New Year’s Resolutions – a lesson plan

Posted: December 23, 2013 in Lesson plans
Tags: , , ,

Levels: Intermediate, Upper-Intermediate
Time: 50 to 90 minutes (depending on how much time you allocate to discussions)

Materials: Worksheet.docx / Worksheet.pdf

Comment: I really like the video used in this lesson, as it’s fun and a bit quirky, and also because it exposes students to a range of accents. Students of intermediate and upper intermediate level generally find it quite easy to do the gist task and identify the resolutions, but have to really push themselves to catch the details and thus appreciate the presenter’s reactions (the worksheet does help there), so there are generally quite a few laughs during the ‘listening for detail’ stage. The discussion at the end feels good and natural and has worked both with adults and with teens.


1. Project this photo or refer the students to the worksheet:
Ask ‘what do these pictures have in common‘? Th s/s brainstorm ideas in pairs; if they don’t come up with ‘New Year’s Resolutions’, you can play hangman to get the topic onto the board; check the meaning of ‘resolutions’.

2. Tell the class that these photos come from an article about the most common resolutions people make. Ask the s/s to formulate what resolutions these pictures represent and board the students’ suggestions (highlight any lexical gaps that become evident), then refer the students to task 2; the s/s work individually; conduct feedback (with a stronger group, fold the worksheet so that at first the s/s are challenged to supply the verbs themselves, then work with the wordle and then during the class feedback stage discuss all the lexical choices they’ve made).

3. Tell the class that they’re going to watch a video in which people who live in New York get asked about their New Year’s Resolutions for 2013. Refer them to task 3.

For the first watch, ask the s/s to write down the resolutions that they can catch (this is important, as they’ll need this list of resolutions later for the discussion stage). They discuss what they caught in pairs.

4.  Ask the s/s to listen again, write down the resolutions they missed during the first listen and decide whether the people in the video consider the resolutions to be realistic or unrealistic (stop the recording after every resolution and discuss); if the students can’t catch what the speakers are saying, ask them to listen out for one of the expressions at the top of the page.

5. Ask the s/s, in new pairs, to look through the lists of resolutions that they wrote during the previous stages and discuss

  • which of those things they’d like to happen next year
  • what they can do in order to achieve this

For class feedback, students could share the best tips.

6. The s/s fill the gaps in these discussion questions (Task 6)
After that, students nominate the questions that they’d like to discuss and discuss them in new pairs.

(Questions adapted from

For homework, s/s could read the article that the photos came from and look for lexical fields relating to each resolution !

A transcript for the video is available at the end of the worksheet.

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