Posted in Conversation Classes, Guest Posts, Reading Classes, Vocabulary Classes

B1/B2: First Class 2021


This is a guest post by online language tutor and ELT writer Ned Widdows. Ideal for the first class back after Christmas, it is a B1-B2 lesson with reading, vocabulary and speaking, asking learners to reflect on their experiences of 2020 and to look forward to the year ahead.

Download the teacher’s notes and student handout below:


Write New Year’s Eve on the board / in the chat and ask students to share:

  1. 5 words connected with New Year (in general)
  2. 5 words connected with New Year 2021

Optional: share this image and ask students to describe what they see.

Briefly discuss how Christmas and New Year this year have been affected by the pandemic.


A – D on Student’s Handout is self-explanatory.

Optional ideas:

  1. Dictate the questions in A.
  2. Check the pronunciation of some of the trickier vocabulary in B, e.g. /ˌpɪktʃəˈresk/ /pəˈreɪd/
  3. Get learners to write new sentences with the verb patterns in C, e.g. I’m trying to learn how to play chess at the moment; She misses spending time with her cousins; etc.
  4. Share a link for a padlet and ask learners to post their texts on it. They can read each other’s and see what they have in common.
Posted in Conversation Classes

New Year’s Resolutions Lesson Plan.

Topical lesson plan for early January.

Warm-up 20 questions Christmas present game.

Teacher demonstrates the game. Say “I’m thinking of one of my Xmas presents, you have 20 questions to guess what it is.”

Practice and drill question formation:

Can you wear it? Is it big / small? Did your Mum give it to you? etc.

In 2 groups, 1 person thinks of a Christmas present they got and the others have 20 Yes / No questions to try and guess it.

In groups students play, do 2 or 3 people.

New Year’s Resolutions:

In groups students discuss questions on handout part 1:

Link to handout:!214&authkey=!APcwP8lKWjDTlQM

Have you made any New Year’s resolutions this year? What? Do you think you will keep it or break it?

Have you ever made a New Year’s resolution? What was it? Did you keep it or break it?

Do you have friends / family who make resolutions? What resolutions? Did they keep them or break them?

Do you think it’s a good idea to make resolutions? Why? Why not?

What are the origins of New Year’s resolutions?

The ancient Babylonians made promises to their gods at the start of each year that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts.[1]

The Romans began each year by making promises to the god Janus, for whom the month of January is named.[2]

In the Medieval era, the knights took the “peacock vow” at the end of the Christmas season each year to re-affirm their commitment to chivalry.[1]

At watchnight services, many Christians prepare for the year ahead by praying and making these resolutions.[3]

What percentage of people who make a resolution keep it? (guess)

A 2007 study by Richard Wiseman from the University of Bristol involving 3,000 people showed that 88% of those who set New Year resolutions fail,[6] despite the fact that 52% of the study’s participants were confident of success at the beginning. Men achieved their goal 22% more often when they engaged in goal setting, (a system where small measurable goals are being set; such as, a pound a week, instead of saying “lose weight”), while women succeeded 10% more when they made their goals public and got support from their friends.

In groups try and think of the top ten most common resolutions.

  1. Lose weight / get fit
  2. Quit smoking
  3. Learn something new
  4. Eat healthier / diet
  5. Get out of debt / save money
  6. Spend more time with your family
  7. Travel to new places
  8. Be less stressed
  9. Do volunteer work
  10. Drink less

Discussion questions about the top ten:

Have you ever made any of these resolutions? Have any of your friends or family?

Have you ever tried to do any of these things at other times of the year? Were you successful? Why? Why not?

If you have tried to do any of these things can you give any tips (advice) to your classmates? For example: How can you reduce stress in life?


If you have never tried to do any of these things try to think of ways to keep these resolutions.

In your group try and put the resolutions in order of difficulty.