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Most teachers know that closure, otherwise called an “exit ticket,” is an essential part of a daily lesson plan. By definition, closure is “a sense of resolution or conclusion at the end of something.” Therefore, at the end of a lesson, when we as teachers have (hopefully) imparted some selection of knowledge from our minds to our students, we would wrap up that knowledge-passing (a lesson) with closure.

According to Brown University, there are multiple purposes for providing closure for students.

  • provide feedback to the teacher about the class;
  • require the student to do some synthesis of the day’s content;
  • challenge the student with a question requiring some application of what was learned in the lesson.

Closure to the lesson does not have to be a long, drawn out process. In fact Continue reading

Concept Maps in the Classroom


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This year I’m trying a new method of introducing, and keeping students familiar with, our course terms and themes. With over 100 terms/themes combined, I thought all summer long about what was the best way to tackle this undertaking.

And then it hit me: concept maps. According to, “a concept map is a type of graphic organizer used to help students organize and represent knowledge of a subject. Concept maps begin with a main idea (or concept) and then branch out to show how that main idea can be broken down into specific topics.”

Running with this idea, I printed all of the first semester terms/themes onto card stock and then jumbled the order in which they occur in US history. Next, I asked students to work in groups to attempt to place these terms/themes into chronological order. By attempting to create their own concept web, students gained a first look at what they’ll be learning over the next few months, and I, as their teacher, gained insight as to who was already familiar with certain terms and who was not (formative assessment).Students will continue to Continue reading