Writing Lesson Plan: Box o’ Love

Valentine's Day - Box O' Love
Valentine's Day - Box O' Love Poem

For a different spin on Valentine’s Day poetry, try this unique idea – have students make a Box o’ Love for a loved family member.  Using a covered cereal box, students decorate the box with poetry and pictures, while learning about poetic licence, and increasing their vocabulary.

Valentine's Day - Box O' Love Top
Valentine's Day - Box O' Love Top


  1. writing narrative and poetry with rhyming verse
  2. making Valentine’s Day gift for mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, step-parents, aunts, uncles…
  3. learning about rhyming words and poetic licence (words that don’t rhyme exactly but sound close):  love her/mother
  4. learning about parts of a book (dedication, author’s biography, publisher, publishing date)
  5. increasing vocabulary:  “covet”, (want badly) “endeavor” (try something) , “extol” (praise enthusiastically), “virtues” (moral goodness), “rural” (country), “urban” (city), “kelp” (seaweed), “yelp” (dog sound), “confined” (kept in an area), “inclined” (believe), “tart” (sour),  and learning about slang words – “disses” (put down)
Valentine's Day - Box O' Love Side
Valentine's Day - Box O' Love Side


  1. cereal box for each student, covered in brown paper or newspaper at home, then brought to school for the lesson
  2. chartboard with author’s biography outline written, for students to copy and fill in (see below for Author’s Biography)
  3. markers
  4. blank white 8 1/2″ X 11″ sheets of paper (for illustrating poem)
  5. 2 strips of lined paper (per student) to fit down side panel of cereal box for author’s biography on one side and dedication on other side panel
  6. lined paper 8 1/2″ X 11″, with decorated hearts-and-cupid frame border for good printed copy of poem, to be glued on back of Box o’ Love
  7. glue sticks, to attach front, back and 2 side panels on Box o’ Love (white glue is too damp and crinkles the pages)
  8. markers, pencil crayons or crayons, and stamps to illustrate poem and decorate border of poem, if desired
  9. Familiar book (show them dedication, author’s biography, publisher’s name and address…)
  10. writing journals
  11. drawing journals
  12. pencils


  1. Before lesson, have parents help their child cover all 6 sides of an empty cereal box with brown wrapping paper.  (Brown paper bags are fine, or newspaper.)
  2. Lesson can be started before all boxes are at school because writing and drawings will be done on white paper, glued to their cereal ‘Box o’ Love’ after they are printed and checked by teacher.
  3. Show students a familiar book and introduce terms like “dedication, author’s biography, publisher”.
  4. Tell students that they are making a Box o’ Love for somebody in their family whom they love very much.
  5. The front of the cereal box will have an 8 1/2″ X 11″ white sheet of paper illustrated with the title of their poem to mom (or aunt or other adult of student’s choice) .  The recipient is an adult family member that the student wants to give their Box o’ Love to.  **The draft layout of the picture will be done in their Drawing Journal.  (This is a blank book that is used for learning to draw; we do short, simple  How-to-draw lessons on Friday. This is the book they use to practise in.)
  6. The back of the Box o’ Love is where the love poem will be placed.  The rough draft will be written in their journal, and the corrected good copy will be neatly printed on a lined piece of paper, on which the border has been decorated with hearts and cupids, or upon which the student will draw, stamp or decorate appropriately.
  7. One of the side panels of the cereal box will be written up as an Author’s Biography.  A simple student portrait may be drawn above the narrative if student’s wish.   The narrative will be drafted and corrected in their journal, then neatly printed on a lined sheet of paper to fit the side panel of the cereal box.   The basic outline may be copied from the chartboard.  (Students fill in the blanks with their information.)  See below for Author’s Biography which students will copy and fill in.
  8. The other side panel of the cereal box will be the dedication, and the publishing date (February 14, 2011), and the publisher’s address (student’s address).  It might read:  “My Mom Rocks” is dedicated to my wonderful mom, Janet.  It was published on February 14, 2011.  The publisher’s address is 3924 Main Street, Springfield, USA, 83324.
  9. Brainstorm a list of rhyming words student’s could use for their poetry.  See examples below under Valentine Rhymes.

Author’s Biography (Print the following on the chartboard; students fill in their info and amend the highlighted areas.)

TOM SMITH is the bestselling author of “My Mom Rocks”, his/her latest poetic endeavor, written to extol the many virtues of his/her wonderful mother/father/aunt/uncle/grandma/grandpa/step-mom/step-dad.  Tom was born in Springfield, USA and is a full-time student at XYZ School of Excellence. In his/her spare time, he/she loves to play soccer and video games. He/She has a mom and step-dad, and three younger brothers, Justin, Sidney, and Alex. When he/she graduates, Tom is planning on working full-time as a professional hockey player.

Valentine Rhymes

1.  sweetheart/heart – plays a big part, has a big heart, is very smart, sweet not tart (sour), buy at food mart, written on a chart, from the start

2.  sweet – is a treat, can’t be beat, keeps me neat, helps me eat

3.  kind – helps me to find, she doesn’t mind, when I’m in a bind, I’m not blind, when we dine, I had in mind, car’s all shined, when I signed, my teeth don’t grind, I don’t get behind, she will remind, till I unwind, I’m not confined, I’m not inclined,

4.  kisses – misses, disses (slang), hisses, (poetic licence: quizzes, wishes)

5.  love –  above,  dove, glove

6.  love it/covet (desire it badly)

7.  love her/cover, ‘nother, mother (poetic licence)

8.  loving – doesn’t like me shoving

9.  help – kelp (seaweed), yelp (dog sound)

10.  world – curled, twirled, hurled,    (poetic licence: worl’/pearl, rural (country, urban-city))

11.  cupid – doesn’t think I’m stupid

12.  adore – she does more, dad might snore, clothes I wore, I do my chore, junk on floor, don’t want a war, go to the store, what I did before, can we just ignore, we go and explore

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