How to Close Out a Lesson

Smiling students in classroom.
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Closing out your class lessons in a way that lets students review and reflect on what they've learned can help them see the concepts' value to their lives. It can also help teachers evaluate whether they learned the material and determine which lesson goals might need further review. Successful closure activities inspire students to give information about their overall comprehension using creative, interactive methods.

1 Give Students an Exit Pass

Letting students directly share how well they've grasped the day's concepts can help you determine how clear your lesson was. Give each student an index card and ask him to write down one thing he learned during the lesson and one thing he still has questions about. At the bottom of the card, ask them to rate how clear the lesson was to them on a scale of zero to 10, with 10 being the highest level of conception. You then can collect the cards from your students as they leave the room for the day and review them to gain a picture of the lesson's effects.

2 Let Students Teach the Concept

Letting the students explain the lesson immediately after class can help them retain information and begin practicing their new skills. Ask students to write letters to friends or family members that explain what they learned today. In their letters, students can teach the concept using any method that will help them recall the information later, including making diagrams and drawings, composing mnemonic devices and illustrating mathematical concepts with sample problems. You can collect the letters and review them to assess the class's comprehension of the lesson, and then pass them back for students to use as a study aid.

3 Use the Five W's

The journalistic five W's and one H -- who, what, when, where, why and how -- can make a useful tool in classroom discussions to close out lessons. Write each of these words on the board and ask for volunteers to share facts or concepts from the lesson that provide answers to the questions they pose. For example, a history class might use the five W's and H to fill in the primary details of a famous battle or cultural event, while a science class could use them to describe a chemical reaction or biological process. Students can write down the responses you put on the board and use them as notes for review.

4 Give One-Word Answers

As a writing exercise, close out your class by having students write down one word that they feel sums up the lesson. Then, ask for volunteers to share their words and explain why they chose them to represent the day's activities. As students discuss their words, write them on the board. If any words are repeated, ask other students who have different words written down to share their responses, until the class's body of words is represented on the list. This can help instructors immediately perceive how well the class understood the material, as well as let students practice explaining the concept to their classmates.

Kori Morgan holds a Bachelor of Arts in professional writing and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and has been crafting online and print educational materials since 2006. She taught creative writing and composition at West Virginia University and the University of Akron and her fiction, poetry and essays have appeared in numerous literary journals.