A Valentine’s Activity Talking About Gestures

Just a quick post in honor of Valentine’s Day (or “Dia dos Namorados”) in Brazil, which takes place on June 12th.

I have always been fascinated by the video clip for Paul McCartney’s “My Valentine” song, featuring Natalie Portman and Johnny Depp. Her gracious movements, how movements related to words…. So I decided to use that clip as the essence of a Valentine’s Day activity. One that should raise students’ awareness to the importance of gestures and body language, as well as sign language and those who can’t hear.

This is how I did it…

First, I played some love song (in my case “Can’t Help Falling in Love With You” performed by UB40) in the sound system as the students came in and offered them whiteboard markers to write any words that came to mind when they thought of Valentine’s Day.

Then, after they had settled down, we talked about what they had written and the meaning of Valentine’s Day in different countries, the different dates. Then I approached whether the students demonstrated love more through words or gestures. And I asked the id they thought they could decode body gestures.They were all very confident, so I proposed a challenge: WATCH the video of a song that would be sign “languaged” and try to fill in the blanks of the lyrics. They would need to take in the context of the song as well as the gesture to try to figure out the words. So I played the clip once for them (you may play it twice if your students are at a lower level (mine are at a B1/B2 level) to try to get the words.

Most of the words are obvious valentine-related, but still… After a first run, I asked them to share among each other and discuss their word choices. I played it once more without the sound, for students to get a better idea of the gestures. Then I played once more, this time with the sound on so the students could check their previous answers. After we had all checked the answers I focused on the last question:

“Were you able to infer the words from the signs? Why/ Why not?

After (or maybe during) that, we went on to a discussion of body gestures, sign language and the effectiveness of it, how much sign language resembled feelings and so on. We talked about whether it was beneficial or not to have a person who can’t speak to learn sign language, what were the alternatives…

It was a very interesting discussion. The students enjoyed the activity. I am now looking forward to hearing how it went (or that you’d think it’d go) in your groups and why :-)

Valentines Activity – Paul McCartney ACTIVITY

Valentines Activity – Paul McCartney KEY

Love is in… the ELT classroom!

Will you be my valentine?

 

I have to admit Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite holidays… Call me a romantic if you want, but the fact is, despite Valentine’s Day not even existing in the Brazilian calendar, I love to celebrate it. See, the thing that makes it so appealing to me is that it is a day to celebrate love. Simple as that. Not necessarily romantic love… just love. Love for a parent, for a friend, for a child… And despite the (overly IMHO) commercial side of it I think it’s great to have a day to tell the people we love how we feel. I know we can do that every day, but having a day with that sole purpose reminds us to celebrate and acknowledge that love.

 

So I decided to share a couple of activities I’ve created and used in some of my groups around Valentine’s. I hope you enjoy them!

A warmer that’s silly and simple, but that I have used is just eliciting the word Valentine’s Day from the students, then writing it on the board and giving them 3 to 5 minutes to come up with as many words using the letters from the board as possible. They can only use a letter more than once if the letter appears more than once on the board, and words have to contain 3 letters or more. A nice competition will surely warm their hearts up!

Here are some activities (note: they were prepared for an advanced conversation group I have, and the students are quite fluent. So, depending on the level you teach, they may need some adjustments):

 

Valentines Activity 1 CNN Article

Valentines Activity 2 Reuters Article

Valentines Idioms with Heart