Language teachers often pay special attention to lesson warmers. Their aims are to create curiosity, to intrigue students, to lead them into the main topic, to put them into the ‘language mood’. On the other hand, too often we let students proceed with activities until the end of the lesson without a proper lesson closure. Yet, it is important to get students to reflect on what they have learned and thus make learning personal and meaningful.
It is also important to us as teachers to see ‘the fruit of our labour’. It is an opportunity for formative assessment and provides us with useful information we can use to modify, change or expand our lesson plan.
- What have you learned today?
- You can review new vocabulary with a matching activity (word - definition; synonyms/antonyms; )
- You can ask students to choose three words they have learned that day and use them in their own sentences. It can be boring, I know. Nevertheless, it is vital to recycle new vocabulary to support its acquisition. Besides, you can make it fun. Does tic-tac-toe ring a bell? Draw a nine-square grid on the board, and place stickers with numbers 1-9. Each number hides one key word. Split the class into two teams - O’s and X’s. The X team chooses a number. In order to win a square, the team must make a sentence using the word. The time limit is one minute. If a team is unable to make a sentence, the other team will get the chance. The first team that makes a line, wins.
- Let them play a game: charades, hangman, word associations…anything you find useful
- I like using games in grammar lessons, too. Charades, for example, is my personal favourite when teaching the Present Continuous Tense. After guided exercises, before the lesson ends, I invite a student to stand in front of the class and mime a verb. The rest of the class guess the verb and say what he/she is doing. The student who has guessed the verb and formed the correct sentence gets to mime another action. Tic-tac-toe is great for making sentences using modal verbs. An engaging way to end a lesson on conditionals can be getting students to write a consequence story.
- Another way, maybe not so fun, quite useful, though, to focus on what has been accomplished in just one lesson is to have students reflect on what they have learned in completing statements starting with: Now I can… When referring to a grammar structure, point out that they should express themselves in a functional way. In other words, instead of saying they have learned Reported Speech, they should say something like: Now I can report what someone else has said. A witty student might even come up with: Now I can gossip in English!
- Nowadays technology is widely used in the classrooms all over the world. If you use it, too, you can prepare an online quiz for them to do on their mobiles at the end of the class. Thus both you and your students can have a better insight into their accomplishment.
- Summarising a lesson
- Lesson assessment - Getting feedback from your students
- You can make an assessment sheet/chart with statements/questions and a rating scale for students to fill in by putting ticks or smileys;
- If your students do not hesitate to express their opinion freely, you can create an assessment sheet with open-ended questions - e.g. Which activity did you like best? Which one do you find particularly useful? Do you think you can benefit from what you have learned today? How? Can you think of a real life situation where you can use this?
- Or even better, you can discuss these questions with the whole class;
- You can create an online poll;
- Or you can do something like this:
Have you got a favourite activity to end a lesson? Please share.