Break away from the usual cleanup and homework routine and introduce these creative lesson closure activities.
As educators, we often find ourselves with a few precious minutes remaining in class, wondering if our students truly grasp the material we've covered. During these moments, it's essential to seize the opportunity to reinforce learning and assess understanding effectively. Instead of rushing through cleanup and homework checks, we can make better use of this time by incorporating engaging and purposeful closing activities.
Closing activities serve as powerful tools to gauge comprehension, clarify misconceptions, and inject a touch of excitement into the learning process. They don't have to be an everyday occurrence, but when employed strategically, they can yield tremendous benefits. These activities can be particularly valuable at the end of a chapter or a significant learning unit, offering a chance to solidify key concepts before moving on to new material.
The beauty of closing activities lies in their versatility and adaptability. They can take various forms, allowing us to cater to our students' diverse learning styles and interests. Whether through interactive movement exercises, creative use of technology, or incorporating elements of social and emotional learning, closing activities build a stronger classroom community while reinforcing the knowledge gained.
In the following sections, we will explore five distinct lesson closure activities that you can seamlessly integrate into your teaching toolkit. These activities are designed to spark joy, foster understanding, and leave a lasting impact on your students' learning journey. From quick reflection exercises to collaborative games, each activity provides a unique opportunity to make those final moments count and create a classroom environment where learning is not only effective but also enjoyable for all. Let's dive in and discover the power of purposeful lesson closure!
Lesson Closure Activity One
Newsmakers is a quick and creative end-of-lesson assessment activity that encourages students to summarise what they've learned in the form of news headlines. By pairing students off and promoting collaborative thinking, this activity reinforces key concepts while providing the teacher with insights into their understanding of the lesson.
Step 1: Pair students off
Divide the students into pairs, making sure to pair individuals with complementary strengths or learning styles, which can lead to more robust headline creations.
Step 2: Explain the activity
Briefly explain the purpose and process of the activity to the students. Instruct them to imagine they are journalists working for a news agency, and their task is to write eye-catching news headlines that capture the essence of what they have learned during the lesson.
Step 3: Provide an example
Offer an example of a news headline to illustrate the concept and set expectations. Use a recent topic from the lesson to demonstrate how to condense the main idea into a concise and attention-grabbing headline.
Step 4: Time to brainstorm
Give the student pairs a few minutes to brainstorm and discuss their headlines. Encourage them to collaborate and refine their ideas, ensuring that the headline truly captures the essence of their learning.
Step 5: Share and present
Invite each student pair to share their news headline with the class. Depending on the class size and available time, you can ask for volunteers or select a few pairs randomly to present their headlines.
Lesson Closure Activity Two
Clear Skies and Cloudy Horizons
The "Clear Skies and Cloudy Horizons" activity is designed as a quick end-of-lesson assessment to help students reflect on their understanding of the material covered. By identifying what they understand (what is clear) and what remains unclear (what is still cloudy), students become more aware of their learning progress and help teachers gauge the effectiveness of their instruction.
Step 1: Explain the activity
Briefly explain the purpose and process of the activity. Let the students know that they will take a moment to self-assess their understanding of the lesson by identifying what they have grasped well and what they still have questions about.
Step 2: Distribute "Clear Skies and Cloudy Horizons" sheets
Provide each student with a simple sheet of paper divided into two sections: one for "Clear Skies" and the other for "Cloudy Horizons."
Step 3: Identify what is clear (What they understand)
Give students a few minutes to reflect on the lesson and jot down the concepts or key points they feel confident about—those that they have a clear understanding of—in the "Clear Skies" section of the sheet.
Step 4: Identify what is cloudy (What is still unclear)
Next, have students think about the aspects of the lesson that they find challenging or haven't fully grasped yet. They should write these down in the "Cloudy Horizons" section of the sheet.
Step 6: Collect the "Clear Skies and Cloudy Horizons" sheets
Collect the completed sheets from the students. This information will help you gauge the overall understanding of the class and identify areas where additional clarification or review might be needed.
Lesson Closure Activity Three
The Grade One Genius
This end-of-lesson assessment activity is designed to encourage students to demonstrate their understanding of a concept or topic by explaining it in a simple and concise manner, as if they were teaching it to a first-grade student. This activity aims to reinforce their understanding of the material and assess their ability to communicate complex ideas in a clear and accessible manner.
Step 1: Choose a concept or question
Select a concept or question that you want your students to demonstrate their understanding of. It could be a specific topic covered in the lesson, a key idea, or a critical question related to the subject matter.
Step 2: Explain the activity
Briefly explain the activity to the students. Let them know that they will have the opportunity to showcase their comprehension of the topic by explaining it to a first-grade student. Emphasise that they should use simple language, avoid technical jargon, and break down the information into easily understandable chunks.
Step 4: Randomly select students
Randomly choose a few students to participate in the activity. You can use popsicle sticks with student names or any other random selection method.
Step 5: Let students explain
Give each selected student a turn to explain the concept or answer the question. Provide a timer for each explanation, ensuring that the activity doesn't exceed the allocated five minutes.
Lesson Closure Activity Four
Thanks! Ouch! Aha!
“Thanks! Ouch! Aha!” is a brief and engaging end-of-lesson assessment designed to foster a reflective and open classroom environment. By encouraging students to share glimpses of their day or the lesson that stood out positively and epiphanies or moments of sudden realisation, this activity promotes a sense of community and insight into students' learning experiences.
Step 1: Arrange students in a circle
Gather the students in a circle, creating a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere where everyone feels involved and valued.
Step 2: Explain the activity
Briefly explain the purpose of the activity to the students. Let them know that they will have a chance to share brief glimpses of positive experiences or moments of sudden realisations during the lesson.
Step 3: Model sharing
Begin the activity by sharing your own "Thanks! Ouch! Aha!" with the class. “Thank” refers to talking about something you appreciated during the lesson. “Ouch” refers to talking about something that you did not understand or found difficult to handle. “Aha” refers to talking about a sudden realisation you had during the lesson. Model how to express appreciation or share a moment of discovery from your day or the lesson. This helps students understand the type of responses they can share.
Step 4: Student sharing
Give each student an opportunity to share in the circle. To ensure the activity fits within the allotted five minutes, encourage students to keep their contributions brief and to the point. You can use the following sentence starters to encourage your students to keep their responses brief: "Thank": One thing I appreciated during the lesson was __________ because it __________. "Ouch": Something that I found difficult to handle or understand during the lesson was __________ because __________. "Aha": A sudden realisation I had during the lesson was __________, and it made me realise __________.
Lesson Closure Activity Five
This is a quick and interactive end-of-lesson assessment activity that allows students to self-assess their understanding of the material. By using a traffic light visual, students can indicate what they learned (green light), what they're still processing (yellow light), and what they find challenging (red light), providing valuable insights for the teacher to gauge the class's grasp of the lesson.
Step 1: Display the traffic light
Fix a picture of a traffic light on the classroom door or a prominent location. The traffic light should have three sections: green on top, yellow in the middle, and red at the bottom.
Step 2: Explain the activity
Briefly explain the purpose of the activity to the students. Let them know that before they leave the classroom, they will reflect on the lesson by writing down one thing they learned (understood) on a sticky note to place on the green light, one thing they're still mulling over (processing) to place on the yellow light, and one thing they're struggling to understand on the red light.
Step 3: Distribute sticky notes
Provide each student with three sticky notes: one green, one yellow, and one red.
Step 4: Reflect, write and place the sticky notes
Give the students a minute to reflect on the lesson and write down their reflections on the sticky notes. After writing their reflections, students can place their sticky notes on the corresponding section of the traffic light (green, yellow, or red). Encourage them to be concise but clear in their responses.