Love Notes, Part I: PreK-5 Valentine’s Day Annotation Activities

February 8, 2017

What’s not to love about Valentine's Day annotation activities? When students read and take notes with a purpose, they have a dialogue with a text, track their thinking as they read, and engage  more meaningfully with their reading. The activities below have students focus on just one type of note, such as defining vocabulary words or finding evidence for an idea. By focusing on one note, students can build on that one reading comprehension strategy or skill in a way that helps them engage more meaningfully with their social studies reading.

We’ve put together 3 Valentine’s Day annotation activities to help students in grades PreK-5 build literacy skills in social studies.

We’ve used Britannica LaunchPacks: Social Studies in these annotation activities. If you don’t already have access, you can get free access now to 1,600 curriculum-relevant subject Packs that include organized supplemental resources, such as informational text with annotation capabilities, media, timelines, maps, and primary sources. Give it a try, or use these strategies with your own classroom resources!

Activity 1: Love at First Sight

Grades PreK-2

Use the article within the LaunchPack Valentine’s Day (Grades PreK-2). Read the text aloud to the class and ask students to look for unknown vocabulary words, including the words listed below.

Activity: Demonstrate how to highlight a vocabulary word in the article using the color-coded “vocabulary” annotation category. Model how to type a definition for the vocabulary word into the box linked to the highlight. Encourage volunteers to use their own words to define the vocabulary word as you type the definition they share into the box. Have students work on highlighting and defining the next two words on their own, or as a class.

Vocabulary Words: celebrate, legend, saint

Activity 2: One Fine Day

Grades PreK-2 or Grades 3-5

Use the Valentine's Day article within the LaunchPack Valentine’s Day (Grades PreK-2) or Valentine’s Day (Grades 3-5). Have students answer teacher-led questions as they read through the text.

Click on "Customize" in your LaunchPacks toolbar. Find the Valentine’s Day article within the Pack pinboard view and click “Add a note” before going into the article. In your note, type in the questions that you want your students to explore or use the questions below. This note will carry over into the article view and students can see the questions as they read the text.

Questions:

• Main question: Why is February 14 known as Valentine’s Day?

• Follow-up questions: What legend is connected to February 14? How many saints named Valentine are honored on February 14?

Activity: Model how to highlight text in the article using the color-coded “evidence” annotation category and type an explanation for why it supports an answer in the box linked to the highlight. Tell students to highlight evidence that they find that helps them answer the questions as they read the article independently or with you as a class.

If students have trouble getting started, encourage them to answer one of the follow-up questions first. The follow-up questions are meant to help with finding some of the evidence that is needed to answer the main question. Continue modeling the note-taking activity or work as a class, if needed.

Tell students that, in the box linked to each highlight, they should explain why the highlighted text helps them answer the questions. Have students share their answers to the main question and supporting evidence with the class.

Activity 3: Prove Your Love

Grades 3-5

Use the article within the LaunchPack Valentine’s Day (Grades 3-5) and have students use several texts to find evidence that supports answers to teacher-led questions.

Add your questions for the class into a note for the entire Pack, since students will be exploring multiple articles. To do this, click Customize and then Add a Pack note. This note will carry over into the article view and students can see the questions as they read the text.

Questions:

• Main question: Why do you think people celebrate Valentine’s Day today?

• Follow-up questions: How do people celebrate Valentine’s Day differently? What traditions have changed about the holiday? What Valentine’s Day traditions have not changed?

Activity: Model how to highlight text in the article using the color-coded “evidence” annotation category and type an explanation for why a specific piece of the text supports an answer to your question. Tell students to highlight text in each article within the pack that helps them answer the questions as they read the article independently.

If students have trouble getting started, encourage them to answer one of the follow-up questions first. The follow-up questions are meant to help with finding some of the evidence that is needed to answer the main question. Continue modeling the note-taking activity or work as a class, if needed.

Tell students that they should explain why the highlighted text helps them answer the question in the box linked to each highlight. Have students share their answers to the main question and supporting evidence with the class. Encourage them to explain how images in the Pack also support their answers.

Note: If you already have access to Britannica LaunchPacks and need a quick refresher on how to annotate, watch this 2 minute video.