Word of the Year: Modals of Possibility Listening Activity

Are your students setting New Year’s goals this month? Why not challenge them to come up with a Word of the Year instead? You can use this month’s grammar target, Modals of Possibility, to talk about possibilities in the future that relate to the words your students choose.

Sprout English’s featured Fun Grammar Lesson on Modals of Possibility is a simple introduction to these common modals. After you use this ready-made lesson, try this follow-up listening activity. Then challenge your students to choose their own Word of the Year and practice using might, could, and may in relation to their words.

Listening Activity

Play the recording of Word of the Year: Modals of Possibility in class, or have your students listen to it for homework.


My Word of the Year

Hello. I am Tara. Every January, I pick a new Word of the Year. Last year, my word was Change. This year, my word is Community.

I moved to a new city last year. It was a big change! Now I want to get to know it better. There are a few things I might do to become part of my community.

I might volunteer at the hospital or at the library. I could start a games night and invite my neighbors. We might play cards, darts, or badminton. I could also join a club or take a fitness class. I may even start my own writing club. I might not have time to do all of these things.

I also need a new doctor. I may not get one right away. I might ask my new friend Jen for recommendations. She might know a good hairdresser too.

I look forward to becoming a member of my new community this year. What’s your Word of the Year?

Vocabulary Review

Are your students familiar with the following vocabulary? You can challenge your students to spell and pronounce the following vocabulary correctly.

  • community
  • volunteer
  • hospital
  • neighbors
  • club
  • darts
  • fitness class
  • doctor
  • hairdresser
  • recommendation


Here are some questions you can ask your students after they listen to the story.

1. What was the speaker’s Word of the Year last year? What is it this year?
2. Why did the speaker choose this year’s Word of the Year?
3. What new things could the speaker do this year? Name at least three things.

Follow-Up Writing and Speaking Practice

Invite your students to choose a Word of the Year. They should think of why they picked this word. Then encourage them to use modals of possibility (may, might, could, may not, might not) to describe at least three things they might/might not do this year that relate to their word. Now challenge them to write a transcript and record or read their story out loud to the class. The rest of the class can answer the questions above.


Fun Grammar Lesson: Modals of Possibility
Word Bank Lesson: Community Helpers
Crafts for Teaching about Community Helpers
Guess Whose Goals


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Tara Benwell

Tara Benwell is a freelance writer and editor who specializes in materials and articles for the ELT industry. She is the media director and head writer for ESL-Library, and a contributor to its sister site Sprout English. Tara is the author of an iPad storybook series for kids called Happy Campers Books. Her debut novel, The Proper Order of Things is available on Amazon and in the iBookstore.

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