New Year, New Me?

As we take our first tentative steps into 2021 it is fair to say that while I can’t wait for a fresh new year to begin everything seems to be progressing with caution (apart from the diet, that is). Here is a lesson that looks at what we want to build on rather than acquire, and combines New Year promises with a brand new language learning record.

This lesson plan is intended for an upper-intermediate class with whom I want to review the Future Perfect. The idea is that once they have devised their promises, they will then predict whether their partner will have completed them by certain points in the year. I’m also going to use it with an advanced class to teach various structures for expressing futures (be bound to, the past continuous etc).

Lesson Overview

New Year, New Me? introduces phrasal verbs related to New Year’s resolutions, gets students to talk about their own ideas, listen to an authentic motivational speech on why we should forget New Year Resolutions and kick-start a language record to foster learner autonomy and motivate students to progress with their language learning.

The lesson starts with a dictation exercise to introduce the phrasal verbs in context. Seeing as lots of my students are daunted by listening activities, I want to break down the fear they have of real listening by trying to get them accustomed to hearing fast speech and not the slowed down, graded language that is normally presented in textbook listening activities. I read the sentences first at a fast pace to see how much students are able to understand and then repeat it twice slowing it down slightly at each reading to help students with their listening. The statements are then projected so students can check what the’ve written, and any errors or misunderstandings (from connected speech, spelling etc) can be explored. In pairs, students then have an opportunity to try and infer the meaning of the phrasal verbs from context. We’ll feedback briefly as a class and then Ss will have a few minutes to write, and then answer questions using the phrasal verbs so they have a personalised record and an opportunity to use them in a meaningful way.

This will lead in to a more general discussion about New Years Resolutions where students have the opportunity to discuss their views before we watch a video about them. As the video is an authentic video, first there is a vocabulary matching exercise to pre-teach some key words. Having looked at the vocabulary I’ll ask my students to try to guess what the video might be about. We’ll watch it to check and then in pairs the students will discuss some of the themes and ideas from the video.

Students will then have an opportunity to talk about areas of their lives that are normally the hot topics of resolutions and discuss what they would like to achieve this year. The video is really motivating and stops students from thinking of resolutions as fads to be forgotten and instead focus on areas where they would really like to develop. In a time of negativity, the positivity really resonates with me and I think it comes across well. At this point I am going to stop and review future tenses with my class and have them predict in pairs which of their partners resolutions will be completed by different points in the year.

Finally, I want to shift the focus to language learning and get my students to come up with their own promises for their language learning. I strongly believe in learner autonomy and the Jamboard language record has been designed as an easy way for students to ‘own’ their language and keep it in one (easily-editable) place.

A link to the Google Slides Presentation containing all the materials can be found here. To download the lesson plan, click on the download button below.

If you have New Year lessons coming out of your eyeballs and you just fancy the language record, you can find that here.

I hope some of you find it useful, and as always I welcome all feedback in the comments below.

Happy New Year!

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