Tuesday, 29 December 2015

New Year's Resolutions - Lesson Plan

This is a lesson plan I created a few years ago, I have used it in my online lessons many times and it is a good lesson for promoting discussion.  It would also be suitable for a classroom lesson.  I have updated it and I am reposting it for my students and for any teachers looking for a ready-made lesson this week.  

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all my blog readers a very happy New Year and all the best for 2016 :-) 

  • Level: Intermediate/Intermediate+
  • Method: Online class, face to face class, one to one or group.
  • Age group: Suitable for teenagers and adults.
  • Skills: Listening, understanding, discussion, expressing opinions.
  • Language:  Resolutions, opinions, describing, promises, conditionals.
  • Equipment: Whiteboard, the list of 13 questions below and YouTube (via screen share with sound, projector or individual mobile phones). 


1. What is a New Year's resolution?

A New Year's resolution is a decision that you make, to start doing something good or stop doing something bad on the first day of the year.

2. Can you think of some examples of common New Year's resolutions?

3. Here are some popular New Year's resolutions:

1. Save more money 
2. Get out of debt 
3. Get fit/lose weight
4. Change job/career 
5. Quit smoking 
6. Give up alcohol
7. Spend less time working
8. Spend more time with family/friends 
9. Give up chocolate 
10.  Move house 

4. Why do you think that people make resolutions?

5. Why do you think most people fail to keep their resolutions?

6. If we could focus on what will be the advantage of keeping a resolution, would it help? 

For example:

If I stop smoking, I will save money.
If I stop smoking, I will be healthier.
If I stop smoking, I will live longer.

7. What is this sentence structure called in English?

We call this the 'First Conditional - We use the first conditional to talk about a real possibility.
If + present simple, will + verb.

For example:

If I eat less, I will lose weight.
If I use Facebook less, I will have more time.
If I do sport 3 times a week, I will be healthier.

8. This is a good idea, but it is still only a possibility.  Which word in the sentence could we change to make this possibility more certain?  

Change the 'If' to 'When'.

When + present simple, will + verb.

For example:

When I give up smoking, I will be healthier. 
When I get a new job, I will be happier.

9. 'When' makes the likelihood of the resolution more certain, but it still does not guarantee that you will succeed in keeping the resolution.  Is the name 'resolution', the problem?  What about changing the name from 'New Year's resolution' to 'New Year's promise'.  Could that help?

Word Definition:
Resolution: A firm decision to do, or not to do something.
Promise: A declaration that you will definitely do something in the future.

10. How do we structure a 'promise' sentence in English?

I + promise + to infinitive

For example:

I promise to stop smoking.
I promise to do more sport.

I + promise (that) I + will/won't + verb.

For example:

I promise that I will do more sport.
I promise I won't spend so much time on Facebook this year.

11. Now watch this excellent video by 'Because I said I would' about making New Year's promises.  While you are watching, try to write down the promises that you hear and read in the video:

 12. Share with your teacher/class, which promises you were able to note down and give your opinion of these promises.

Here are some examples:

I promise to:
- rescue more animals.
- push myself out of my comfort zone.
- be who I want to be, not who society wants me to be.
- drop under 200 lbs.
- make 5 people smile every day.
- go vegetarian.

13. What about you? Are you going to make any New Year's promises this year?  


I appreciate any comments and feedback.  If you are a Google+ member please comment below.  If you're on Facebook please message me there and, of course, you can always send me a message via my website: Talk2meEnglish.