Ever looked at your classroom clock or heard the bell ring and realized you did not have time to close up the lesson plan the way you really wanted to? Lesson closures are just as important as the lesson hooks we use to get kids excited about learning, but it’s not always easy to wrap up a lesson! That’s why the expert teachers on the Teach Starter team pulled together some creative ways to close a lesson and some wrap-up activities for your students!
What Is a Lesson Closure?
Sure, you might know this already, but stick with us for just a second. We promise this will be good! A lesson closure is a way to end a lesson, of course, but it’s more than just closing the book or putting a pin in the proverbial balloon.
A good lesson closure reviews what you’ve covered in a lesson and leaves a lasting impression on your students. Lesson closures are a chance to emphasize key information, allow your students to ask questions that have plagued them throughout the process, and of course, inform your future instruction.
What Are the Strategies for Closing Lessons?
In an effective closure, the teacher will use strategies that include reviewing and summarizing a lesson, consolidating key information, creating a link to new ideas and building anticipation for the next lesson. During a good closure, the students will be given an opportunity to express any concerns, ask questions and clarify their own understandings. It will also give students the chance to celebrate and share any personal achievements with their peers.
Closing a lesson can also be used as an assessment tool for the teacher, indicating whether the students understood the lesson objective or if the teacher needs to alter the delivery of their lesson or pull a small group to address any misconceptions students may have after the lesson.
As a teacher, it is important to keep an eye on the clock and manage your lesson to ensure you have adequate time for the essential closure.
Creative Ways to Close a Lesson
Outlined below are some of our teacher team’s most creative ways to close a lesson and provide your students with wrap-up activities.
Reflective Beach Ball
A fun way to close a lesson is to play a game of Reflective Beach Ball. Purchase a cheap beach ball from the dollar store, and write the following generic reflective questions on the white panels with a permanent marker:
- What are you most proud of from today’s lesson?
- How did you overcome any challenges?
- How did today’s lesson make you feel?
- What was one thing you learned from today’s lesson?
- What did you find most interesting?
- How did you help others during the lesson?
Ask the students to throw the ball — or, ahem, pass it — around the classroom, ensuring that each student gets a turn with the ball. When a student catches the ball, they read the question out loud then share their answer with the class, before throwing the ball to the next person.
Alternatively, write the questions on a set of popsicle sticks, and place them in a jar. At the end of a lesson, pick a craft stick from the jar and ask the students to share their answers with a partner.
Create News “Headlines”
Pair your students off, and tell them to imagine they were writing “headlines” that summarize what they learned. Challenge each pair to write at least two headlines, then come back together to review the headlines.
Alternatively, you can do this as an entire class activity, writing the headlines suggested by students on your whiteboard.
Use Exit Tickets
Sometimes students are too scared to ask a question in front of their peers or celebrate a personal achievement, worried that it might make them look silly. A creative lesson closure that can help? Exit tickets.
These “tickets” (we’ve got editable ones you can use as is or edit to address specific elements of the lesson) are basically forms kids can fill out with questions that remain or feedback. By using exit tickets, students are able to let you know of any concerns or successes before they leave the room, and you have an excellent formative assessment to work from.
A student should never leave your classroom with a head full of questions, feeling confused, or feeling deflated. Let them know that even though the lesson is over, there’s still room for questions and comments! You could then follow up with the students as a class or individually before or during the next lesson.
Explore our complete exit ticket collection for dozens of teacher-created options!
Sticky Notes Parking Lot
A sticky notes parking lot is a great way to close a lesson.
Hand out Post-It type notes at the beginning of the lesson and encourage your students to write down any questions or understandings related to the topic. You can pass out different colors to make it easier: For example, use pink for questions, yellow for almost understanding, and green to explain that they have got it.
At the end of the lesson, students “park” their sticky notes on the parking lot, and the teacher reads out the questions and encourages volunteers who know the answer to share with the class. This allows students to learn from their peers. Achievements from the yellow and green notes are celebrated and discussed as a class.
Using a sticky note parking lot to close a lesson also enables you as a teacher to review and summarize the lesson and consolidate key information with the students.
TILT – Today I Learned To
Have you done a TILT with your students yet? This lesson closure helps bring everything together! TILT stands for Today I Learned To.
Use this Today I Learned To (TILT) poster as a whole class, or individually, to give students the opportunity to reflect on what they learned that day. Display the poster in the classroom and refer to it before the next lesson.
Tip: Remind the students what they learned in the previous lesson, and discuss what they will be learning today with a WALT!
Reflective Thinking Prompts
Display our Reflective Thinking Posters in your classroom as a visual prompt for students to use as they reflect on their own learning.
At the end of a lesson, gather as a class and select a Reflective Thinking Card to be the reflective focus for the day. Read the prompt to the students and provide them with some quiet thinking time.
Ask for volunteers to share their reflective thoughts with the class and discuss any similarities or differences experienced during the lesson.
At the end of a lesson, provide each student with a copy of the 3-2-1 Feedback template.
On the worksheet, students record three things they learned in the lesson, two fun facts, and one question they still have. Ask the students to share their thoughts with a partner.
Encourage students to try and answer each other’s questions or suggest ways in which they could find the answer. Alternatively, complete a ‘3-2-1 Feedback’ together as a whole class and ask students to find the answer for homework. At the start of the next lesson, ask the students to share their answers with the class.
If there is only one minute left in the lesson, there is still time for a quick lesson closure. Ask the students to use their fingers to give the lesson a rating out of five, then ask three students to share the reason for their rating with the class.
The rating might be a general rating on the overall lesson, or it may be more specific, such as asking the students to give a rating of how well they understood the concept or a rating of personal improvements.
One Word Lesson Closure
One Word is another quick but creative lesson-closing activity that can be used at the end of any lesson.
Before leaving the room, students must think of one word that summarizes the lesson for themselves, then share the word with you before exiting. Their one word may relate to their understanding of the lesson, how they felt about the lesson, a question, or a celebration.
As a follow-up, choose three of the shared words with the whole class at the start of the next lesson.
Explore 17 fun formative assessment ideas students love as much as teachers do!
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