Valentine's Day Poetry Analysis and Close Reading "This Year's Valentine"

Grade Levels
10th - 12th, Homeschool
Formats Included
  • PDF
17 total: 7 Student Pages, 6 Answer Key pages; 2 Teacher's Guide and Binder Cover
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Finally! - A Valentine's Poem that's not mushy! "This Year's Valentine" contains vivid description, ample images, and excellent alliteration. As they work with the poem, students practice their close reading and poetry analysis skills. Your teenage students will appreciate the lack of over-the-top romance that they sometimes find in other Valentine's Day or love poetry. You will appreciate that this poem balances romance with a purposeful, real-life experience, and you'll love teaching it, too, because students understand the poem, they are engaged the entire time, they willingly share their feelings about the poem and its contents.

More good news!

NO PREP! - except for downloading the poem and copying handouts for your students.

The poem has an interesting backstory: In 2003 as American forces prepared to invade Iraq, poets began a resistance movement using poetry as their weapon. The Poets Against The War website was inundated with contributions from around the world, and before long, 13,000 poems filled its pages. Philip Appleman supported the resistance movement and his poem "This Year's Valentine" neatly fit a major theme of the month of the buildup: Valentine’s Day. This poem, despite its surprising content, is a joy to teach since students find the descriptions and stark contrasts refreshing, and, as one of my teen students put it, “Not that typical overly mushy love stuff that makes me want to gag.” (Students are so brutally honest, aren't they?) Additionally, the poem allows you to show students that creative voices have the capability to produce unity among those who support a common cause and that those combined voices can, perhaps, effect change.

What's Included

• Teacher's Guide: Thorough, 2 pages; includes a link to the poem that you will need to download - Easy to do!

• Close reading and Poetry Analysis handouts for students - 4 pages

• Constructed Response

• Objective Summary

• Complete Answer Keys!

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Total Pages
17 total: 7 Student Pages, 6 Answer Key pages; 2 Teacher's Guide and Binder Cover
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
45 minutes
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the information or explanation presented (e.g., articulating implications or the significance of the topic).
Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing.
Use precise language, domain-specific vocabulary, and techniques such as metaphor, simile, and analogy to manage the complexity of the topic.
Use appropriate and varied transitions and syntax to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships among complex ideas and concepts.
Develop the topic thoroughly by selecting the most significant and relevant facts, extended definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples appropriate to the audience’s knowledge of the topic.


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