Understanding characterization and the various ways characters change throughout a story is a huge focus on the Common Core. This activity has become a favorite among my middle school students and is a fantastic way to help them recognize the different perspectives that each character has.
For this assignment, students create a Valentine card. They are required to choose a character from the text (story, novel, textbook, etc.), and then make a Valentine card from that character to another character in the book. This could be done w/ any character you would like them to use, or you could allow them to choose their own character. The card must demonstrate their understanding of the character by discussing a specific event that occurred between the two characters. Then the character who received the Valentine card must respond by creating a Valentine card for him/her. The reply must include a response to the event that was addressed in the card they received and further discuss the situation by adding additional details in order to elaborate. One student could create both Valentine cards, or they could work w/ a partner who could create a card that responds to the one they received.
Since it’s a Valentine card, each card should also include a statement of why they care about that particular character. If they are enemies in the story, the card should be an attempt to make amends with the individual.
In attempting to implement informational text as much as possible, what better way to do this than with the History of Valentine's Day & Ancient Courtships. We read 2 informational texts: one on the History of Valentine's Day and another on Ancient Courtships. My students get a huge kick out of how people "dated" hundreds of years ago. It gives them an idea of how much things have changed over the years. They also enjoy the writing extension activities- writing a poem to serenade someone they care about and creating character "business" cards similar to what they did during Ancient Times.
We would love to hear what activities you do w/ your students around Valentine's Day. Share this in the comments below!