Do you believe in magic of New Year’s resolutions? I used to be hopeless with them, but then I just decided to rephrase the resolutions so that they seem more sensible (like: start going to the gym, instead of: get fit. Semiotics, what’s not to love?). Even if I don’t really believe any of my students makes an honest resolution to get better in English, well, discussing resolutions is one of the nicer ways to review some grammar constructions we definitely need to remind after – in case of my students – two weeks off.
Past tenses and constructions
All those questions focusing on holidays, New Year celebrations and everything that happened during the break are an excuse to revise past tenses: Did you spend the holidays with your friends? But you had planned to spend time with them… Oh, you used to do this before you got married.
You can revise all the conditionals using New Year’s holidays as a bait:
If my plans come true, I’ll be the richest person in the group. Or-
If the weather were better, I would be skiing now… Or-
Had I known how difficult it is to lose weight, I wouldn’t have eaten so much.
Future tenses and constructions
Naturally, the most obvious idea is to do a proper revision of forms of expressing the future – with the cynical explanation of using “will” for promises, rather than “going to” or Present Continuous (since my native language isn’t as flexible when it comes to expressing the future, I really appreciate diversity of English here).
It would be easy to ask the students to say something about their resolutions, but I’d rather turn it into a short game or a funny activity, for example:
- Ask students to make a few drawings about their resolutions, then ask them to work in pairs and guess partner’s ideas;
- Classic miming game: divide students in groups and ask them to show most common New Year resolutions, who guesses first, gets a point;
- Taboo: a student has to describe a popular resolution, but cannot use keywords (like: with the I’ll get fit phrase, they cannot use: gym, sports, exercises etc.);
- Ask your students to make a classic resolution list, but make them funny and/or unrealistic. They’ll have lots of fun!
I hope you’ll enjoy these ideas in your classroom. All the best in 2016 and may all your resolutions come true!