Weekly Teaching Tip | Closing Routines: Clearing Up
November 20, 2007
Try to end your classes with routines that help students know what to take from the experience. You can best use the last few minutes to consolidate ideas and set the stage for the next meeting. Squeezing in additional information isn't as effective in ensuring retention as reinforcing, summarizing, and reconnecting students to the important material. Consider using one or more of these techniques to 'clear up' the material you covered:
- Minute Paper: Give students one minute to write down the main point of the lesson. Have them briefly discuss their ideas with their neighbors. You can collect and respond to their comments.
- Journal Entry: Ask students to write a journal response to the lesson for several minutes.
- Complete Grids: Give students an outline or grid that pulls key ideas and information together. Have them spend several minutes completing parts you deliberately left out.
- Application Cards: Have students list 2-3 applications of the material and apply the lesson to everyday settings.
- Exam Questions: Put on the whiteboard or screen one or two questions from your test bank that are related to the lesson. Give students a couple minutes to discuss possible answers.
- Debriefing: Ask students to think about what worked for them in the lesson (and what didn't). Have them discuss and write down one suggestion for themselves and one for you.
- Feedback: Gather targeted feedback during the last few minutes of a class. A short survey can tell you how things are going.
(Source: Center for Teaching and Learning, Indiana University)