I started teaching again this week (on top of working on the Celta course) and at this time of year I like working with New Year’s resolution. That’s a way of using the chit chat we usually have in the first day and turning it into a proper lesson.
This is a lesson aimed at adult students, but it could easily be adapted for adolescent ones, particularly because of the video at the end.
It’s a good idea to start by setting the context and showing a picture of fireworks.
Elicit new year’s eve and get students to tell each other who they spent it with and where they were. After that, you want to elicit the idea of resolutions. Tell students you are going to show them another image and that you want them to tell you what they are in the context of the discussion they have just had.
If students don’t come up with new year’s resolutions, tell them about it and in pairs ask students to tell each other if they have made any resolutions for this year. If students haven’t made any, ask them to jot down two or three in a piece of paper (they could even copy some of the ones from the picture).
After getting feedback from the whole group, tell them they are going to read a text about this topic. A good gist task would be covering the title and ask students to read the text quickly in order to say whether it has a positive or negative view of resolutions. You could also give students three titles for them to decide which is the best one.
You can find the original article here and my adapted version below.
Once students have had the chance to read the text quickly, show them the questions for specific information.
- Why do people usually quit their new year’s resolutions?
- What does the author like about Mark Zuckerberg’s new year’s resolution?
- What is the author’s new year’s resolution?
- What should people do in order to achieve their resolutions?
Set a time limit and get students to compare answers before getting feedback from the whole group.
A possible follow-up activity would be to get students to go back to the resolutions they talked about earlier in the lesson. In pairs or small groups, students discuss if they think they would be able to achieve them or whether the resolutions need to be broken down in smaller goals.
Alternatively, you could use a video activity as a follow-up. Tell students they are going to watch a video where a man and a woman sing about their new year’s resolutions. They need to pay attention to the following.
- What are their new year’s resolutions?
- Are going to achieve them? Why or why not?
After checking the answers, ask students if there is anybody in their families who always have the same resolutions but who quit them right away.
Another possibility is working with the language from the text. I chose the following items (which appear in the text in bold).
there is no harm in +ing
to tailor something (to someone)
to hold back (from)
to fall prey to
to hit your stride
to tackle (a problem)
Clarify the meaning of these words and expressions and then give students some speaking practice by showing them the following questions.
- Are all of your new year’s resolutions feasible?
- Some people say there is no harm in having a fake student ID. Do you agree?
- Do you think your English lessons are tailored to your interests?
- Do you think not speaking English well can hold people back from a successful career?
- Do you ever fall prey to promotions and discounts?
- Who do you ask for help if you need to tackle a difficult problem at work?
- If you changed jobs this year, how long would it take for you to hit your stride?
Finally, ask students to choose one of the expressions and create their own conversation question. They can stand up, mingle and take notes of the best answers.
Thanks for reading.