Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Closing Cup

Our school district has been encouraging teachers to use the three-part lesson as often as possible. In case you haven't heard of it, the basic idea is to break the class period into three parts.

Part 1-The Opening: The time to get kids thinking about the objective for the day, often done using a warm-up or hook of some kind.  This can also be the time when teachers introduce a new concept via mini-lesson.  

Part 2-The Work Session: When the learning/practice/student work takes place.

Part 3-The Closing: When what we've done for the day is summarized, hopefully by the students.

All of this sounds great until you realize you've got minutes left on the clock & it's closing time!!!  My solution?  The Closing Cup!!!

Step 1 
Get yourself a cup.  One of these will do just fine:
Unless you have something more fancy, of course!!
Step 2
Find some popsicle sticks!  I like the rainbow colored ones from my local Dollar Tree, but any kind will do.
Like I said, Dollar Tree baby!

Step 3
Write the names of different "closing" activities on each stick.  If you do a quick google search on closing activities you'll find tons of 'em! Here are a few of my favorites to get your started:

>Quiz Each Other or Pair/Share
This one is easy.  Have students pull out their notes/assignment from the day & quiz each other on the material.

>Test Question
Have students write down 1 potential test question from today's lesson.

Ask the kids an open ended question about today's lesson.  It may pertain to the content directly or it might have to do with them as a student (such as "What part of today's lesson was easiest/hardest for you?")

Have students write down (or verbally discuss) 3 things they learned, 2 questions they have, & 1 way it connects to real life.

>Pretend To Be An Adult
The students are suddenly transformed into adults.  Why might they need to know the information from today?

Draw a quick picture illustrating something you learned today.

>Your Parents Are Gonna Ask...
Have students write a quick 3-4 sentence summary answering every parents favorite question "So, what'd you learn today?"

Step 4
In the last 5-10 minutes of class (set a timer to remind you of the closing if you keep forgetting, or better yet, put a responsible student in charge of reminding you), give your students one minute to pack up.  As soon as they're settled (again, I use a timer) find your CLOSING CUP, pick a stick & let the summarizing begin! If you happen to pick a closing requiring writing, it will help to have little slips of paper ready for students to use since you've usually already packed up. I will typically take up any written closings as a ticket-out-the-door.

Easy, simple, & you'll always be prepared to end your lesson the three-part way! 

Happy closing!

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