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Ending on a High Note

While we often see tips for getting our classes off to a great start, we don't see many for ending our classes. The last day(s) of class can be an opportunity for reflection and closure. Below are some suggestions for "ending on a high note."

  1. Have students call out topics covered and list these on the board while students also write them down. In pairs, have students share what the most personally valuable topics were for them and why. If time allows, have pairs join other pairs to share responses.
  2. In small groups, ask students to develop (graphically, verbally, or with an object) a metaphor for the class or one of the topics.
  3. Have each student share one thing he/she learned from a classmate.
  4. Have a snowball fight! Each person writes down one thing he/she will do with what they learned on a white sheet of paper. Have everyone crinkle up their papers, stand in a circle, turn their backs and toss the snowballs into the circle. Each person then turns around and picks up one. Everyone takes turns reading their snowball. (Bowman 96-97)
  5. Hand out a post-final assignment that includes a list of activities students could engage in based on their learning in the course, or have students brainstorm activities.
  6. In small groups, have students think of your class as a movie or book and write a title and/or a review. Have each group share their work with the rest of the class.
  7. Ask students to write letters to future students in the course describing helpful learning strategies and offering advice for success. Deliver the letters randomly to your new students.
  8. Reflect on and describe what you learned from your students and from teaching this course.


Bowman, S. Presenting with Pizzazz. Glenbrook: Bowperson, 1997. Print.

"Better Endings." Teaching at UNL 19.3 (1997): n. pag. Web. 5 May 2010.

Bassendowski, S. "How to End Courses with a Bang." The Teaching Professor 9.5 (1995): 1-2. Print.

Maier, Mark H., and Ted Panitz. "End on a High Note: Better Endings for Classes and Courses." College Teaching 44.4 (1996): n. pag. Web. 13 May 210.

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