Bringing closure to a lesson connects what has just been learnt with both previous and future learning experiences, encourages student reflection on their work and progress, and provides invaluable information for formative assessment. The amount of time spent on lesson lead-ins and the variety of activities and strategies used to this end has often little to do with the time devoted to wrapping up a lesson, missing a meaningful learning opportunity altogether – and one that is notably crucial.
At its very simplest, asking the students a variety of questions on different aspects of the lesson or project, having them predict what the following lesson might be about, or just eliciting one-word responses from them, are all quick effective ways of closing a lesson. When time allows, cooperative strategies such as Think-Pair-Share or Numbered Heads Together will result in far richer responses by having students compare and analyse their thoughts while keeping each of them accountable for their contributions. Stand and Share, for instance, is one strategy I’m particularly fond of for lesson closures:
1. On a slip of paper students write down something they have learnt, or a short personal response to some reading or speaking activity. Focusing on different aspects of a lesson each time you use the strategy will make it the most meaningful.
2. Students stand up and take turns reading their reflections. If a student has something similar, he/she may sit down.
3. Continue until all the students are sitting down.
4. Collect the slips of paper at the end to keep the students accountable during the whole process.
There are times, however, when an activity will take much longer than we had expected, extra support might be needed at some point in the lesson, or you may feel that some impromptu interest raised by the students should be dealt with at that moment. (Your lesson may even be interrupted by institutional announcements, unplanned assemblies, and for a myriad of other reasons – but that rant belongs somewhere else!) Providing a choice of short closure activities that students can complete on their own, even at home, can be a good way to guarantee that some type of closure is done when we run out of time, but it’s also a good resource that allows the students to reflect on different aspects of each lesson using a wider variety of different tasks.
The students choose one of the tasks in the worksheet below that they think best suits one particular lesson and keep a record of the dates. The teacher can then collect these every now and then to check their responses and use that information for future planning, or as the case may be. In addition, the taboo cards and the multiple choice questions written by the students can be collected and be the basis for a great revision session, while the thank-you notes can be distributed perhaps every other week, hopefully contributing to enhancing rapport among classroom members and, ultimately, meaningful learning.Closure.pdf