Here Endeth the Lesson

Another post for @staffrm about the last 5 minutes of your lesson and how it doesn’t have to be wasted time. 

Making the last 5 minutes of your lessons calm and productive is a skill that takes some time to develop but is really important in making sure your day is smooth and organised. It means the pupils leave the lesson calmly, not rushing out onto the already crowded corridor, pushing and shoving each other as you scream “don’t forget your homework is due tomorrow!!!” before grabbing your tote bag, an armful of exercise books and sprinting to the next classroom.For those of you who have the luxury of teaching in the same classroom all day, I envy you. I used to BE you! Not so this year. I soon realised that I had to sort out the endings of my lessons so that my next one didn’t start with absolute chaos.

So here are my top tips for the end of a lesson:

1. Would You Rather? Questions

I love these and the pupils do too. They’ve packed away, they’re standing behind their chairs and you ask “Would you rather have legs as long as fingers of fingers as long as legs?” Another favourite of mine is “Would you rather have hairy teeth or teeth for hair?”. Make sure pupils justify their response and then move onto another until the bell goes. There are lots of good websites you can use to find the questions.

2. Spelling Bee

Grab a dictionary, pick a pupil and ask them to select a letter. Choose a word (you can make the choice about level of difficulty) and ask them to spell it out. Very simple. The thing that pupils like about it is that once they’ve got the word correct, they get to nominate the next “victim”! Keep going until the bell goes and dismiss the class.

3. The Big Question

Sparky Teaching’s 365 Things To Make You Go Hmmm (http://www.sparkyteaching.com/resources/thinkingskills/hmmm.php) is a great way to end or begin a lesson. There are lots of questions ranging from the philosophical to the silly. My pupils ask for this a lot and it’s great to hear their views on topics you may never normally bring up.

I’m not going to pretend all of my lessons end in this idyllic fashion. Of course there are days when I spend the last 5 minutes answering questions about the homework and telling pupils that they had better not come to me in 2 days’ time saying they can’t access their Doddle account again! Sometimes (but thankfully rarely) I end lessons having to tell them all off and issue detentions because they just wouldn’t SHUT UP! However, when things go well the above activities are fun and a lovely way to end a lesson. Hopefully you and your pupils will enjoy them too.

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