5 Meaningful Starts and Stops to Bookend Your Favorite (Unfinished Learning) Lessons

I love a good warm-up… or bell-ringer… or do now… or hook… call it what you will, the best lessons start with a good dose of right-away engagement. Students learn to count on your great starts and they arrive on time, ready to go.

Now, when Mary Lou Retton won the individual all-around gold at the 1984 Summer Olympics, it wasn’t because of the way she started – it was because she STUCK THE LANDING. And that’s why you should always pair a great start to a lesson with a great stop to the lesson. Students will appreciate the through-line that you provide for their learning and will leave your class seeing how the pieces come together.

Unfinished learning left a lot of teachers and students in limbo and learning loss has reared its ugly head in our classrooms this Fall. Each instructional decision we make for our students seems to have higher stakes and greater weight. My recommendation? Optimize your lessons with these bookends that will open and close your lessons with purpose.

START CLASS WITH

END CLASS WITH

A 3-image cartoon…

Where students write a question in a blank speech bubble in the first box that is based on how their homework made them curious.

The second box is filled in with a preview of the class activity.

Students complete the third box of the cartoon by answering their question or noting where they’d go next to find additional information.

An SEL check-in where students show 1-5 how knowledgeable they’re feeling about the lesson

A post-lesson SEL check-in where students show 1-5 how knowledgeable they’re feeling about the lesson…

And then calculate how much your collective LOVE for the subject has grown!

Identifying two or three favorite songs (and playing one as everyone gets settled!)

 

A quick lyric re-write that incorporates key information from the lesson.

Bonus for singing!

Identifying a few celebrities and checking out where and when they went to school at the age of your students

A social media post “from” each celebrity that summarizes the main point(s) of the lesson in their distinct style.

Having each student pull a name of a classmate (could be kept on popsicle sticks for re-use!) (Shhh! Keep it private!)

Sharing a contribution made by the classmate named on your popsicle stick. It could be a good question that was asked, sharing, listening, following directions, offering help…

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