It’s happened to all of us, the intention is there but just as you’re thinking “I still have ten minutes…” the bell rings and the lesson ends with a frantic collection of work!
Closing a lesson is just as important as the warm up, teaching instruction and independent work.
A good closure will create a lasting impression and will have students reflecting on their own learning. It will also make a lesson more meaningful and relevant to the students and create a connection to previous knowledge.
In an effective closure, the teacher will review and summarize a lesson, consolidate key information, create a link to new ideas and build 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.
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.
Outlined below are eight fun and effective suggestions for closing a lesson in your classroom.
TILT – Today I Learnt That
Use this Today I Learnt That (TILT) poster as a whole class, or individually, to give students the opportunity to reflect on what they learnt that day. Display the poster in the classroom and refer to it before the next lesson.
Remind the students what they learnt in the previous lesson and discuss what they will be learning today with a WALT poster.
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.
Monster March Out – Lesson 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 student should never leave your classroom with a head full of questions, confused or feeling deflated. A good closure to a lesson will provide students with an opportunity to reflect on the lesson and share their thoughts and feelings. By using the Monster March Out Lesson Exit Tickets, students are able to let you know of any concerns or successes before they leave the room.
You could then follow up with the students as a class or individually before or during the next 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 others 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.
Sticky Notes Parking Lot
The sticky notes parking lot is a great way to close a lesson.
During the lesson, the students write down any questions or understandings related to the topic on a colored sticky note. In the example, pink has been used for questions, yellow for almost understanding and green to explain that they have got it.
At the end of the lesson, 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 enables the teacher to review and summarize the lesson and consolidate key information with the students.
If there is only one minute left in the lesson, there is still time for a quick 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 is another quick but effective 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, you may like to choose three of the shared words with the whole class at the start of the next lesson.
Reflective Beach Ball and Pop Sticks
A fun way to close a lesson is to play a game of Reflective Beach Ball. Simply purchase a cheap beach ball and, using a permanent marker, write the following generic reflective questions:
- 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 learnt 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 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 shares their answer with the class, before throwing the ball to the next person.
Alternatively, write the questions on a set of pop sticks and place them in a jar. At the end of a lesson, pick a pop stick from the jar and ask the students to share their answer with a partner.
We would love to hear from you…how do you close a lesson with your class?