they have poor dress sense, terrible personal hygiene, embarrassing habits etc.)
- Put the students in small groups of 3 (make sure the groups are mixed in terms of gender) and ask them to discuss a series of dating-related questions such as
What should people do to find a partner?
Where should they go on a first date?
What should men/women wear on a first date?
What topics should / shouldn’t they talk about on a first date?
What behavioural habits turn people off on a first date?
Who should pay the bill?
- Get some whole class feedback and then move onto the role play.
- Assign a role to each member of the group of 3: Man on a first date, woman on a first date, and dating coach.
- Rearrange the chairs/desks to make the classroom resemble a restaurant/bar/cafe and play some romantic music to get the students in the mood.
- Ask the men and the women to act out the blind date (remind them that they should behave according to the profile they created) and tell the dating coach to observe the date and make notes about how each participant performed.
- Give a time limit (I find between 5 and 10 minutes is fine for Intermediate level learners) Stress that they are to assess their dating performance not their English speaking ability: Were they polite? Did they listen attentively to their partner? Were the conversation topics appropriate?
- When the ‘date’ ends, ask the dating coaches to provide feedback on the participants’ performance.
- Change roles / groups and repeat the role play.
- The teacher can monitor and note down errors and examples of good language which could benefit the whole class.
Great for: Modal verbs to give advice in the past and present.
Love is in the air…do dee do dee do dee dee…
Have a great Valentine’s Day.