Ending the lesson

Ending lessons and Plenaries

Much learning is also undertaken at the end of lessons. In order to maximise this there are a number of tactics which can support you to make the time more organised and productive.

  • End early. Don’t try to cover too much material in one hit. Don’t mistake pace for manic activity. Leave at least eight minutes to finish off the lesson properly.
  • Use a structured plenary to end the session. This should be a group or individual reflection on what has been learned.
  • Ask the pupils to identify two or three key points they have learned from the lesson. These can be shared in small groups either written or as drawings and cartoons.
  •  A review of these points could become a regular feature of a homework routine.
  • Summarise the learning.
  • Set the scene for the following lesson.
  • Have clear routines for an organised departure. Don’t fall into the trap of not clearing away equipment and resources in good time.
  • Make sure that pupils put on their coats as a last task before leaving the room.
  • Vary the way in which the pupils are dismissed, for example, row-by-row, small groups, alphabetically, one by one after answering a question. This will help keep the lesson focus right until the end.


Planning plenary activities

  • Generic and specific. The big challenge is to make these as varied as possible.
  • The purposes of the plenary is to: draw together what has been learned, to highlight the most important rather than the most recent points, to summarise key facts, ideas and vocabulary, and stress what needs to be remembered; generalise from examples generated earlier in the lesson.
  • Go through an exercise, question pupils and rectify any misunderstandings.
  • Make links to other work and what the class will do next.
  • Highlight not only the progress that has been made and remind them about personal targets.
  • Set homework to extend or consolidate classwork and prepare for future lessons.


Improving endings 15 minutes

  • Choose a class you are confident to work with.
  • Keep in mind the tactics mentioned above, plan a lesson ending to include a plenary activity.
  • At the beginning of the lesson explain to the class what you have planned for the plenary and why. This will help them to prepare.
  • Review how the lesson ending went, then plan to incorporate more into future lessons

Key Stage 3 National Strategy l Strengthening teaching and learning using different pedagogies © Crown copyright 2004

Unit 3: Improving the learning climate DfES 0699-2004 G