(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?
@Larryferlazzo I’ve always loved “what are the three takeaway points from today. If YOU were to write a quiz on today, what would you ask?”
— Jessica Lahey (@jesslahey) September 23, 2013
The 8 Minutes That Matter Most also appeared in Edutopia.
Ten Reflective Questions to Ask at the End of Class is by Angela Stockman.
The Purposeful Pause: 10 Reflective Questions to Ask Mid-Lesson is by Angela Stockman.
Exit Slips is from Read Write Think.
— Vicki Davis (@coolcatteacher) November 29, 2015
— edutopia (@edutopia) December 28, 2015
22 Powerful Closure Activities is by Todd Finley at Edutopia.
Bringing closure to a lesson is from On The Same Page.
8 Reflective Questions To Help Any Student Think About Their Learning is from Teach Thought.
— Todd Finley (@finleyt) May 6, 2018
NEW 60-Second Strategy: Build community in the classroom with “Appreciation, Apology, Aha!” pic.twitter.com/l5dqifw2XG
— edutopia (@edutopia) August 14, 2018
🤔Did you know that students remember best what comes🥇1st &🥈best what comes last. Closing activities matter & reflection is one of them! @michelleshory & I created💡examples of reflections based on Blooms to help #ELs process & remember new content.
— Irina McGrath, Ph.D. (@irina_mcgrath) May 3, 2022
Establishing Opening and Closing Routines is from Facing History.
10 Powerful Ways to End Your Lessons is from Edutopia.
3 Simple Yet Powerful Ways to Build Relationships With Your Students is from Edutopia. This is the primary passage I found useful:
Another approach is the One Minute Accolade. Students think about something they appreciated from class: something they learned, something that went particularly well, someone they want to thank, something they’re grateful for. When they come up with something, they raise their hand. Once a good number of students have their hands raised, I set a timer for one minute. They take turns sharing their accolades until the timer rings, ending class on a positive note.
Power Up the Learning in the Last Minutes of Class is from Middleweb.
Leave your questions in the comments or tweet them to me….