Happy (almost) New Year!! With Christmas in only a few days, 2018 is right around the corner! There are plenty of aspects of this holiday that may be confusing to students, and there is a TON of language that you can teach while discussing the traditions.
I know how difficult it can be to plan holiday activities for non-native speakers in the midst of the holiday happenings in your personal life, which is why I’ve put together a few different activities that you can find below. However, if you're looking for some other activity ideas for this holiday season, check out my Christmas Around the ESL Classroom article.
This New Year's Eve mini-lesson will guide your students through reflecting on the past year, setting goals for the new year, and learning about some popular New Year's Eve traditions from around the world. Feel free to pick-and-choose what activities will work best for you and your learners, and if you need some more help in choosing activities, be sure to check out my Pre-Planning Guide.
Activity #1: Reflection Rotations
Student Groupings: Pairs or Small Groups
Teacher Prep: Print out the Question Papers PDF (found below) and post around the classroom.
Materials Needed: Question Papers, Post-It Notes (1 color per grouping), Writing Utensils
After students are put in groups, assign them each one of the Question Papers. Give students 5 minutes or so to read the question, discuss it, and write their answers on the post-it notes. They should only have 1 answer per post-it. Their post it notes should go either on the wall or table around the Question Paper or on the paper itself.
When the time is up, have students rotate to the next question. Give them another 5 minutes to read, discuss, and answer the question. This continues until each group has been to each Question Paper.
After the groups have been to each paper, tell them to rotate once more so that they are at the paper they started at. Then, have them read through the answers and choose a few (maybe 3-4) to share with the class. Have the groups take turns reading the question to the class and sharing the answers they found most interesting.
BONUS: To extend this activity so that it takes up more of your class time, ask some questions after the students share to make it a discussion. If your students have a higher-proficiency level, have them come up with discussion questions to ask their peers. Or, after reading one of the post-its, have the group that wrote it identify themselves and share a little bit more about what they were thinking.
Activity #2: Resolution Rankings
Student Groupings: Pairs
Teacher Prep: Print and cut out one sheet of the resolution slips for each pair of students. You may also need to review what the slips say and mean before conducting the activity.
Materials Needed: Resolutions Slips
Put students in pairs and make sure they have room to spread out. They’ll need a surface they can work on as well.
Give each student-pair their set of Resolution Slips. Then, tell them that they have to order the slips from most to least popular. If you want to add an element of competition, bring in some candy or some sort of prize for the group that finishes first (with the correct order).
BONUS: If you want to extend this activity, have students take some time after their done ordering to set their own resolutions. They can choose from the slips or come up with something on their own. Have them share with their partner.
Activity #3: Wishing You and Yours...
Student Groupings: Individuals
Teacher Prep: Make your own greeting card based on your cultural or personal traditions to share with your students.
Materials Needed: Paper, Markers, and any other crafty things to create a card
Be sure to prepare a greeting card before class starts to show your students. Talk to them about your personal and cultural traditions for New Year's Eve, include some of these elements in the card.
Instruct students to reflect on their own traditions and create a greeting card to wish their peers a happy new year. The greeting card should be based on their own traditions.
After they are done creating the card and putting a nice message inside, have them line up in two lines facing one another. If you have an uneven number of students, join in! Then, have them share their greeting card with their partner. Encourage the partners to ask one another questions about different elements of the cards and traditions.
After a certain amount of time, have one line of students move down one person so that they have a new partner. The person on the end of the line will have to move all the way down to the other end. Share with new partners and continue as long as you wish.
I hope that you'll be able to use some of these activity ideas in your classroom! Even if you can't use them until the new year, it's great to teach your students about language that is holiday-related, as they are sure to see it used around them at certain points throughout the year!
I Want to Hear From You!
What are some of your teaching resolutions for 2018? How can I help you achieve them?