Inspired by Tracy Zager‘s keynote at Twitter Math Camp 2016 a group of teachers across grade levels are committing to Tweet, blog, plan, and share resources around the important idea of closing the lesson.

On the #LessonClose hashtag there have already been some great lists of closing structures, and some blogs that reflect more deeply on the logistics, timing, purpose, and value of closing routines.

I thought it might be nice to have an open thread for reflecting on some of the resources shared. Speaking of which, there’s a Google Drive Folder of all the resources shared on the #LessonClose hashtag.

Here’s what I’m thinking about: we’ve started to identify some different decisions that have to be made about Lesson Closes. What other decision points are out there? How do you personally weigh these? What tools do you like to use?

Timing: How long do your closes take? How do you make time for them? What do you do when you need a short closer? A longer one? What lessons need longer closers? Could a whole lesson be the close from a previous series of lessons?…

Public/Private: When do students get to see each others’ closers? When not? How do you decide? What tools/routines do you use to public closing/private closing? Are private closers always more for the teacher than the student? Are public closers always more for the students than the teachers? How do you decide whether a lesson needs a closer that’s more for your formative assessment purposes and when the whole group needs a closing experience?

Tools: Do you use journals? Exit slips? Poster paper? Sticky notes? Technology? Is the technology more like a quiz or a poll (e.g. Kahoot, Socrative, Poll Everywhere) or more like a place where notes/journals can be made public (e.g. blogs, Desmos Activity Builder, Google Docs, or Evernote)? How are the tools you choose informed by timing and public/privateness?

Oral or written: New evidence shows that the act of writing changes the learning that happens (and that handwriting and typing are cognitively different too). What are the considerations that go into choosing an oral closer like a class discussion or think-pair-share vs. a written one like a journal or exit ticket? Also, what kinds of activities straddle the space between oral and written (e.g. think-write-share or gallery walks)

Open vs. Specific (New from David Wees): There might be several different ideas in here. One is open-ended prompts for students vs. questions with answers (which could range from solving problems and showing work to multiple choice Poll Everywhere type prompts). Another is what I think of as “reusable” prompts vs. specific ones. For example, almost any lesson could end with “How does what we learned today connect to something you already know?” Or “What new wonderings do you have based on today’s lesson?” Or “Based on today’s lesson, what do you think we will do tomorrow?”. But only one specific lesson could end with, “David solved the brownie problem using a table, and Shelly solved it using a pattern that she noticed after a few guesses. Copy some rows of David’s table into your notebook that you think show the pattern Shelly noticed. Use words and arrows to describe how Shelly’s pattern shows up in David’s table.”

Types of Reflection Questions (New from David Wees): David started us off with some examples, and I brainstormed some more:

  • Reflecting on what you do and don’t understand (e.g. “One thing I learned… One thing I am wondering”, or rating your understanding on a scale or stoplight)
  • Predicting what will happen next
  • Listing new questions that have come up
  • Summarizing
  • Taking a stance on a controversial topic (e.g. based on today’s lesson, what is your answer now to the question “Is the answer to a multiplication problem always greater than the numbers in the problem?”)
  • Connecting representations
  • Solving a new problem using a suggested strategy (or multiple strategies)
  • Teaching/explaining a procedure
  • Reflecting on personal feeling about the lesson (e.g. what was hard/what was easy)
  • Connecting strategies (from Intentional Talk)
  • Troubleshooting a common error/error analysis (from Intentional Talk)
    • Also finding the hidden error/mistake game (from many blogs and tweets)
  • Attempting to justify a conclusion that was drawn (from Intentional Talk)
  • Attempting to clarify or put in your own words a strategy or concept or argument from the lesson (from Intentional Talk)

What other dimensions are there? How do you think about them? Would these be useful dimensions for organizing lesson closing activities?