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New Year’s Resolutions Speaking Activity or the Perfect Excuse to Create Adorable Images with AI

First off, Happy New Year! Fresh starts and the time of the year when you start thinking about New Year’s Resolutions.
I always try and think of some New Year’s Resolutions to accomplish but, let’s face it, I don’t have enough fingers or toes to count the number of times I have broken them, and then I think why bother? Do you know anyone who keeps their New Year’s resolutions? Or even remembers them after January 15? I sure don’t.

Anyway, let’s begin this new year with a post on New Year’s resolutions.  To be honest, I just wanted an excuse to create some beautiful images using AI. They are so beautiful and so much fun to create!

In this post, aimed at B1- C2 students, you will find

  • Fun warm-ups including a small challenge playing against ChatGPT.
  • Some structures you might need to revise/learn when discussing New Year’s Resolutions.
  • Speaking practice with beautiful images created by AI.
  • A fun listening exercise with a song.
  • A written assignment created with AI based on one of the images above.
Warm-up (10 minutes)

Icebreaker 1: The video clip.

Start by writing on the board New Year’s Resolutions and ask students if they are familiar with the concept.

Ask students if they have made any New Year’s Resolutions, either this year or in the past. Some might say they have never bothered with resolutions, and that’s when you play this clip by the adorable little Charlotte A Tucker claiming” I don’t have any New Year’s Resolution, you don’t need one when you are perfect”. Share some laughs, and then get back to the original question:Have they ever made any resolutions in the past? If so, did they actually stick to them? What challenges did they face?

Icebreaker 2: ChatGPT Challenge: Have a fun activity! Invite students to jot down their thoughts on the most common New Year’s Resolution. Then, check with ChatGPT for its take. Give a round of applause to students whose responses coincide with ChatGPT’s answer.

Vocabulary building. (5-10 minutes)

1. Go through the list below, commenting on the expressions you can use to express your resolutions. Say the resolution is “to stop smoking”.  Ask students to write down, in their notebooks, two or maybe 3 of these expressions.

Ten expressions to use in speaking and writing
1. I guess I’d better stop smoking
2. I suppose I really ought to stop smoking
3. I really should stop smoking, but then again
4. I am determined to stop smoking
5. Never again will you catch me smoking.
6. No matter what happens, I’m going to stop smoking
7. Come hell or high water, I’ll stop smoking

Speaking: 20 minutes. Popular Resolutions

New Year’s Resolutions by cristina.cabal

  • Ask students to work in pairs or groups of three.
  • Tell them you are going to show them some popular New Year’s Resolution. In their groups, they should talk about all or some of the following questions and try to use some of the expressions above, as well.

1. Have you ever considered making a similar resolution for yourself?
2. How might incorporating this resolution into your life positively influence you?
3. Are there any specific steps you would take to implement this resolution?
4. Can you share a personal story related to this type of resolution?

  • Display the first slide with a popular New Year’s Resolution ask them to comment on it, elaborating on the answer.
  • Tell students each slide will be on display for 4 minutes and then a new one will be shown. There are 8 slides containing New Year’s Resolutions. Feel free to use as many or as few of them as you like.

NOTE: the images have been created using AI (have I already told you how much I love creating them? hahaha! I know. I have)

A bit of fun with listening? 

Tell students they are going to listen to a funny song about resolutions. They will listen to it once. This is what they have to do:

1. Predict 5 New Year’s Resolutions they might hear in the song and write them down on a separate piece of paper
2.  Exchange papers with the student beside you.

3. While the song plays, indicate on the exchanged paper which Resolutions correspond to the ones mentioned in the song.

To check the answers, enable the captions on YouTube

Writing Assignment using AI

Writing assignments are a fantastic opportunity for students to hone their creative writing abilities and writing skills, both of which are vital for learning. However, students are essentially cheating themselves if they just use AI to accomplish their homework. One way to prevent cheating is to assign writing prompts that are open-ended and require critical thinking and creativity, but clearly, the most effective way to stop cheating would be to create a culture of academic integrity in the classroom. Easy, as we all have beautiful students!

On the other hand, AI can help us a lot as teachers and reduce our workload.  In this case, I have used Bingchat, uploaded one of my slides and asked to create a writing prompt based on the picture. Have a look!

Here’s one of them

As the clock struck midnight, ringing in the New Year, Alex made a resolution to step out of his comfort zone and travel more. With a world map spread out on the table, he closed his eyes and pointed to a random location - that would be his first destination. The next morning, with bags packed and passport in hand, Alex found himself at the airport for the first time in years. A mix of anxiety and excitement surged through him as he boarded the plane. Little did he know, this journey would not only take him to uncharted territories on the map but also within himself.

Some tips for writing a good narrative are:

  • Use descriptive language to create vivid images in the reader’s mind.
  • Use dialogue to show the character’s personality and interactions with others.
  • Use a clear structure with a beginning, middle, and end.
  • Use transitions to connect the events and show the passage of time.
  • Use varied sentence structures and vocabulary to avoid repetition and monotony.
  • Use feedback and revision to improve your writing.

I hope you enjoy this writing prompt and have fun with your creative writing.

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Shahi: a Cool Visual Dictionary

I’ve just found the perfect dictionary for my classes. It’s been love at first sight!!!

Did you know that we learn 10% of what we read; 20% of what we hear; 30% of what we see ???Oh my goodness ! and I wonder why my students seem to have forgotten everything they have learned during the whole year over their summer holidays!

The good news is that the combination of what we read,hear, see and discuss reaches 70%  and that’s my point with this dictionary. Shahi is a cool visual dictionary. You just type the word you need to know  and Shahi combines the definition for that word with images from Flikr, Google or Yahoo on the side bar. No more struggling when trying to explain what a rattlesnake or an anteater  is, just show them!!!.

And remember ” A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words”