Wrapping up a lesson can be one of the hardest parts of teachers' planning because it's difficult to gauge how much time will be left and difficult to come up with a quick activity that will be meaningful. Keeping a list of closing activities on hand can be helpful for those last few minutes so you're never caught off guard and so students understand to focus all the way until the end of class. Some closure activities work for any age group or ability level.
Have students keep a notebook especially for closure activities where they can keep a log. At the end of a lesson, when you have time for a follow-up activity or while some students are still cleaning up and others need a quick task, write a question on the board for them to answer. This can be something related to the lesson such as, "What was your favorite part of today's class?" Even young children could come up with one sentence about the lesson as a reflection or draw a picture instead of write.
Ticket out of Class
Keep students working until the last minute of class by asking for a "ticket" out of the classroom. Instruct them to think of one question that could be used on a test or quiz over the day's lesson and give it to you on their way out the door. You could also ask them to think of one additional thing they would like to learn about the day's topic; then, when you create quizzes and plan for future lessons, you can incorporate their ideas, which will give students a feeling of empowerment.
Getting to Know You
At the beginning of the school year, give students an index card, and have them write down three things about themselves that they don't think anyone in the class knows about them. Keep the cards easily accessible so you can grab them when you have an extra few minutes at the end of the day to play a getting-to-know-your-peers game. Choose a card at random and read the first clue; if no one guesses correctly, read the second and then the third. Students will learn about their classmates and will be paying attention to see if you draw their card.
Rate Today's Class
When you don't have time for students to write anything down, you can ask students to put their heads down and ask them to rate the day's lesson. Ask them to hold up five fingers if they really enjoyed it and four if it was very good, for example. Alternatively, ask students how much they felt they learned that day and to hold up five fingers if they learned a lot, down to one if they didn't learn anything new.
Suzanne Akerman began writing in 2000. She has worked as a consultant at Pacific Lutheran University's Writing Center and her works have been published in the creative arts journal "Saxifrage." Akerman holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master of Arts in education from Pacific Lutheran University.