Lesson Closure - 54 Ways to Leave a Lesson

Lesson Closure with Examples


54 Ways to Leave a Lesson

CLOSURE - what the instructor does to facilitate wrap-up at the end of the lesson - it is a quick review, to remind students what it was that they have learned (or should have learned) and allows you to see where the students are to assist you in planning for the next lesson.

The intellectual work should be done by the students – not the instructor summarizing for the students and telling them what they learned. 

Closure allows students to summarize main ideas, evaluate class processes, answer questions posed at the beginning of the lesson, and link to both the past and the future, or in other words – MAKE MEANING.

Closure is an opportunity for formative assessment and helps the instructor decide:

  1. if additional practice is needed
  2. whether you need to re-teach
  3. whether you can move on to the next part of the lesson

Closure comes in the form of information from students about what they learned during the class; for example, a restatement of the instructional purpose. This information then provides a knowledge of the results for the teacher, i.e., did you teach what you intended to teach and have the students learned what you intended to have them learn?

Lesson Closing in a nutshellcan be one or some combination of the purposes below.It should be a meaningful end to the lesson.

• Reviewing the key points of the lesson.

• Giving students opportunities to draw conclusions from the lesson.

• Describing when the students can use this new information.

• Previewing future lessons.

• Demonstrating student’s problem-solving process.

• Exhibiting student learning.

• Creating a smooth transition from one lesson to the next lesson.


Synopsis – (note: most of these work best in group settings and benefit from the synergy of a well functioning group)

  1. Cornell Notes

Notes can be used in a variety of ways.  Completing the summary, checking with a partner for completeness, comparing to teacher’s idea of what the key ideas were.  http://coe.jmu.edu/learningtoolbox/cornellnotes.html

  1. Journal Entry

Each day students write about 3 questions What did I learn today, this connects to what I know about, What I learned about today can help me later when (use of a journal could incorporate most of these other closure examples) http://content.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=3583

  1. Exit Pass

Student must answer in writing questions or reflect in some way about the learning before being allowed to leave the room.

Math example – work a question from the material covered during the lesson, use as formative assessment for the following day, sort into piles: got it/ didn’t get it or minor errors / conceptual errors


J  I really understood this idea…

K  I have a few questions about…  before I can say I understand

L  I don’t even know where to start on …


!  I am excited about…

:  I’d like to learn more about…

?  a questions I have is…


    This point is really clear

    One thing that squares with things I already know is…

    An idea that is still going around in my head is…


  1. You’re stuck here until…

This is a variation of the exit pass and great for a 90-30 second gap before dismissal.   Depending on time, have students discuss the day’s vocabulary and then they have to define one word in their own words, to you, before they go out the door.  If they are having difficulty, have them step to the side and listen to several other students and then try again.  This should be framed in good humor, not in a punitive way.

  1. 3-2-1

3 things they learned, 2 things they have a question about, 1 thing they want the instructor to know – post-its, index cards, whatever


  1. Whip Around

Students quickly and verbally share one thing they learned in the class today.  You can have them toss a ball from one to another or just have volunteers.  (Caveat – you have to have a safe trusting environment.  I have seen this done where kids chose others based on their perception that the student won’t have anything to say.)


  1. Fishbowl

Student writes one question they have about the topic of this lesson.  This can be something for which they know the answer or for which they want an answer.  Form an inner and outer circle.  Share question with the person in front of you see if they know the answer, switch who is asking question, if time rotate to a new partner

  1. Summary Paragraph

What was learned today – be specific with examples!

  1. Explain a Procedure

Write to an absent student and explain how to ……..

  1. Here’s How…

Students write a detailed explanation of a procedure - with an example to demonstrate their understanding of the concept.  They then give their partner the un-worked example and the detailed instructions and have the partner work the example from the directions. Then they peer edit the procedures for clarity.


Students prepare a “cheat sheet” that would be useful for having during a quiz over the day’s topic.

  1. Three W’s

Students discuss or write

  • ·         What did we learn today ?
  • ·         So What ?(relevancy, importance, usefulness)
  • ·         Now What? (how does this fit into what we are learning, does it affect our thinking, can we predict where we are going)
  1. Pair / Share

Tell the person next to you 2 (3,4,5,…) things you have learned today, then the groups report out.

Variation is to have students Think/Write/Pair/ Share


  1. Gallery Walk

Students create graphic representations of their learning and post them.  Students can either share out the posters or students can move from station to station – writing questions or comments, noting similarities and differences, reflect on what they might do differently if they were to repeat the process.

  1. Choose from the Daily Dozen

Student choose two questions from a generic list to respond to about the day’s lesson.  (list at end of article)

  1. Quiz

Could be daily or intermittent.  2-4 questions to show what they learned.  Small individual whiteboards work well for a formative assessment and reduces the paperwork.  Don’t forget to ask conceptual questions!

  1. Thumbs Up / Thumbs down

Pose some questions that can be answered thumbs up/down/ sideways, ask for explanation of the decisions.

  1. Quick doodles

Doodle/draw two or three concepts presented in the lesson - -may include words or numbers.

  1. Key Ideas

Students list the key ideas from the lesson and why they were important.

  1. “What am I?” (riddles for key terms)

Have students construct clues (riddles) about the key terms and quiz partners or the room

  1. Jeopardy

Teacher gives answer. Students create the question.  This works well with dry erase boards.  http://www.hardin.k12.ky.us/res_techn/countyjeopardygames.htm

  1. Be Alex Trebek

Student poses answer/question to group about lesson –responses should come from other students, not the teacher

  1. Be the Teacher

Students present three key ideas they think everyone should have learned.  Could be done with a group or individually –responses can be either oral or written.

  1. The Five W’s

Students explain the who, what, where, when, why and how of the lesson.

  1. Credit Cards

Students are given an index card and required to state the lesson’s objective and if they feel that objective was met.  Credit given for participating.

  1. Postcard

Students are given an index card and they write a postcard to their parents explaining the day’s lesson.

  1. Pros and Cons

Students list pros and cons of the issue discussed in class (might be a challenge in a math class.)

  1. So What’s Up With ….?

Students raise questions about something they either were unsure about or need clarification.  Can be done orally or written.

  1. Quiz Master

Students prepare a short quiz (+ 5 questions with answers) At least 2 of the questions must start How…? or Why…?

  1. Journal Entry

Each day students write about 2 things they learned (use of a journal could incorporate most of these other closure examples.)


  1. I Care Why?

Students explain relevancy of the concept to their life or how they might use it.

  1. It Fits Where?

Students create a “time line “ of the concepts taught (sequence the concepts) or explain a connection to something else they know.


  1. Element of Surprise

Students receive an envelope containing a card with a word or phrase selected by the teacher.  Students discuss the concept and list the content-specific vocabulary necessary to discuss it.

  1. Numbered HeadsTogether

Students in groups of up to five are numbered sequentially.  As a group they create a list of 3-5 things learned in the lesson and then the teacher calls one number from each group to report to theclass something they learned.

  1. We Learned What?

Students write open ended questions on index cards.  Two students are selected to come forward. The first student draws a question card and poses the question to the class. After the class discusses the question and answers with their partner - the second student draws a student name card to respond to the question.  (These questions could also be used to launch the next day’s lesson.)

  1. We’re Going Where?

Students predict the topic of tomorrow’s lesson – be sure to refer to the predictions the next day as either an opener or in closure.

  1. It Looks Like This

An actual object or model  that directly relates to the lesson is shown and students explain how it connects to the day’s concept.

  1. Sell It To Us

Write a jingle that explains the main idea of the lesson Webmail.

  1. Commercial

Students write a 1 – 2 minute commercial to use at home when asked, “What happened in math class today?”

  1. 4 box synectics

Synectics connect unrelated ideas through metaphor.  Students have a sheet with four boxes.  In each box is a stem.  Solving equations in like eating and orange because…”  “Solving equations is like driving a car because…”

  1. Anticipation Guide

Students will evaluate 4-6 statements related to the lesson based upon prior knowledge (usually by labeling them True/False or Agree/Disagree) and revisit their responses at the end of the lesson after exposure to new information.

  1. Key Words

Select five key words used in the lesson.  Ask the students to try to identify these words and write them down.  Compare our key words to the students’ key words to see if they were able to identify the key ideas/concepts of the lesson.

  1. Outline

The teacher provides an outline that includes the main points of the lesson.  Students supply the details needed to complete the outline.

  1. Parking Lot Chart

As students raise questions and share ideas during the lesson, write them on the parking lot chart.  Revisit these questions at the end of the lesson, allowing students to answer questions and respond to others’ ideas.


  1. Semantic Mapping

Write a concept or phrase from the lesson on the chalkboard or on a chart.  Ask students to write words that relate to the concept or phrase around it.

  1. Footprints

Students are given a footprint on which they will write what new knowledge or understanding they are “walking away” from the lesson with.

  1. S-T-O-P Summary

Students summarize the lesson by completing the following sentences:  We Started the lesson…., the Topic was……, Our Opportunities for practice were…., the Purpose of the lesson was…

  1. Headlines

Students write news headlines for the lesson or topic discussed in class.  For example, “Compose a headline describing the results of today’s science experiment.”

  1. Pick a Card

Students write a question related to the lesson on index cards.  The cards are collected and placed in a container.  The teacher asks a student to select a card, read the question, and randomly call on another student to answer the question. 

  1. K-W-L chart

Students begin the lesson by listing everything they Know about a topic.  This information is recorded in the K column of the chart.  Students then generate a list of questions about what they Want to Know about the topic.  These questions are listed in the W column of the chart.  After the lesson, students answer the questions that are in the W column.  This new information that they have Learned is recorded in the L column of the KWL chart.

  1. Narrator

Videotape the lesson.  Play a segment of the lesson.  Turn down the volume and have students become narrators.  This could also be done with videos already in existence on the internet.  There are an abundance of youtube videos (khanacademy.org) and powerpoints that students could narrate already out there.

  1. Cl OSE R

Graphic organizer – Concept Learned, One Specific Example, Relevance (graphic at end of article)

  1. Create a chant

Groups construct a chant based on the military marching patterns

  1. SUPU

Stand up, pair up – pair based on some criteria and share an idea about the lesson you found interesting/confusing/worth remembering







Concept Learned – Restate the learning target or describe the skill/concept in your own words.


















One Specific Example – Complete a sample problem.  Show and explain all work.  Include diagrams and labels when applicable.



















Relevance – Explain how this math concept or skill relates to “real world” skills or career and/or make connections to other concepts you have explored.





































The Daily Dozen


1.)  The thing that made the most sense to me today was…

2.)  One thing that I just don’t understand is…

3.)  When someone asks me what I did in math today, I can say…

4.)  One thing I would like more information about is…

5.)  I need more examples of…

6.)  I enjoyed…

7.)  The most important concept that we discussed today was…

8.)  Today’s class would have been even better if we had…

9.)  I was confused by…

10.) The thing we did in class today that best fit my learning style was…

11.) The one thing the teacher did today that worked well for me was…

12.) The one thing the teacher did today that did not work well for me was…



Resources used

Kristine Lindeblad – Coach Extraordinaire

Terrific teachers at Grandview Middle and High Schools; Grandview, WA

OSPI Funded Math Coaches  2007-2010

About – Secondary Education Blog

Winning Through Student Participation in Lesson Closure.  Patricia Wolf and Viola Supon .  EDRS (ERIC)


Educators Reference Desk, How to write a lesson Plan

Recency and Primacy Effects | BrainU