Prompt a LOVE of Writing with Valentine Word Play!

Help kids warm up to writing with a poster that expresses love for Word Play.

Hi and welcome back to Attentionology for K – 5 Teachers!

It’s the season of love (as if love is ever out of season!) for all who celebrate Valentine’s Day.

Prompt a LOVE of writing with Valentine Word Play.

Three key words and phrases at play here….

Let me elaborate…

First word: prompt. Kids who struggle with writing benefit from writing prompts, such as short poems or rhyming poem starters and story starters.

Second word: LOVE. Connect a Valentine’s Day “love” theme with writing to focus kids’ attention on this important skill.

Third word phrase: word play. Ease children’s “fear” of making mistakes at writing time by associating the selection and organization of words (writing) with the concept of play.

Who doesn’t love to play?!

When children enter writing time in a more relaxed manner, they usually produce better work.

Try these fun Word Play activities…

Write Little Poems About a Pet or Pal – Announce at writing time that you have chosen to help the class write little poems with a Valentine’s

Invite kids to write little poems, perhaps in little books of blank pages, about a pet or pal for Valentine Word Play.

Day theme.

The theme is one that children love – friendship: You’re My Best Friend!

Explain that students can choose to write about a pet who they feel is a best friend or about a person who is a pal or best friend.

Engage reluctant writers by stressing that you are looking for little poems about a pet or pal.

Reinforce this message by distributing pre-cut small sheets of paper or little booklets of blank pages for students to use.

As writing time gets underway, consider encouraging students to use multiple small pages to “tell more” about the pet or person they are writing about. Little starts can become big finishes, even for “reluctant writers.”

Here’s an example of a little rhyming poem about a pet…


My pet, Sugar, is a perfect pup;

Her favorite time is when it’s sup. (short for supper)

Sugar’s more than a pet to me;

She’s my best friend in our family.

After students have completed their little poems for Valentine Word Play, invite them to add pics or a drawing of the pet or person.

Post finished work around your I ♥ You Word Play poster.

Drop slips of paper with printed Story Starters in a decorative bag for Valentine Word Play.

For more Valentine Word Play…

Write About Something You Love to Do! – Create Story Starters to jump-start kids on writing about something they love to do.

Print one full sentence and the beginning of a second sentence on slips of paper.

Drop the paper slips into a decorative bag with a Valentine’s Day theme.

Invite children to take turns pulling a slip from the bag and using the writing on it to start a story.

One Story Starter might read I love to play soccer! When I score a goal ____________________________.

Another might read I love to spend time with my grandmother. She and I ___________________________.

Share Valentine Word Play – If you and your class exchange valentines on February 14, encourage students to share their Valentine Word Play poems with the pet (share with family at home) or pal they have written about.

Here’s how…

  • Make copies of the poems for the class.
  • Distribute inexpensive envelopes for sending or giving.
  • Instruct kids to fold their poem pages (if necessary) to fit into the envelopes to take home.
  • Advise parents or guardians of this activity and ask them to help mail the envelopes as appropriate.

Valentine Word Play is a way to show children that writing is a form of sharing, whether it is sent, given, or found by the reader.

Show kids, too, that many forms of writing (especially poetry) are meant to be heard as well as read.

Host a Valentine Word Play Read Aloud! – This brings us to a great way to wrap up Valentine Word Play…

Save time to host a Valentine Word Play Read Aloud. Arrange for student volunteers to share their Valentine Word Play by presenting their writing to an audience.

Set up whatever suits you best.

Remember, you don’t need to be a magician to work magic in any instructional setting!

Talk with you again soon,

Barbara ♥ The Lovable Poet

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Posted in Attentionology for K-5 Teachers
Barbara Cleary has been serving as a resource to hundreds of educators for more than 25 years. An award-winning writer, producer, teacher, and trainer, Barbara’s focus is on offering easy, fun tools and tricks that support K-5 curricula and assist teachers with classroom management.
Quick tips for common classroom conundrums: K-5
Situation: Young students are getting noisy while you’re trying to teach.

Solution: Hold up "Listen Star," a toy magic wand that you’ve designated to be a cue for quiet. Tell the class, "When you see our friend, 'Listen Star' dance across the classroom sky, that’s your signal to HUSH for a moment."

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