60 Active-Learning Strategies to Close a Class

Decorative: "Ways to Close Your Lesson" with an owl reading a book


A. "Lesson Closure: 50 Ways to Leave a Lesson" (pdf) uses a chart format to outline 50 active-learning, wrap-up strategies for the end of a lesson/class.

1. Benefits of Wrap-Up Activities

  • They show what students "have learned (or should have learned)."
  • They "allo[w] you to see where the students are to assist you in planning for the next lesson" and whether "additional practice is needed," "whether you need to re-teach," "whether you can move on to the next part of the lesson."
  • "The intellectual work [is] done by the students – not the instructor summarizing for the students and telling them what they learned."
  • "[S]tudents ... summarize main ideas, evaluate class processes, answer questions posed at the beginning of the lesson, and link to both the past and the future, or in other words - make meaning."

2. Included Lesson Closure Techniques (with Synopses & Examples)

  • Cornell Notes
  • Journal Entry (3 questions)
  • Exit Pass
  • Examples
  • "You’re stuck here until…"
  • 3-2-1
  • Whip Around
  • Fishbowl
  • Summary Paragraph
  • Explain a Procedure
  • "Here’s How…"
  • Cheat Sheet
  • Three W’s
  • Pair/ Share
  • Gallery Walk
  • Quiz
  • Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down
  • Quick Doodles
  • Key Ideas
  • “What Am I?” ("riddles for key terms" ... [very Old English])
  • Jeopardy
  • "Be Alex Trebek"
  • "Be the Teacher"
  • Pros and Cons
  • "So, What’s Up With ….?"
  • Quiz Master
  • Journal Entry (2 things learned)
  • "I Care Why?"
  • "Element of Surprise"
  • "Numbered Heads Together"
  • "We Learned What?"
  • "We’re Going Where?"
  • "Sell It to Us"
  • Commercial
  • "4 Box Synectics"
  • "Anticipation Guide"
  • Key Words
  • Outline
  • "Parking Lot Chart"
  • "Semantic Mapping"
  • "Footprints"
  • "S-T-O-P Summary"
  • Headlines
  • "Pick a Card"
  • K-W-L Chart"
  • "Narrator"
  • CLOSER ("Concept Learned, One Specific Example, Relevance")
  • "Create a chant" [You never forget what you sing ...]
  • "The Daily Dozen"

B. A Few More

  • "Postcards – Have students write a post card to an absent student explaining the key ideas presented  in the day’s lesson."
  • "What’s Inside – This can be done individually, with a partner or in small groups.  Students get a sealed envelope that contains a slip of paper with a topic, vocabulary word or problem written on it.  Students then have to explain, describe, or solve the the contents of the envelope."
  • "60 Seconds -- Choose a few students and give each 60 seconds to speak about something you’ve covered that day."
  • "Write an Email -- Ask students to imagine they have to write an email to a friend or family member and tell them what they did today in their ESL class. Students have a chance to summarize what they’ve learned in written form." 
  • "Snowstorm -- Students write down what they learned on a piece of scratch paper and wad it up. Given a signal, they throw their paper snowballs in the air. Then each learner picks up a nearby response and reads it aloud." [Be sure to tidy these up before you leave the classroom!]
  • "Sequence It -- Students can quickly create timelines with Timetoast to represent the sequence of a plot or historical events."
  • "Dramatize It -- Have students dramatize a real-life application of a skill."
  • "Beat the Clock -- Ask a question. Give students ten seconds to confer with peers before you call on a random student to answer. Repeat."
  • "Elevator Pitch -- Ask students to summarize the main idea in under 60 seconds to another student acting as a well-known personality who works in your discipline. After summarizing, students should identify why the famous person might find the idea significant."
  • "Out-of-the-Door Activity -- After writing down the learning outcome, ask students to take a card, circle one of the following options, and return the card to you before they leave: Stop (I'm totally confused.), Go (I'm ready to move on.), Proceed with caution (I could use some clarification on...). Download the PDF cards for this exercise. (Source: Eduscapes)

C. See Also

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