Every effective lesson plan should start with a hook and conclude with closure, otherwise referred to as lesson hooks and lesson closures. Lesson hooks help spark student engagement and interest from the beginning, while lesson closures help neatly wrap up the day’s learning while gaining insight into student comprehension. Paulette Chaffee, a recipient of the Above & Beyond Award from the Fullerton School District, says that successfully applied lesson closures can help students grasp a lesson’s primary content and remember what they learn. In addition, she provides excellent ideas for constructive ways to end classroom lessons that are both fun and aid in lesson comprehension.
Conclude a lesson by empowering students to take ownership of their education. For example, teachers can award extra credit points on homework for students who volunteer at the end of the lesson to re-explain the main concepts overviewed in class that day.
Another student-as-teacher approach to lesson closure involves students gathering in groups or working individually to discuss the three most valuable concepts from the day’s lesson.
Question Beach Ball
Teachers can purchase a plastic beach ball as an inexpensive solution to productively conclude any lesson. First, blow the beach ball up, then take a Sharpie and write generic reflective questions on the white stripes of the ball. Examples of generic questions would include: How did today’s lesson make you feel? What was the most exciting thing you learned about today? Did this lesson present any challenges?
Students then pass the beach ball around the class and read a question aloud, followed by their answer, before sending it on to the next person until everyone has taken a turn.
Let It Snow
On a scrap piece of paper, students write down something they learned that day. Once done writing, students wad up their paper into a ball. After everyone has crumbled their paper into a ball, the teacher should count down for students to know when it is time to “let it snow.” Students then throw their paper “snow” balls in the air and pick up a random one that lands near them. Finally, students take turns reading aloud what the paper “snow” ball they picked up says.
At the end of the lesson, teachers should ask students to write down a question they have about what everyone learned that day on a small slip of paper. This activity is a great way to work with students who are hesitant to raise a hand or ask questions independently because all questions stay anonymous. The teacher should then have students pass around an empty bucket, fold their questions, and place the folded paper into the bucket.
Once all the students have put their questions in the bucket, the teacher should give the bucket a shake and then have students pass the bucket around once more. This time, students should take out a question from the bucket and read it aloud for someone in the class to raise their hand and answer. This activity is an excellent strategy to help all questions get answered while providing a platform for a group review of the day’s lesson.
When wrapping up a lesson, teachers can gauge which students comprehend lessons well and which are missing the mark. The reality of having a perfect lesson closure in every class is not likely, so teachers can have a backup plan when time is running short for their planned lesson closure.
Teachers can prepare for those off-schedule days where time flies faster than predicted by always writing the lesson’s objective on the board and pre-making cards that students can quickly fill out in a few seconds. Then, ask students to grab a card, circle one of the three color options, and return the card to a particular location in the class. The card’s color options will allow students to privately communicate where they are during their learning when they circle one of the three: Red (I’m completely confused.), Green (I’m ready to move on.), and Yellow (I need assistance understanding ______.).
About Paulette Chaffee
Paulette Chaffee is an educator, children’s advocate, grants facilitator, lawyer, and member of various non-profit boards. She obtained bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Redlands in Communicative Disorders and a California Lifetime Teaching Credential. She is currently the Ambassador for Orange County 4th District and a board member of All the Arts for All the Kids.