Reflecting and projecting: fun end-of-the-year activities and teaching ideas to start a new year

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end-of-the-year activities

Engaging end-of-the-year activities

As the year comes to an end, it’s an opportune moment for students to embark on a reflective journey. While it’s common to ask students to ponder their year, draw conclusions and reflect, we have some additional ideas that will not only make your lesson engaging and useful but also inject an element of fun into the process.

📸The picture of the day’s reflection

This one is among our favourite end-of-the-year activities for English learners. It will be accompanied by visual aids so you need to make sure your students have access to their photo galleries. The idea is simple: you choose a specific date and students find a picture taken on that day. They have to then share a story behind the picture: who took it, what was happening before/after, etc. This activity not only unveils fascinating snapshots but also opens a window into personal memories and experiences students had over the year. Imagine the classroom buzz as students share their chosen images, recounting the stories behind them. From heartwarming celebrations to quiet moments of introspection, each picture leads to storytelling and experience sharing. Encourage follow-up questions from classmates to add an interactive layer. 

🗓️Words of the year or linguistic zeitgeist

In the spirit of reflection, other engaging end-of-the-year activities might involve exploring the words that have been appointed as the “Words of the Year.” A quick Google search reveals the words that have been immensely popular, capturing the essence of the year through language.

Students can discuss why certain words made the cut – what they reveal about the societal landscape or global consciousness. Are these words a reflection of challenges faced, triumphs achieved or shifts in cultural dynamics? The discussion opens up avenues to explore the power of language in shaping our perceptions of the world. Students might even reflect on whether they would personally adopt these words or even come up with their personal words of the year lists. Even if the words are in their native language, we’re sure there’s a potential for discussion. 

Anticipating a new year

Now that you’re done with the end-of-the-year activities and finished looking back on the last 12 months, it’s time to focus on what’s coming next. We’re happy to share a few ideas for fun activities that are sure to capture your students’ interest and make them practise English with joy. 

💪It’s not only about resolutions

As the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, many people embrace the tradition of resolutions. However, there are some alternative approaches that invite students to engage in self-reflection and envision the year ahead. For example, they could create lists of things to look forward toin the upcoming year. Students can also brainstorm ideas that will bring them closer to these things, compare their aspirations to those of their classmates and ask each other questions.

Encouraging students to articulate what they want more or less of in the coming year adds a personal touch to goal-setting. Creating a “bucket list” is another way to approach this activity. Students think about what they have accomplished in the past year and what they want to do in the next one. The things they add to their lists might be as significant as getting promoted or as simple as getting into a habit of waking up ten minutes earlier than usual. 

🤔Predicting the odds: a glimpse into the future

The new year is also a time to contemplate the possibilities that lie ahead. Engaging students in a discussion about the odds of certain trends or events happening definitely adds to the classroom dynamic. Depending on their interests, professions and backgrounds, the odds could be tailored to resonate with students’ unique perspectives.

Will “mindful snacking” emerge as a health trend? Is a decline in social media use on the horizon? Are people going to abandon using personal cars in favour of public transport? Predicting the likelihood of global phenomena, such as increased AI education in schools or shifts in remote work, sparks insightful conversations about the evolving world around them. It’s a chance for students to flex their analytical muscles and consider the potential trajectories of the upcoming year.

In conclusion, as we bid farewell to the old year and welcome in the new one, these end-of-the-year activities and beginning-of-the-year activities create a bridge between reflection and anticipation. We dig into memories, break down words and discuss personal futures as well global trends. And it’s not just a sentimental and engaging moment – it’s a practical way to get your students to practise English even more.


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  1. vikihoney

    Thanks a bunch!

    1. Olia

      I hope your students enjoy these activities 🙂

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