This is a lesson plan that I have used a lot. In fact, it's become my "go to" first lesson plan with adults in General English or Conversational classes. I've always received positive feedback from students about it - they seem to find the article interesting and to enjoy the discussion it provokes. The LP is based on a short article about travelling solo. I think talking about travel works well as a first lesson because even if people haven't travelled, they usually have the desire to do so and the discussion can be adjusted accordingly. Naturally you can also use this LP at any point in the year to discuss a different aspect of travel. It works best with Upper Intermediate students but I have used it with success with Intermediate students before, it just depends on your students.
I'll explain the basic format I use for this lesson (although it always changes a bit!) and then feel free to use what you want, tweek it to suit your needs/your students, etc.
After introductory games I begin by asking students to remember the best holiday they've ever had and to take a minute to think about where it was, what they did, who they were with and why it was so great (if students haven't ever been on holiday I ask them to think about their dream holiday and to answer the same questions). Then they share their stories and we begin discussing the idea of travelling solo. Example questions: Have you ever travelled solo? (Where and when? How was the experience?) or Would they like to travel solo? (Why/why not?). We also discuss general advantages and disadvantages of solo travel. Then I write the title of the article on the board (Go Alone and FInd Yourself) and elicit predictions about the content of the article. I have students read the article out loud but if you are teaching a large class perhaps you want to put students into pairs or small groups. After discussing any difficult vocabulary I move on to worksheet 1, which I do orally and I always ask "why?" after each answer, getting students to find support for their choices in the text. Depending on class size, students complete worksheets 2 and 3 in pairs or individually and then we discuss the answers as a class. Following worksheet 3 I begin a discussion asking if their opinions on solo travel have changed since reading the article (plus why/why not) and lead into a broader discussion about travel as time permits. LP takes 1hr-1hr 1/2, depending on class size and on how talkative your students are!
I've enjoyed using this LP and hope you will too! I've also found it to be a good rough guide in assessing students levels and it helps me know how I should proceed in planning lessons for those students. The upload consists of the article (including the link I edited it from), 3 worksheets plus answer key. If you have any questions, please let me know! :)