Beyond the Exit Slip: Closure Activities for Classroom Instruction

Have you ever been so engrossed in teaching that the time just escaped from under you?  Or your students have to remind you that class is over because you lost track of time?  

I recently finished reading the book Teach Like a Champion by Doug Lemov.  In regards to lesson planning and execution, Lemov said that closure is vital to a lesson.  Too many times, teachers look at the clock and realize there is one minute left to the lesson, students might already be packing up to go to their next class.  How can teachers better plan and execute closure to wrap-up the day’s lesson up and review the key points of the lesson?

Initially, in the lesson planning closure is included, but when time runs out, closure is the first thing to be omitted.  Closure is important in the execution of a good lesson.  Closure is important because it is a formative assessment that allows the teacher gauge what students have learned and if additional practice is needed or re-teaching is necessary.  Essentially, it tells the teacher whether or not the students are ready to move on.  Closure is work that is done by the students, not the teacher summarizing the key points of the lesson.

One of the most popular (and over used) closure techniques I have seen is the “Exit Slip” and one that is mentioned  in Teach Like a Champion.  The idea of the Exit Slip or Exit Ticket is that students need to answer a question in order to leave the classroom.  This a good way to end the lesson, but I want to share some more ideas to help add variety to closure activities.

1. 3-2-1  – Students write down on a note card 3 things they learned from today’s lesson, 2 questions they have about the topic and 1 thing want the teacher to know from today’s lesson.

2. Quiz – Of course a teacher can create a quick multiple choice quiz to asses student’s understanding, BUT it’s more fun if students create their own quiz questions.  Students can quiz each other or the teacher can compile all the quiz questions and create a quiz for the beginning of tomorrow’s lesson.

3. Journal Entry – Have students do a quickwrite or summary of what they learned.

4. Postcards – Have students write a post card to an absent student explaining the key ideas presented  in the day’s lesson.

5. Pair/Share – “Tell the person next to you . . .” Have students verbally summarize main ideas, answer questions posed at the beginning of a lesson, and link both past and future lessons. 

6. Doodles – Students can sketch or draw 3 concepts they learned from the lesson using words or images.

7. Gallery Walk – Students create a graphic organizer or infographic to represent their learning.  Students then post them on the wall for students to get up and view different visual representations of understanding.

8. What’s Inside – This can be done individually, with a partner or in small groups.  Students get a sealed envelope that contains a slip of paper with a topic, vocabulary word or problem written on it.  Students then have to explain, describe, or solve the the contents of the envelope. 

Remember, the closure of a lesson should be meaningful.  The purpose of closure is to review the key points of the lesson, give students the opportunity to draw conclusions and show what they know.

10 thoughts on “Beyond the Exit Slip: Closure Activities for Classroom Instruction

  1. Jared Ward says:

    Thanks for this post. It was just what I was looking for in preparing my own blog post about exit surveys. I really like your ideas about making the closure activities meaningful for students. Thanks again.

    Mind if I share a link to your post on our website?

  2. Thanks! I appreciate your time and your work. I’ll definitely check back to read your thought on pre-assessments. Thanks again for sharing. Here’s the post I wrote where I quoted your story: http://cnyns.org/T7hmJy

  3. […] of my most popular posts this past spring was about alternative closure activities beyond the exit slip strategy.  After seeing the K-W-L activity (A brainstorm of what students know, what they want to […]

  4. gotea.org says:

    Might you have more topics similar to this particular 1 termed, Beyond the Exit Slip:
    Closure Activities for Classroom Instruction The
    Teaching Factor? I actually desire to read even much more about
    it. Thanks.

    • I am happy to help you with more information. Tell me what exactly you would like to read more about and how I can help you. Are you looking for more closure activities and ideas or additional posts that I have written about other aspects of lesson planning?

  5. […] most popular posts were “Beyond the Exit Slip” and “The Edscape […]

  6. Sheryl says:

    These are great ideas! Do you have any other closure activities geared towards high school-aged students?

    • Some of the exit strategies that I have been using lately involve technology. If your school allows cell phones and ipads for teachers and students, they can be valuable tools to collect data for lesson closure. These exit slips are also perfect for high school-aged students. Here are some possible technology based exit slips, using the camera on your phone or ipad, video record your students telling you 3 things they learned from the day’s lesson. This can be quick as they are walking out the door. Students can also use their phones to take a quick poll or survey answering three questions you create using an online poll generator like poll everywhere or polldaddy. The only thing with these poll generators is that you cannot keep track of who sent you which answers. Wikis, edmodo, and twitter can also be used as an exit slip and back channel for students to post questions or reflections after class. You can have your students tweet you questions or key ideas presented in the lesson. Make sure all students are using a hashtag you create so that the tweets stay together. For example you might have your students tweet you, “If you were to have a pop quiz tomorrow on X, what might be one of the questions your teacher might ask based on what you learned today? #RHS138″ Twitter and Edmodo allow you to track the conversations online and who said what.

      Hope these ideas are worth a try in your classroom. Have a great start of the school year.

  7. Rosemary says:

    Terrific post however I was wondering if you could write a litte more on this subject?
    I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit further.
    Bless you!

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