The ever-present question in my mind as a language teacher is “How are the students going to LEARN the needed vocabulary??” The answer I hear is “Let them acquire it naturally.” And what does that mean?! Honestly I’m still learning how to do this, but I’ve found a way that works for now. My favorite is using authentic texts and having them figure out words, before they use them.

For Valentine’s Day, I’m going to print out several cards from CorreoMagico (an online e-card site) and the Cards app. I also like the Love coupons on correomagico, but I remove the “too romantic” ones. Then I will personalize with the Hispanic names of students in my classes. I will put them up around the room and number them. I hang them because it gives the students a chance to walk around and I don’t hear “Where’s #4?” a thousand times.

Then they will walk around to write the number of the cards next to their responses to some questions in the TL: Who would you give this card to? Is it friendly or romantic? Is is funny or serious? What words/phrases support your answers? I picked these to support the ELA standards for identifying purpose and supporting with textual evidence.

Finally they make their own cards on paper, iPads, or computers. When I did this at Christmas, the majority wanted to make it by hand. Check out “Valentine Cards” on for some really cute, and teenage appropriate cards.

Think about the audience: they can make them for the staff, they can donate to a local charity or community center, or make for their friends and family.

Remember: INPUT before OUTPUT! Model the language.

Check out our Chispas page where we are collecting our favorite cards in Spanish. Send us your favorites to add too!