A lesson of humanity - how to start the New Year with great stories?

        Start the New Year with a great story

The year 2016 is over, however, there were a lot of inspiring events happening all over the year that showed us great acts of humantiy. They were all gathered under one headline called The 12 Most Inspiring Good Deeds of 2016 That Made Us Proud of Humanity. 
(website address: https://brightside.me/wonder-people/the-12-most-inspiring-good-deeds-of-2016-that-made-us-proud-of-humanity-274060/

Today, I would like to recommend you one of the websites that I look through at times just to find a great selection of photos with amazing articles and stories.


This is a perfect website if you want to stimulate your students imagination? Why? It simply has a lot of great headlines as well as pictures, which alone are  enough to run a thought-provoking conversation with your students. Haven't you tried it, yet? Just make a new year resolution and keep yourself updated by liking it on facebook. When I read it I always have a few ideas how to use them with my students - even those on lower levels.

Let's not forget that visual literacy doesn't only apply to moving images but it also refers to the photos, which tell the stories themselves. Sometimes it's enough to show them to your students. For each of them the pictures tell different stories. Headlines? Perfect for building stories in mind, It's like creating mental pictures. How to do it? Let me show you a few techniques I used to run a smooth and informal conversation as well as engage students in the conversation. It also helps to build a good relationship with your students, too.

So there have been collected 12 different stories of people from all over the world under the title:
The 12 Most Inspiring Good Deeds of 2016 That Made Us Proud of Humanity. 

Some of the photos you can see in this post but the rest is on the recommended website. Each of them is amazing. There is one of Manny Pacquiao a boxing champion who built 1000 houses in the Philipines but there is also a story of a teacher who had a lot of rebellious students brough up by single mothers so in order to help them he created a "Gentelman Club" where he teaches them good manners and behaviour. Each story is suitable for the classroom use. Just check yourself. And here is the lesson plan:

Topic: the problem of humanity, good deeds, new year resolutions, generosity, abandoned, war-torn country, shelter, single-parent family, tuxedo, struggle, starving, orphanage, donations, sacrifice, parcels, bump into, recreate, gratitude, moose, violate the rules,

Time: 45-60 minute lesson

Level: pre-intermediate +

Age group: teenagers, adults

Activity aim: 

  • to practice speaking
  • to use students imagination and creativity, guessing, stories in mind
  • in resolutions: to use "going to" for already made decisions e.g. "This year I'm going to........"

Article address: https://brightside.me/wonder-people/the-12-most-inspiring-good-deeds-of-2016-that-made-us-proud-of-humanity-274060/

Warm up

Write on the board the words GOOD DEEDS. Ask the students what it means. Can you give me any examples of good deeds? Have you heard about any good deeds in the place where you live? (Maybe there was some story in the place where you live so you can use it as an example) Then ask your students if they did any good deeds last year. You may be surprised or disappointed with their answers. I experienced both types of feeelings:). then you move to the next stage. (3 min)

Stage one

Print out the stories and cut them into 3 seperate pieces : a headline, a picture, a story 
(If you have more than 12 students in the group prepare 2 sets)

Stage two

Using blu tack put the stories on the walls of your classroom, headlines to the board and give each of the students just the photos. Students have to use their imagination and think what could have happened. Then they tell their predictions to the rest of the class. ( 5min) Then students are given a chance to match the headline from the board with their photos and one by one come to the board and choose a suitable headline. Then students read them aloud and make a comment about it. By getting the headlines they have extra info and their stories may change. They use the language of predictions what could have happened in the stories. Help them with unknown words if necessary at this stage of the lesson. (I think the story is about...., Perhaps it's a story of a.......who...... etc.) (5min)

Stage three

Now each of the students has to find his story on the wall and match it with the headline. Then students read the stories silently. (5 min)

Stage four

Tell your students that there is a competition for the best deed of the year. Students have to rememeber as much info as posssible as they are going to choose the best story of the year and vote for it.

Students tell their stories to the rest of the group or the class. They start with a phrase: "You won't believe what has happened in my story.........." (10-15 min)
Stage five

Now the voting begins and students have to choose their candidate and present arguments for it. Sometimes they argue really seriously:) (10 min)

Stage six

Class discussion. What about you? If you haven't done any good deeds maybe this year you could do something for others? Together with my students we discussed the topic and set a week for a good deed. They were suppose to find an opportunity to do sth for others. Some of them helped the neighbour with the shopping while others just talked to the girl nobody wanted to talk to. Everything matters. You can devote the rest of the lesson to a further discussion about New Year Resolutions with the use of   "to be going to.." (10 min)

Hope you and your students will enjoy it!