April 21, 2016
Closure is often the most forgotten element of any lesson plan. However, if we start thinking about closure based on the brain and how students learn best, closure suddenly is anything but an afterthought. Webster et al. (2009) state that because “students remember best what is presented last, the lesson closure is commonly identified as an important component of effective teaching…” (p.73). There are two parts to any good closure - the work students have to do (the “they” piece) and the work teachers have to do (the “you” piece). A third element critical to lesson closure is making it part of the daily routine.
3 Timely Tips
1. The “They” Piece
At the end of a lesson students need the opportunity to draw conclusions about what they just learned and why. Daily closures give students time to synthesize and conceptualize what has been taught. Allowing students this opportunity is a great formative assessment and gives teachers information to plan for future instruction. There are countless ways to facilitate the “they” part of a closure from individual written reflections to partner sharing to kinesthetic activities (see Teaching Tool number two for specific activities).
2. The “You” Piece
The “you” part of the closure gives teachers the last word before students leave the lesson for the day. Teachers should review key points of the lesson and reiterate why the information is useful/meaningful to students’ lives. This is also an opportunity to clarify any misunderstandings students may have about what they have just learned. Finally, teachers should link the content from the day to future lessons.
3. Making It a Routine
A lesson closure is typically five to seven minutes and should take place daily. If teachers regularly include closure in their lessons, students will become accustomed to preparing for such during a lesson. This in turn will result in students becoming more actively engaged in the lesson, helping them conceptualize and process information, and they will become better skilled at forming and asking questions.
2 Teaching Tools
1. An Example of What Not to Do for Lesson Closure
The teacher in this video had good intentions for her lesson closure, but this would not be the closure teachers would want students to have on a daily basis. As you watch the clip, think about these questions.
- Are the students engaged in the closure?
- Do they have an opportunity to synthesize what they learned for the day?
- Does the teacher review the main points of the lesson?
- Is there enough time for the students to draw conclusions from the lesson?
2. Summarizing Activities to Use for Lesson Closure
This link provides an abundance of ideas to use for the “they” piece of lesson closures.
"Don't find fault -- find a remedy."
Henry Ford, Industrialist
Webster, C. A., Connolly, G., & Schempp, P. G. (2009). The finishing touch: Anatomy of expert lesson closures. Physical Education & Sport Pedagogy, 14(1), 73-87. doi:10.1080/17408980701712056