Wednesday, August 10, 2016

#MTBoSBlaugust: Beginnings and Endings

A year or two ago, Edutopia published an article, The 8 Minutes that Matter Most. In the article the author writes, "That is the crux of lesson planning right there -- endings and beginnings. If we fail to engage students at the start, we may never get them back. If we don't know the end result, we risk moving haphazardly from one activity to the next. Every moment in a lesson plan should tell."

As a teacher, I have to admit ... I worked on the beginnings much more than the endings.  Capturing students' attention at the beginning was essential.  And I guess I let the closure go because I monitor progress informally all through the lesson.

There are so many engaging warm-up ideas.  Desmos card sorts are my new favorite.  Then there are a wide range of other possibilities like Estimation 180, Solve Me Mobiles, Which One Doesn't Belong, Visual Patterns, Daily Desmos, Graphs of the Week, Math Talks, Fraction Talks and more!  Do you use these websites for warm-ups?

One idea from the Edutopia article noted above is using a YouTube video.  I tried this fairly often this past year.  Here are a few of the videos I used.  Another idea expressed by the Edutopia author is to have students write.  This is one I didn't use enough!  I envision students opening a math journal at the start of class and responding to a prompt.  I found this list of 150 essential questions online.  I'm sure there are many other math journal prompts!

So what about closures?!?

The most popular is the exit ticket.  Shelli has created an awesome set of prompts for exit tickets ... check them out here.  Her prompts could be used not just for exit tickets but also for journal writing!

Here are a few other ideas ... 

The Stoplight Method is one that works ... students can post a response to a prompt as they are leaving.  Check out this one minute video description.

Around the Room is another one ... students pass a ball around the room, stating one thing they learned that day.

What's Inside ... pairs/groups of students receive an envelope ... inside could be a vocabulary word, a concept, a problem.  Students explain the connection to the lesson.

There are many more.  Check out these lists:
Tips on Leaving a Lesson Effectively

In my Twitter feed, the suggestion to start the next lesson with a closure to the previous one was mentioned. @LeeanneBranham shared one that works well for her:
So ... beginnings, endings ... even psychology tells us they are significant ... primacy and recency effect.

What ideas do you have to share?  How do you reserve 5 to 10 minutes for closure consistently?


  1. Thank you for the links! Closure is so tough, so I appreciate your help and ideas!