We all understand the importance of leading in a topic and making sure that students are focused and are ready to learn. That’s why most ESL teachers tend to focus their energy on warm-ups and ice breakers. More often than not, end of lesson activities are neglected.
Sometimes, we are too engrossed in teaching that when we look at the time, we realize that there’s only so much time left so we just go ahead and summarize the key points of the lesson and tell the students what they have learned for the day. When we do this, we do not only give an abrupt ending, but we also rob students the chance to reflect on what they have gleaned from our lesson.
No matter how brilliant the beginning and middle of the lesson had been, there still needs to be a strong closure otherwise students will leave our class feeling a little confused. Closure is the time when students make connections and better remember what they have learned.
Here are some examples of closure activities that I like to do in my class. These can be used for the remaining three to five minutes of class time:
Sum it up
Ask students to summarize the day’s lessons by:
- writing a paragraph or two; or
- drawing a web or mind map about the lesson’s content.
Show a list of vocabulary words you discussed today and ask students to choose 5 and write down them down on their notebook. Give the definition of a random word from the list but don’t say the word itself. If students think they have the word you defined, they tick it. The first student to tick all 5 words they had chosen shouts BINGO and wins the game.
Make a very short wrap up quiz on Kahoot and watch students review the lesson while having fun! Use the remaining time to let students respond to a survey question.
Challenge the Teacher
Let students make up questions for you to answer about today’s lesson. In turn, you can ask them higher order questions to see if they can beat you.
A good way to end the lesson is to ask students to produce something either written or spoken in order to leave the room. This strategy is well-known as Exit Ticket where student give you something as they exit the door. This can be done in many different ways:
- Ask the students to tell you orally one or two new vocabulary words they have learned from your class today.
- Ask the student to self-rate their understanding and write down one or two things they would like to know more about in the next lesson.
- Write questions or vocabulary words on 10 sticky notes and hide them under random desks. Students who sit where the post-it notes are will answer the questions before leaving the room.
Round Robin is a brainstorming technique that encourages contributions from all participants. Ask students to form a circle and then start by giving a review question (e.g What have you learned today? or Share one vocabulary you have learned today.). Working clockwise, each one will verbally give an answer until a full circle has been completed. Since each student can only give one thing, this gives more students a chance to respond.
This really works well with elementary and middle school kids. Ask students to write a question about the day’s lesson on a piece of paper. Tell them to crumple up the paper and have a “snowball fight.” After a few seconds, ask students to pick up one paper and face a partner.They will read the question and share the answer with each other. Repeat until the bell rings.
Think, Pair, Share!
Think, Pair, Share! is good closure activity to go beyond vocabulary words. Since most lessons in ESL are theme-based (e.g Food, Countries, Family and Friends), you can ask a higher level question about the topic for this activity.
- Give students 2 minutes to think about their response to the question.
- Let them pair up or face their partner.
- Give 3 minutes to share their answer with each other!
You can also make journal writing a routine for closure. Students can write 3-5 vocabulary words and use them in a sentence. They can also answer a reflective question about the topic you discussed. The bottomline is to always give them a chance to reflect about the lessons you teach.
Students toss a ball from one to another. The student who catches the ball will quickly give one thing he/she learned in the class today. A variation is to pass the ball counterclockwise while a music is playing. Whoever is holding the ball when you pause the music will verbally share something.
Ask students to write a question on a scratch paper about today’s topic. Collect all the papers and put them in a bowl. Ask a volunteer to pick one paper from the container. Let him/her read out and answer the question. Continue until the time is over.
When students understand that the end of lesson activities are an integral part of your overall lesson, they are more likely to think twice before packing up to go to their next class!
If you have a favorite closure activity, please let us know in the comments!