Heartfulness on Valentine’s Day

 In Emotional Intelligence in ESL classrooms


On Valentine’s Day we are all invited to show Love of any kind really, don’t you agree? After all, love is in the air! When I have done this activity in class I have always had a box ready with red and white heart shaped cut-outs on a nice tray. 

I have asked my students to think of something they would like to tell their beloved today when they get back home, or something they would like to hear from their friends or relatives. For instance, «may you be healthy» or «may you actually be happy«.  It only takes a few minutes for the tray to get handed around the students’ desks collecting messages that are actually addressed to someone in their mind.



The lesson continues as usual with language activities until a few minutes before we go I remind the students there are heart shaped messages waiting to get picked up.  At random, they get theirs and read them out loud if they are happy to share.

Try this and see the expressions on their face as they leave the room.


I like to use this activity on Valentine’s Day. It doesn’t take too long and students learn some grammar rules as well as vocabulary and expressions in a very spontaneous way 🙂

First thing in the morning, ask your students to “write on coloured pieces of paper things they are grateful for or thankful for. These can involve their own classmates showing acts of kindness, for instance, “I am grateful to Julius for always being polite” or “I am thankful to Milie for explaining the meaning of ‘flabbergasted’ to me” or “I am grateful to my teacher for her patience and understanding”.

Allow a few minutes for them to think of precious examples they would like to share, and to put their coloured papers into a glass jar (preferably transparent).


Leave the jar somewhere visible for the rest of the session

A few minutes before finish-time ask for a volunteer to open the jar up and slowly and carefully read out loud everyone’s (anonymous if preferable) examples of things they are grateful for. The feeling of gratitude and heartfulness will surround you all if you do this activity in a conscious way. Invite them to try the “Gratitude jar” activity with their families… I have a Gratitude jar at home which I  enjoy bringing out onto the breakfast table every now and then. I like to get my family read old messages from previous Valentine’s. We love listening to these.


(adapted from Betsy Hanger)



La vida, sin prisa

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