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The Best Questions To Use For Class Closing Activities — What Are Yours?

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'52 Photos-Week 52- Endings' photo (c) 2013, aussiegall - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

(NOTE: This post was not originally a “Best…” list — it was one where I shared some of my ideas and invited readers to share their own. Since that time, a number of readers have contributed suggestions, so I’ve revised it to include their ideas, which can be found in the second half of the the post)

I’ve previously written about research on the importance of “good endings.” It’s a priority for me to end my classes on an upbeat note, but I’ve been thinking lately that I might be able to enhance its benefit to students if I’m a bit more intentional about it with a regular formal closing activity that might take a minute or two. I’ve certainly often done this, but I’m going to try doing it more like 70-80% of the time instead of its present 50%.

I just give students a question to answer as sort of an “exit slip.” However, what I’d like to try is developing a fairly lengthy list of good questions — a “question bank,” so to speak — and see what happens if I give them the freedom to choose one of the questions (with the caveat, of course, that they can’t just pick the same one over and over again).

So I thought I’d share the questions that I use (many which I shared in my book, Helping Students Motivate Themselves) and invite readers to contribute the ones they use. Then I’ll create a document (giving credit to those who contributed questions) that I’ll post on this blog and that I suspect will be distributed widely.

This seems to me to be a perfect opportunity for some “crowdsourcing.”

Here are the questions from my book and others I use that I didn’t include there (one or two may have come from Rick Wormeli):

* What are two things you learned ?
* What is the most interesting thing you’ve learned?
* Imagine a simile or a metaphor about what we learned .
* Think of one thing you have learned in class that you can apply in another class or another part of your life. What is it, and how can you apply it?
* What was your favorite activity in class ? Why?
* What was your least favorite activity in class ? Why?
* What would you tell your parents or guardians you did in class ?
* How would you teach one thing you learned to your little brother or sister (even if you don’t have one)?

These next questions are from Harvard’s Project Zero:

* How does something you learned connect to what you already knew?
* How did it extend your thinking further?
* What questions do you still have?

Here are some more shared by Zane Dickey, an IB teacher in Africa:

How will this help you change the world for the better?
How does this lesson help you to be an upstander?
How can you apply this lesson to your own life in a meaningful way?
What specifically would you add to this lesson that would appeal to you?
What Way of Knowing (WOK) did you utilize most ?
How did this lesson make you feel and why?
Summarize this lesson or skills learned in one sentence while smiling.

The next questions are taken from 2007 Foundation for Critical thinking Press http://www.criticalthinking.org

What did you learn that will help you act reasonably and effectively in your life?
How will this help you become a more proficient reader, writer, speaker, listener?
How will it help you improve the quality of your life and the lives of others?
How will it make you become reasonable and a fair-minded person?
How will it help you use your reasoning skills to contribute to your own emotional life and that of others?
How will it help you think, feel, and act effectively and with integrity?

@poida writes: Here’s 2: What was the best part of class “? What would you like to learn more about in this class?

Elizabeth Stein suggests this post from Ideas For Educators.

Leave your questions in the comments or tweet them to me….

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

4 Comments

  1. How will this help you change the world for the better?
    How does this lesson help you to be an upstander?
    How can you apply this lesson to your own life in a meaningful way?
    What specifically would you add to this lesson that would appeal to you?
    What Way of Knowing (WOK) did you utilize most today?
    How did this lesson make you feel and why?
    Summarize this lesson or skills learned in one sentence while smiling.

    The next questions are taken from 2007 Foundation for Critical thinking Press http://www.criticalthinking.org

    What did you learn that will help you act reasonably and effectively in your life?
    How will this help you become a more proficient reader, writer, speaker, listener?
    How will it help you improve the quality of your life and the lives of others?
    How will it make you become reasonable and a fair-minded person?
    How will it help you use your reasoning skills to contribute to your own emotional life and that of others?
    How will it help you think, feel, and act effectively and with integrity?

  2. I love these kinds of questions that get students to reflect on their learning in a way that solidifies it and helps them to see the relevance. One question that I started asking my students after group activities or projects recently is “Which of your classmates’ would you want to emulate? Why?”

    After a conversation about what the word “emulate” means, I go around the class and they positively recognize their classmates. I can not tell you how much this has done to bring out the more quiet students that are recognized and eliminate teasing and bickering.

    I got the idea from Carol Dweck’s word of a Growth Mindset vs a Fixed Mindset (I know that followers of this blog are familiar with the theory!) One of the components of a Growth Mindset is seeing the success of others and using those successful others as role models versus feeling threatened by the success of others. With my middle schoolers I call that being a “secret hater”. Asking students who they would like to emulate really gets them to see each other as positive role models! You can take a look at the introductory lesson that I use to teach this concept at http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Motivation-Mini-lesson-Mindset-Theory-Learn-how-to-fail-835842

  3. I am going to take some of these questions and create a standing “Exit Form” in Google forms and have it linked to my website. Students when assigned an exit ticket, can choose which question they would like to answer for the day and do that one. I might create a couple of different forms and have different questions available that way I know students will not be answering any of the same ones all the time, but the sort feature in the spreadsheet after they take it will reveal that easily as well. Great questions! Thanks so much!

    I might add one – what would you like to learn about in our class?

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