Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Have a web-based Valentines Day!

Of course, we can't let a holiday like this pass by without the opportunity to sneak in some edtech - that's right - "educational" technology about Valentines Day.

I'd like to use this post to list a few great site links for all ages to play a little and learn a little on this relatively uncontroversial (for schools) holiday.

First up is, of course, the History Channel's offering on The History of Valentines Day. This special page has lots of information from the frivolous to the factual. Students can learn about how this holiday got started, look up famous love quotes from Aristotle to Anais Nin, learn some historical facts such as who are generally recognized as the greatest couples in history, some commercial facts, and even read some of President Truman's love letters to his wife, Bess. If you can get them to work at school (I didn't test them out under the GCI filter), there are some pretty interesting video clips on the St. Valentines Day Massacre, how to make Valentines candy, as well as some video histories. There are of course a few games too.

For intermediate students - have them test their knowledge of Valentines Day and also their vocabulary with this quiz. This is an ESL site, but the activity is appropriate for any students aged 10 and up depending on their reading level.

All kinds of puzzles, wordscrambles, and other Valentines Day worksheets on this site.

Younger students will like this site where they can make a virtual Valentines Day cake. They can email it to someone when they are done, or just save it to the site to show to whoever they want.

The National Zoo has put up some really cute images that kids can print off or send as Valentines Day ecards. It would be fun to do an activity where the students had an opportunity to learn a little more about these animals, and then include the Valentines ecard as an ending activity for the holiday.

High school students might enjoy this MSNBC article on the 5 Worst Valentines Day Gifts - some really great humorous writing pieces with a heavy dose of irony! There is also a little poll they can take.

Another good current events/economics article for high school students by MSNBC - Businesses loving Valentines Day ever more - commentary on the heavily commercialized holiday.

And finally, one for the younger students - they will really enjoy this fun site - My Punny Valentine - which is a sort of animated slide show of the old fashioned Valentines cards with puns - a great opportunity to teach a litte bit about the varied uses of our language! Let them use it at the computer center, or pop it up on the overhead during your Valentines Day party and let them try to figure them out and explain them to their friends.
I'm sure many of you have some great sites as well - I would encourage you to add them to the comments section of this blog post. If you keep checking back and see comments to this post (a number other than zero by the "comments" line at the bottom), hopefully that's where you will see suggestions and links put there by others.

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