Happy New Year! It’s a great time to start a new semester with a holiday-related activity that would help your students to get to know each other and practice English. I thought I would share a few activities that you could do during the first week of classes.
Activity 1. Collage: The Year in Review
For this activity, you should have 1) several magazines and other periodicals with pictures, 2) scissors, 3) glue, and 4) papers (format A4) according to the number of the students. Each student will receive each of the above materials. The task is to create a picture collage—a personal overview of the previous year in pictures, that is, major activities and events, interesting stories, and highlights. Students will use pictures from the magazine they receive, but they can also use words and phrases from the article titles, ads, or anything else that they find relevant and interesting. Ask students to be creative. After students are done with their collages, put students in pairs (or small groups) and have them describe their collages to each other. You can also tailor this activity to a particular grammar principle, for example, past tense, and ask students to use it as they describe their collage. You can also encourage them to use new vocabulary items (if applicable). Depending on your class, you could also distribute awards for the most creative collages.
Activity 2. The Future in the Past
This is another “overview of the year” activity. I noticed that many times, students have a hard time using “the future in the past” construction. This activity will help them practice this grammar principle. Ask students to think about events that happened to them during the last year that they had not anticipated. Ask them to finish the following sentence: “A year ago, I didn’t know I would ….” For example, “A year ago, I didn’t know I would visit Turkey” or “A year ago, I didn’t know I would enjoy riding a horse.” Students can write as many sentences as they want. After they are done, ask them to share their sentences with the class.
Activity 3. About the New Year
Ask students to write several sentences starting with the phrase “New Year’s is the time when….” For example, “New Year’s is the time when people set new goals” or “New Year’s is the time when my family goes on a vacation”. Students can create sentences about themselves, their families, people in their country, or about people in general. After students are done, ask them to share their sentences with the class.
Please feel free to share activities that you do in your classes at the beginning of the year.