Are our New Year’s resolutions similar to those of French people? A communicative and cultural task for Novice learners

Updated with 2023 data.

Looking for something to do with your students when you get back in January? Let’s use comprehensible input to complete a communicative and cultural task about New Year’s resolutions. And as always, let’s personalize the tasks to boost engagement.

Tasks: What are our New Year’s resolutions? Are they similar to those of French people?

Level: Novice Mid-High (but can be easily beefed-up for Intermediates)

ACTFL Can-Dos: 

  • In my own and other cultures I can identify practices (New Year’s resolutions) to help me understand perspectives.
  • I can identify some basic facts from memorized words and phrases when
    they are supported by gestures or visuals in conversations and in informational texts about New Year’s resolutions.
  • I can express my own preferences or feelings about New Year’s resolutions and react to those of others, using a mixture of practiced or memorized words, phrases, and questions.

Duration: 2-3 days (45-50 min)

Click here to access the slides and activities (directions and links are in the speaker notes).

SPANISH TEACHERS: Rachel Alexander Johnson and Mirna Deakle have adapted the slideshow and Sandra Causillas the This or That!

Teachers of other languages, these resources can easily be adapted in your language and the cultural objective can be met by googling “New Year’s resolutions” for your target language/culture.

For more detailed directions, move on:

Day 1 / Task 1: What are our New Year’s resolutions?

1.1. Teacher provides input on typical New Year’s Resolutions

  • Using this slideshow, Picture Talk and PQA New Year’s resolutions with your students (Interpretive Listening, Interpersonal Speaking)
  • This or That! I use this as input with movement. Students have to choose between two resolutions by moving to one end of the room or the other. For an extended activity using This or That, check out this detailed suggestion by Liam Printer (The Motivated Classroom).
  • Blooket!

1.2. Students choose New Year’s resolutions that suit them

  • Put all the resolutions on the board (slide 14) and make sure students comprehend every statement. Choral translation may be the best way to achieve this.
  • Using slide 14, students write 2+1 resolutions on a note card Students choose and write 2 New Year’s resolutions from the board. Some students might have their very own resolution they want to share and I like to honor this because 1) they are likely to be more engaged and 2) the language will stick better because it is theirs, so have them write it in Frenglish on their card. (Interpretive reading, Presentational writing)
  • Collect the note cards and play a game of Guess Who? Read the resolutions out loud and students have to guess who wrote them. When you see a resolution in Frenglish, say it out loud in French while supporting meaning with a drawing or an English translation on the board. Great way to personalize input! Again, as soon as the interest in the game dies down, move on. (Interpretive listening)

1.3. What are our class’ New Year’s resolutions?

  • Leave the New Year’s resolutions (slide 14) on the board. Students make a prediction about the top 3 New Year’s resolutions for the class. (Interpretive reading)
  • Give 2-3 star stickers to each of your students. I buy super cheap star stickers from the dollar tree but feel free to purchase them wherever you want.
  • New Year’s resolutions are posted throughout the room and/or  in the hallway. Students walk around the room/hallway quietly and vote for their favorite New Year’s resolutions by placing a star (or 2, or 3) on their favorite New Year’s resolutions. (Interpretive reading)
  • Teacher and students tally the votes and aggregate the results in a pie chart. Feel free to make it as low or high tech as you want but make sure to keep the results for the next day. I like to work out percentages with my students (there is always a math lover in your class, find that student and use her), draw the pie chart on the board and then create an actual pie chart at home for the next day using this excel template or a simple poster. (Interpretive listening, Interpersonal speaking)

Optional homework: Quizlet on New Year’s resolutions

Communicative task #1 is completed!

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Day 2 / Task 2: Are our New Year’s resolutions similar to those of French people?

2.1. Recap what our New Year’s resolutions are

  • Put the pie chart from the previous day/task on the board and talk through it quickly. Feel free to PQA some more with students and even dig deeper with 1-2 students: “Did you vote for this resolution?” “Do you usually stick to your resolutions?” “Do you think you will stick to this resolution?” I love PQA because I can use natural and personalized language with my students. (Interpretive listening, Interpersonal speaking)

2.2. Read about French people’s New Year resolutions

  • Read the 2023 New Year’s resolutions with your Novices (Slide 16) (Interpretive reading)
  • source here

2.3 Are our New Year’s resolutions similar to those of French people?

  • Using data in slides 15 and 16, students fill out a simple Venn Diagram to compare and contrast their class’ New Year’s resolutions to those of French people. This is a great tool to have Novice students think critically using language at their level! As I was reminded at my regional conference this past fall, “Novice learners are not Novice thinkers” (Jennifer Kilmore, EMC Publishing). Use slide 17 as a template. (Interpretive reading, Presentational writing)
  • Optional: Students exchange about their findings with a partner
  • Students choose simple statements that best summarize their findings. Use slide 18 as a template. (Interpretive reading)
  • Brain Break!
  • Teacher guides students through a Write and Discuss about New Year’s resolutions, using resources above.

Cultural and communicative task #2 is completed!

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More possible extensions:

  • My French students have e-pals, so we can write to them to share our New year’s resolutions and asking them about theirs. I love it that what we do in class can be directly applicable to our e-pal exchange. Ada Morley suggested using Flipgrid to record students’ New Year’s resolutions. Fun idea if your students are ready to output this way! Our e-pals could then respond directly on Flipgrid.
  • Read the actual authentic article to compare and contrast whether or not we stick to our resolutions.
  • Play a little kahoot where you have added your student’s personal New Year’s resolutions

I hope you and your students enjoy these cultural comparison tasks ! Let me know if you find any mistake, have any feed-back or how you incorporate New Year’s resolutions in your classrooms.

Image credit: “The Grinch.” (Universal Pictures)


  1. Merci beaucoup pour partager vos ressources et idées! J’ai aussi acheté Le Petit Journal. Tout ça aide beaucoup. Bonne année!

  2. It’s wonderful! Thank you Cécile! I’m going to adapt it for my 2nd-4th grade Spanish class.

  3. Thanks so much for sharing this! Your work is amazing and inspiring, and helping me look forward to Monday. Merci mille fois!

  4. Thank you so much for sharing!!! I am teaching a new class this year – my school is very supportive of using any CI approach, and I have a lot of wriggle room with the curriulum.
    It’s exciting, but while I love planning, it can be a little overwhelming to find the right theme to anchor the units. This will be a great way to begin 2019.

  5. This was a great start to the new year for both my Spanish and French classes. The scaffolding of each of your given resolutions allowed for class improvisation: I am going to sleep more became I am going to work more, sing more, play more basketball. We played with different ways of expressing our goals. I added another element after the goal writing and comparison with my second year classes, giving them the following steps from goal setting gurus: 1) Write it down (which we did during the lesson!) 2) make it specific and measurable, and 3) set a deadline or end date. I modeled in the TL with one of my own resolutions. By the end of the discussion there were many of the students who had really shifted from having to do this as a teacher imposed exercise to personalizing some of their own goals.

    Thank you for sharing this!
    And I especially appreciate your decision to NOT include weight loss as an option, keeping the tone positive.

  6. This was a great activity for the first week back for my 8th grade 1-b’s!
    By the way, I’m not a native speaker, but I’m thinking it should be “Je vais dormir plus” as “Je vais plus dormir” sounds to me like “I will not sleep anymore”
    Anyway, THANK YOU for this, it was all very comprehensible for my students and a fun activity!

  7. Merci mille fois! I just used this for most of this first week back after break, for all three of my levels (1, 2 and 3 honors). I LOVED that I was able to use the basic format and then elicit more complex details and responses from the more advanced levels. One prep for three levels is my DREAM! Merci encore. 🙂

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