In every facet of education, the last minutes of a lesson hold great significance akin to morals at the end of stories. These ending or closing moments provide a chance to students to reflect on their understanding and identify the key areas that need more effort and practice. However, from an educator’s point of view, closing activities give them a chance to assess the understanding of their students. Besides, they also give an idea of which core areas need better explanations.
Thus, without compromising on the fun factor, closing activities indeed teach a lot to students and also sharpen their overall learning. How, you ask? Let us dig deep into understanding the need for closing activities, and also explore how to conduct a few of them.
The significance of closing activities
First, let us begin by understanding why we need closing activities at the end of a particular chapter or session.
1. Periodic assessments without compromising the fun factor
Closing activities are a great tool for teachers to assess the understanding capability of their students. After each lesson or a series of lessons, a closure activity can help students in reflecting upon their key takeaways, thereby giving them a better understanding. This will also help teachers to periodically assess their students without having to wait until their exams to check on their understanding.
2. Social skill development
When students participate in closing activities, they often have to represent or express their thoughts in the form of a speech, presentation, or art. Thus, these activities boost self-confidence and help students develop their public speaking and presentation skills. Moreover, group activities help build leadership and team-building skills.
3. Holistic development
Closing activities help students with their holistic development. Since they are exposed to a number of activities that test a wide range of skills, they are bound to enrich their personality and be socially, mentally, emotionally, intellectually, and physically ready for challenges!
Inspirational closing activities for high schoolers
1. TED talk: Unlocking the essence of powerful speech
TED talks showcase speakers who come from various backgrounds to deliver a crisp, powerful, and inspiring speech. For a closing activity, ask students to deliver a speech on their main takeaway from the lesson. You can set time limits to ensure each student gets sufficient time and also set up a voting session at the end to vote out the best speaker.
This closing activity helps students articulate their thoughts clearly and confidently and present them to the class. It also helps develop their research skills as they have to gather supporting evidence for their explanations of key takeaways. Refer to our article on how you can train students to give TED talks.
2. Student mentors: Student-driven classroom learning
One of the best ways to understand and learn a concept is by teaching it to others. Ask students to take turns and teach the class. The topic they choose must be related to the teachings of the class. Give students the liberty to either choose a related topic or just discuss briefly their takeaways from the class.
It promotes critical thinking and helps enhance the communication skills of the students. Students also begin taking responsibility for preparing and delivering the topic. Moreover, when teachers see students teach, they can assess the understanding of the students and can identify areas that will need more clear instructions. To help students overcome their stage fear, you can begin by making them engage with their peers through a few peer mentoring activities and then conduct this activity.
3. Go global! Creating global impact from within the classroom
What better than making your voices heard? Divide students into groups of four or five. Ask them to pick up any one element from the class that they liked the most. Now, ask them to think of any societal or global problems that can be solved using that element that they picked up. You can invite teachers from other departments and they can grade the team they think performed the best.
This closing activity helps promote ‘thinking out of the box’ as students have to get as creative and original as possible. It also provides an opportunity for expanding their global perspective because students have to think of issues beyond their local context.
4. Self-reflection: Quote from your past
What better than adding a personal touch to the activity? For an inspirational closing activity ask students to quote any instance from their personal life that resonates with what was taught in the class or workshop. After students have narrated the incident, ask reflection questions to follow up and try relating it with the concept.
This is a great way to engage the students in real-life incidents of their peers as they get realistic insights and learning. An activity like this fosters empathy among students and gives them a different lens to view the lives of their peers. Also, this activity requires students to jog their memory as they have to recall incidents with great detail for an effective narration.
5. Practical possibility: Exploring real-life examples
A healthy group discussion promotes a good environment for learning and creates a safe space to share opinions and viewpoints. As part of this closing activity, ask students to list out two to five real-life applications of the topics covered in the class. If it is a class on literature, then ask students to elaborate on situations in real life that have the same essence as discussed in the prose or poetry during class.
This will encourage students to relate abstract thoughts to real-world entities. Also since they will dig deep into finding out real-world applications, they will retain the concepts for a longer period of time.
6. Write a tale: Leaving behind a legacy through letters
How about weaving a tale to the future generation through handwritten letters? As a closing activity, you can ask students to write letters addressing future students of their school. The letters must be themed around the central idea of the class. They can include tips, instances, or just anything they feel would be of help to their upcoming juniors. Seal these letters and pass them on to the upcoming batches.
Writing letters is a great way to communicate and exchange ideas. By writing legacy letters, students embark on a journey of being mentors who foster their juniors with a path to battle the challenges and odds that might come their way.
7. Jingle jam: Creating Melodic tunes
Put on your dancing shoes because this activity is all set to bring out a lot of melodic tunes! Divide students into groups and ask them to come up with a jingle that best describes the class. The group that comes up with the best jingle wins. To make it more challenging, you can set time limits for them to think. You can also set an upper limit on the number of words they can use within the jingle.
This simple inspirational closing game tests the creative side of students. It also helps them in bonding, thus promoting team building. They also learn to think diversely.
8. Two lies and one truth
Remember the ‘true or false’ exercises at the end of the chapters taught in primary school? Well, here is the updated version of the same! Divide students into groups of 3 to 4 each. For every group, narrate two statements that are lies and one statement that is a truth.
The group has to identify the statement pertaining to truth and also justify why they think so. Alternatively, you can pit two groups against one another and ask one group to narrate the statements while the other group has to make correct guesses. This simple inspirational closing game promotes ‘acting on their feet’ and the presence of mind. Students have to act within a couple of seconds and justify their actions.
9. Chain Reaction
Similar to the ‘Chinese Whispers’ or ‘Message Passing’ game, here is Chain Reaction! For this activity, make students sit in a circle and start by making an opening statement corresponding to the topic you taught in class. The student next to you must contribute by saying another statement that is assertive and in line with the opening statement.
The next student then speaks the third statement corresponding to the first two, and the chain continues. Alternatively, instead of going sequentially, you can randomly point at a student who must speak, then the student randomly points at his peer, and so on. This closing game promotes quick thinking and mindfulness as students must be quick to respond when they are asked to take turns consecutively.
10. Mind map
A mind map is a great way to create a visual blueprint. Begin by writing the core topic of the class in the center of the board and draw outgoing arrows. Invite students to come to the board and write down a sub-topic against the arrow and shed light on it. If there are fewer sub-topics, then divide the students into groups for this activity.
Through this closing activity, students will get a chance to teach the class, which in turn will help them revise the concept. Also, students will make notes of the mind map that will help them with last-minute revisions.
To sum up, closing activities are a purpose-driven tool for both students as well as teachers. They provide transformative experiences that help students mold their personalities and soft skills, while they give teachers the ability to assess the understanding of concepts of their students in a fun-filled way.
The closing activities that we have tailored for high school students provide an enriching and insightful experience, thus enabling them to have a better understanding of concepts covered in the syllabus.
Sananda Bhattacharya, Chief Editor of TheHighSchooler, is dedicated to enhancing operations and growth. With degrees in Literature and Asian Studies from Presidency University, Kolkata, she leverages her educational and innovative background to shape TheHighSchooler into a pivotal resource hub. Providing valuable insights, practical activities, and guidance on school life, graduation, scholarships, and more, Sananda’s leadership enriches the journey of high school students.
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