Still need some help with your February teaching calendar? Check out these ELA February teaching ideas for some inspiration!
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ELA February Teaching Ideas #1: Celebrate Black History Month
You should weave diverse texts throughout your curriculum all year long, but you can use February as an excuse to spotlight more Black authors.
Read Black Poetry
Poems are a great way to highlight African American writing if you’re pressed for time. Turn reading a poem into a whole-class lesson by using them as mentor texts for original poetry or as a study in literary terms.
These poems broaden students’ awareness of Black poets beyond Langston Hughes or Maya Angelou while still dealing with important racial themes. If you use the resources linked to above, you can present each poem, analyze them as a class, and then ask students to write their own poems.
Teach A Novel By an African American Author
If you aren’t already in the middle of a novel study, why not jump into a novel by a Black author?
You can dig deep into racial justice or current events if you really want an engaging unit for your students. I have a list of books here that are inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement you can use in your classroom.
But you can certainly pull texts that are more canonical too like I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Their Eyes Were Watching God, or “A Raisin in the Sun.” Pick a text that works for you, your students, your curriculum, and your school.
Encourage Students to Pick Up Black Texts On Their Own
If you don’t have time in your curriculum to add more texts or aren’t allowed to switch up your curriculum, you can still expose your students to Black authors.
Throughout the month of February, highlight an author or one of their books and encourage students to try it for independent reading.
You can even make a bulletin board or a display in your classroom of spotlight texts for the month. If you’re lucky enough to have a librarian at your school, enlist his or her help with suggestions and titles.
ELA February Teaching Ideas #2: Celebrate Valentine’s Day
Valentine’s Day is probably going to disrupt your class anyway–it’s hard to stay focused with giant teddy bears roaming the halls and candy everywhere. So make the most of it with some Valentine’s Day fun!
Want some more detailed ideas? Check out this post with three teaching ideas for Valentine’s Day!
Engage in Some Poetry
You can’t go all of February without having your students read a love poem, right?
Introduce them to the classics like “Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day?” or “A Red, Red Rose.” I like “To My Dear and Loving Husband” by Anne Bradstreet for its simplicity and wholesomeness.
Dare students to find the most cliche or nauseating love poem they can. Have them annotate their favorite love song.
And, of course, have them write some poetry of their own. If you don’t want to encourage students to write love poems (that could get angsty quickly!), then have them write an ode about something they love.
Highlight Some Romance Stories
There is no shortage of romance in the YA genre. Book talk some teen romances this month.
Anything by Sara Dessen will do although Dreamland is my favorite.
ELA February Teaching Ideas #3: Celebrate Library Lovers Month
February is also Library Lovers Month. We English teachers should have no problem celebrating this one!
If it’s been a while since you’ve taken your students to the library, find some time to let students explore. You can ask your librarian to set up a book tasting or book speed dating. Encourage students to find something to read for fun!
It might also be a great time of the year to remind students of the other services your library offers. If your library offers computer checkout, printing, STEM equipment, or a relaxing place to color and chill out, give them a tour and show off your library’s cool features.
After all, while we love the library already, we want the next generation to know how cool they are too.
If you don’t have a school library but have a classroom one, celebrate it! Make a special day of having students read. Project a fireplace and dish out some hot chocolate while students cozy up with a book of their choice.
Writing & Grammar for February
There’s no rest when it comes to maintaining grammar skills! February is a great time to review everything students learned in the first semester and to build upon those skills.
I keep Winter Grammar Review Worksheets on hand for doing just that.
If you want students to put their grammar skills to the test, you can also give them a short writing assignment. For example, have students write a letter.
If you have a few days to fill in February, lean into the season. There is more to celebrate during this cold, harsh month than there seems!
And if all else fails, you and your students can always cozy up with a good book!