A Reader Asks… Lesson Closure

A teacher asks the following question.

 

SC,

 

My fellow teachers and I have a question.

Our district is focusing on Lesson Closure. Administration states Lesson Closure must occur at the end of class… Period.

 

As math teachers, it makes sense for us to do the “I will” or Lesson Closure at the end of the lecture / demonstration. Then we let our students have work time so they can answer practice problems. Then at the end of the class period, we wrap up the class with a summary of what we taught and the students give us a thumbs up/down.

 

We believe that Lesson Closure comes more naturally and meaningfully for us at the end of the lecture / demonstration, but our administration, none of which taught math, disagree.

 

Can you shed some light on this situation? This has truly turned into a source of stress for us rather than the awesome tool that it should be.

Thanks!!!

 

SC Response

First, let’s all take a deep breath. No reason to get stressed.

 

Second, based on what is described, both sides can be correct.  Let me explain.

 

I checked your bell schedule and your campus is running a 7-period day, with 54-minute class periods. Not the optimal schedule, but a lot better than an eight or nine period day (which is entirely another blog post or six).

 

I will assume that in your typical class, there is a lecture / demonstration, followed by some guided practice, followed by some individual practice and then the bell rings. Which means there are regular, discrete transition points throughout the period.

 

At each transition point, there should be small group purposeful talk opportunity. Essentially, a mini-close that ensures that students take enough from the concluding segment of the lesson into the new segment to be successful.  For example, at the transition point between your direct teach and guided practice, you could have students quickly discuss any of the following: Main Idea; Critical Facts; Look For’s: Explanations.

 

At the transition point between guided practice and individual practice, you could have students quickly discuss any of the following: Steps; Process; Patterns; Strategies; Connections.

 

Then at the end of the class, after students have been taught and have practiced, when their brains are most alert, CLOSE THE LESSON.  This is the moment where the best student thinking can occur. Great CLOSING prompts are: Compare; Contrast; Connect; What If; How Do You Know; Summarize.

 

The Close should take 2 to 5-minutes (at the low end for talking and the high end for writing). In high school, each academic class should have a written Close at least three times a week.  Luckily, your 54-minute class period provides plenty of time to do this.

 

Thanks for asking about this and I hope this helps.

 

P.S.

 

I’m a former high school math teacher.

 

Think. Work. Achieve.

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