Classroom Procedures & Closure Strategies for Clearly Ending Class
We've all had those moments when a class period slips away quickly, the bell rings, and your final words are, "See you tomorrow!" There are also times when students begin to pack up their items a few minutes before the bell rings and start to line up at the door, silently hoping that their actions will make the final bell ring faster. Typically, these scenarios happen when students are not prepared for the end of class procedures, which include closure and wrap-up.
Many educators are well-versed in activities for beginning class in a productive manner, including journal questions, bell-ringers, or warm-up activities, but the end of class is just as critical to putting a "cap" on what students learned for the period. Here, we'll outline some effective closure strategies and classroom procedures for clearly ending class and preparing students for the next day's lesson.
Why Does Closure Matter?
Adults are great at compartmentalizing information. We can neatly separate grocery lists, doctor's appointments, work obligations, and personal lives into tidy segments in our brains. Students, however, are still learning how to do this, which is why a lesson's closure is critical to storing the information learned throughout the period. This is especially critical for students with learning disabilities or who come from generational poverty, whose brain structures are not hardwired to automatically store and retrieve new information easily. Ending lessons in a deliberate, focused way helps students find a place for new information, and a reference point for beginning class the next day.
Effective Closure Strategies & Classroom Procedures
Not sure where to begin with closure in your classroom? The following are easy-to-implement closure strategies that you can implement easily at the end of lessons:
Allow about 1-2 minutes for students to complete an exit ticket, which can reflect a wide variety of end of class questions. Educators can ask students to write down a set number of new things they learned during the period, encourage a reflection about a specific portion of the lesson, or have students identify areas of the lesson where they still feel confused or need further instruction. The key with exit tickets is that teachers need to utilize their input before the next day's lesson to incorporate students' thoughts, concerns, or questions about the next day's lesson. Ensure enough time is allocated for after-class review, since the goal is to modify or enhance the next day's lesson with your students' input.
Utilizing student engagement is an excellent way for learners to reflect on the day's lesson. A think/pair/share at the end of a lesson can focus on items learned during the lesson, or a quick problem based on the principles learned during the period. Give students a chance to think about your closure question, use "pinch" partners (close proximity pairs) to quickly share each thought, and then allow time for students to share their responses, either orally or through an exit ticket. This closure strategy requires leaving approximately 4-5 minutes at the end of a lesson to ensure successful completion.
This strategy is great when using an LMS or online software where students can post their thoughts on a message board. Provide students with a list of sentence prompts that can include:
- One thing I don't understand is...
- Something that was very clear today was...
- Today's class would have been better if...
- I enjoyed...
- I needed more examples of...
This strategy allows students to quickly reflect on their learning for the day, and is a quick way for students to summarize their thoughts on a lesson. This will require some modeling for students so that they can effectively communicate their ideas and not post random musings like "I wish we had free time today."
A fun activity where the teacher gives the answer, but students have to create the question. This works especially well with whiteboards, or with an LMS platform where students can post their questions. This is an excellent exercise in students' synthesis and questioning skills, and shows if students have gaps in understanding based on the questions they create.
Be The Teacher
Each student can create a list of 2-3 items that they feel every child should have learned by the end of the lesson. An excellent addition would be an end-of-class reflection where students can also look at the day's posted "I can" statements to check the goals accomplished. This reflective practice is great for students, but also for educators to see if the day's targets were accomplished.
A quick, fun, kinesthetic activity where students write down one thing they've learned during the lesson on a slip of paper. Next, students ball up the paper and throw it into the air when the teacher says, "Snowstorm!" Finally, each child finds a wad of paper and reads the text aloud.
Formative, Yet Informal Quizzes
Tons of online, quiz-based sites and LMS platforms exist for students to take an anonymous, informal quiz about topics learned during the class period. This is a great way to quickly incorporate technology, and also monitor the intended outcomes for a specific lesson.
Not only do closure activities allow students a chance to file and sort the new information they've just learned, it also provides valuable feedback to the instructor about areas where students may have concerns or gaps in learning.
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