Valentine’s Day Short Stories for High School with Valentine’s Day Lesson Plans

Valentine’s Day evokes various reactions among high school students. Most of these reactions have one thing in common: overreaction. Use the holiday to your advantage by teaching short stories that involve realistic (and not so realistic) relationships.


I’m not going to pretend you’re not here for a free lesson plan. Here’s a lesson plan for the first short story on my Valentine’s Day Short Stories for High School list: The Magical Elixir “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment.”

If you need more lesson plans for each of the short stories in the list, click on them.


Dr Heidegger's Experiment Lesson Plan

The “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment” Teaching Guide contains lesson plans, graphic organizer handouts with answer keys, essay rubrics, a summary and analysis of the story, a quiz, and more. Lessons focus on theme, literary analysis, narrative writing, setting and atmosphere, symbolism, characterization, theme, and more.

 “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment” by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Approach this Hawthorne classic as a cautionary tale about not repeating mistakes. Examine the ruination of the Widow Wycherly, whose behavior sullied her reputation and fortune, a reputation that did not prevent the foolish men in the room from trying to slit each other’s throats.

“The Necklace” by Guy de Maupassant. Here’s a cautionary tale about marrying the wrong person. Madame Loisel worries more about social status and material goods than anything else. And she marries a clerk in the Ministry of Education. Monsieur Loisel needs to step up his game (I’m not letting Loisel off the hook like many literary scholars). Because of materialism, vanity, carelessness, and dishonesty, they ruin their lives. Happy Valentine’s Day, class!

“Contents of the Dead Man’s Pocket” by Jack Finney. Tom Benecke has a great wife. So why does he stay home and work on a Friday night while his wife enjoys a double feature by herself? That’s the exact question Benecke asks as he dangles from his high rise apartment window about to plummet to his death.

“Rappaccini’s Daughter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne. I wouldn’t specifically mention the phrase “venereal disease” while teaching this, but there’s a warning here. And Rappaccini? Even the most protective fathers of a teenage girl thinks Rappaccini’s taken things a little too far.

Emily Dickinson Lesson Plans

The Emily Dickinson poetry lesson plans teaching unit contains 28 poems with expert analysis, lesson plans, graphic organizers with answer keys, writing lesson plans, essay rubrics, a quiz, an answer key, and more.

 “The Fall of the House of Usher” by Edgar Allan Poe. There’s some strange amorous relationships in this one. Even the most exuberant of teenage boys will find the relationship between Madeline and Roderick creepy.

The Gift of the Magi” by O’Henry. You probably taught this before Christmas. You could make an argument, however that “The Gift of the Magi” is just as well suited for Valentine’s Day.

“The Lady or the Tiger” by Frank Stockton. Love is complicated. This is more than just a trite expression sighed by grieving teenagers after their “love” does something confusing. Few stories capture this sentiment better than this ironic classic with no ending.

“The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. If you really want to scare students about the consequences of starting a family, try “The Yellow Wallpaper.” It’s more frightening than anything even Poe, Stephen King, or Robert Cormier could ever conjure.

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