Unfortunately (or fortunately) holidays are over. All of us need to be inspired to continue teaching professionally. It seems a bit difficult after all these days full of lazing around. We’ll give you a couple of ideas about organizing the first lesson with teens after a new year break.

A creative warm up

— Emoji are your helpers here. Ask your students to describe their holidays using smiles.

— After this small exercise, start speaking. Ask questions like “How did you celebrate the New Year? Did you go out or stay at home? Did you celebrate with parents or with friends? What did you eat? What games did you play?” etc. It’s important for a student both to ask and answer the questions, so organizing this warm up in a form of dialogue seems effective.

— Ask your students some questions to get going. Put them on the board, or dictate them (e.g. Where did you go? Who did you go with? What activities did you do? etc.) This might help you especially if students are shy and swap roles. It would be great if you do not only speak but also share some pics via messengers.

— Play “Guess my present” game: ask your student to describe the presents given (e.g. It’s big and warm. It’s small and sweet). Guess what they are talking about. Then change roles.

Movies and outdoor activities — teens love them!

It’s also nice to discuss students’ winter plans, for example, going to the cinema is a cool option. So discussing a popular cartoon is a nice idea as well.

— Let’s take “Grinch”, for example. The movie is really popular all over the world. You may ask whether the students have already heard about it (perhaps they have already watched it as well).

— Watch the official trailer and ask to describe what’s happening. It’s a nice opportunity to learn new phrases.

— Suggest doing a wordsearch.

— Do the exercise to make your student understand what the story is about.

— Talking about movies, “Grinch” is not one and only. You may discuss classical new year movies like “The Irony of Fate” or “Home Alone”. It would be great to discuss “Sherlock”, which starts on the 5th of January. Although the plot isn’t really based on Christmas, these series are usually associated with winter holidays. “Sherlock” is full of real slang. Find some ideas on how to work with slang here.

— Apart from going to the cinema, teens usually like some outdoor activities like skating. An ice rink is usually a fun place to go to both with friends and families.

— Ask whether your students like and visit them. You may also ask to describe their favourite spots.

— Give them a link to this article about the most beautiful ice skating rinks.

— Read and discuss these spots. Ask which of them they would like to visit and why (e.g. What do you like about this ice rink? Do you have any which is pretty similar in your own city? Which place is the most romantic? etc.)

— If your teens are fond of sports, it would be great to speak about ski resorts as well. You may also share your thoughts about these places.

— In case your students have some travelling and skiing background you may ask them more detailed questions (e.g. When was the first time you tried skiing? Was it in Russia or abroad? Which resorts seem to be the best? Do you have any near your house?).

Don’t forget about social media

— Teens are usually into surfing the net and watching YouTube videos. In case you’ve missed our article about adverts, click here to find plenty of Christmas commercials to watch and discuss.

— You know that teenagers are also addicted to social networks, so using them as your teaching tool is also an idea.

— Ask your students to speak about their favourite blogger’s holidays (“Where did they spend them? How many photos did they upload? Did you like their look?» etc.) Let them browse through their Instagram* feed and comment on their favourite bloggers.

Last but not least

Finally, it’s time to make plans for the whole year. Ask students to write down their dreams using a board (I like this one while teaching online). It’s a good opportunity to set your goals in the learning process. Ask whether students studying goals have changed, help them with setting new ones.

*Instagram belongs to Meta Platforms Inc., whose activities are recognized as extremist and banned in the Russian Federation.

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