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New Year's Resolutions -
Lesson plan
New Year

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Preliminary information

Time: 75 minutes??

Level: Low intermediate upwards

To give skim reading practice
To give freer speaking practice

That the stds will be interested in the content of the text.
That the language in the text will be difficult but the content should be interesting enough to overcome language problems.

Anticipated Problems and Solutions:
Some of the vocabulary may be challenging - emphasise that it is leading to a speaking activity & in this instance the detailed understanding is not necessary.

The excerpt for the dictation
The article text


Stage 1 - Intro to the theme
20 mins tch<>stds, std<>std, tch<>stds
1. Begin by discussing traditions that are carried out around New Year's Day - eliciting & picking up & extending interesting points.
2. Ask if anyone know the origins of New Year's Resolutions.
3. Dictation - see text below - read through once at normal speed with all listening, read each part slowly twice & stds write - to make it 'humane' repeat when asked by the stds, & at the end read through again for stds to check their texts.
4. Handout original text & stds mark own dictations.
5. Feedback - how they got on with the dictation & what they think of the content of the text ie. do they think that what a person does on the first day of the year might have an effect on all the other days of the year?

Text for the dictation in stage 1

The Babylonians celebrated New Years Day over four thousand years ago, although their celebration was in March rather than in January, coinciding with the spring planting of crops.

The New Year, no matter when people have celebrated it, has always been a time for looking back to the past, and more importantly, forward to the coming year. It's time to reflect on the changes we want, or often need, if we're to have the motivation move forward. Resolutions are a reflection of the Babylonians' belief that what a person does on the first day of the New Year will have an effect throughout the entire year. Think about that at the New Year's party!

Excerpt from: Who Invented New Year's Resolutions??

Stage 2 - Speaking
20 mins tch<>stds, std<>std, tch<>stds
1. Ask the stds to make a list of all the things that people could make New Year Resolutions about. eg. get fit, eat less etc...For more ideas see -
2. Task - pairs or small groups.
3. Feedback - collate on the board?
4. Stds then think of the ones that they might take up - discuss in small groups, including the reasons for taking them up.
5. Feedback

Stage 3 - Reading - see text below
10 mins tch<>stds, std<>std, tch<>stds
1. Elicit how one might go about making & keeping a resolution - see what the stds come up with - write the points in note form on the board.
2. Set up the reading - if you have some points elicited on the board, ask the stds to skim the text to see if these points are present & any others that they can glean in the allotted time - 30 seconds.
3. Task - stds read. 30 seconds.
4. Stds compare answers.
5. Feedback - discuss the content of the text - it probably won't be necessary to give another task.

Achieving Success

Determined that this year you'll keep those New Year's Resolutions? Here are a few goal setting tips to get you started!

New Years Resolutions Calendar - Don't Try Everything at Once! There's a temptation, with the New Year, to run off a list of everything we've ever wanted to change. Don't fall for it! You'll have better luck fulfilling one or two goals than you will with a list of fifty.You can always add new resolutions to your list later. Take one thing at a time.

Word it carefully. Let's say your resolution is to relax more in the coming year. Word this carefully. Try not to think of it as "This year I am going to relax." That's a stress-inducer waiting to happen. It forces you into thinking of the resolution as something you must do, not something you want to do. Try to make it sound a little gentler: "This year I'm going to explore different ways of relaxing." It also suggests more of a plan—you'll fulfil the resolution by experimenting with relaxation techniques. The first resolution sounds as if you're going to force yourself to relax by sheer willpower.

Planning Your New Years Resolutions - Make a Plan. Once you know what your resolution is, try to break it down. Nobody accomplishes anything of significance by trying to do it all at once.This doesn't have to be a complicated plan; just brainstorm enough to give you a place to start.

For relaxing, you might devise a plan like this:
1) Surf the Internet to find different relaxation techniques.
2) Make a list of all the techniques that interest you.
3) Pick one of these techniques—meditation, progressive relaxation or self-hypnosis, for instance—and try one for a month.
4) Try a different technique every month until you find one you like.

Write it Down
. Write down your resolution and your plan of action. Stick it up on the fridge, in your locker, wherever you know you'll see it. That way you'll have a constant reminder of the resolution.You may want to change the wording as time passes and your goal changes.

Stage 4 - Language focus
10-15 mins tch<>stds, std<>std, tch<>stds
- If relevant to your stds, you could ask them to work out the meanings of the words in italics.
- you could look at the overall structure of the text - how the discourse holds together & links throughout.

Stage 5 - Speaking
10-15 mins tch<>stds, std<>std, tch<>stds
1. Set up the speaking - elicit or give out a list of prominent people. The task is to decide on a Resolution for each. The best ideas win a prize (?). People for resolutions could be George Bush, Tony Blair, the stds' head of government, Michael Jackson, David Bekham, prominent artists & sports people in the stds' countries....etc.
2. Task - in small groups - poss. ask for a written list of people & resolutions to stick on the walls after. Go round & help out with vocab...
3. Feedback - put the lists on the walls around the classroom & stds read each others & decide on the most imaginative...

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