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  • Writer's pictureJim Mercer

SamTastic Weekly Tip: 4/3/23 - Productive Endings

This week’s tip: Productive Endings


Good teachers do not ignore the end of the lesson. Many leaders help teachers think through how they can capitalize on the work students do during the lesson by using an exit slip, assigning homework or discussing how the content connected with earlier or future work.


Kim Marshall, The Marshall Memo, summarized ten creative ways to productively end a lesson author Andrew Boryga shared in an Edutopia article last week:


  • A two-dollar summary – Each word is worth ten cents, so the challenge is for students to sum up what they just learned in just 20 words – perhaps including certain words. Alternatively, students are asked to explain key concepts as they would to a first grader.

  • Six-word headlines – Pairs of students summarize the most important idea or concept they learned in six-word newspaper-like banner headlines. Alternatively, each student writes their own headlines and then they work on combining them, or the whole class collaborates to formulate a single headline.

  • Making your classroom a beach – On a large plastic beach ball, the teacher writes several reflective questions (for example, What was challenging about today’s lesson? What was the most important thing you learned?). As the ball bounces around the room, on a signal, the student whose thumb is closest to a question answers it.

  • Quiz the next class – Students use Kahoot! to generate multiple-choice questions for other classes studying the same material.

  • Rock, paper, scissors – In this variation on the familiar game, students identify rocks – the hardest parts of the lesson – paper – distilling the main idea – and scissors – less-important material they believe could be trimmed and discarded.

  • Clear and cloudy – In an exit ticket, students write what was clear about the lesson and what they’re having trouble understanding.

  • Traffic light – Students use three sticky notes to write one thing they learned in the lesson, one thing they’re still mulling over, and one thing they’re struggling to understand, and on their way out, they put the notes (respectively) on the green, yellow, and red parts of a large picture of a traffic light.

  • One-word closure – Students stand in a circle and take turns responding to a prompt like, What’s one word to describe how you’re feeling about the day? or What’s one word that stands out to you from our lesson?

  • Appreciation, apology, Aha! – Students gather in a circle at day’s end and share what they appreciated that day, an apology they’d like to deliver, and an epiphany.

  • Video journals – At the end of a curriculum unit, students create short, light-hearted video summaries of important learnings using a free app like ChatterPix.

To read the entire article: “10 Powerful Ways to End Your Lessons”


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