Teaching Tips | December 6, 2022

Making the Last Day of Class Count

It’s almost there: the final class of the semester! This last course meeting before finals can be the perfect moment to review, to reflect, to look back and look forward. Or simply to celebrate and say thank yous and goodbyes! See how Hunter colleagues make the last day of class count.

Look ahead

By the last day of class, students in my English 120 course have completed their research paper, and have either completed or are near finished with their end of semester portfolio- which includes a reflective essay. In a course where we are focused on reflection all semester, it can be difficult to rouse more reflective energy out of students who are focused on getting through their upcoming finals. Instead, we look ahead. Throughout the semester I remind students that we are working on skills (question formation, library research, synthesis), that they will bring into many courses, regardless of their major. On the last day of class we do a group activity where each group is tasked with drafting 5 “Best Practices for Writing a Research Paper.” We discuss that best practices are evidence-based recommendations or procedures that have been shown to produce the best results. Students work together to reflect on our course, but at the same time look forward and consider proven methods for future research papers. The best practices that students propose often include preparing an outline, skills for reading academic / scholarly articles, and asking peers or family members to read your work. – Samantha Walsh (Libraries) 

Share out

During the last class of my course Reading for Students with Learning Disabilities (SPED 781), which is taught fully online, students share their final projects in breakout rooms. This includes a self-assessment and reflection on their Book Creator project (creating a children’s book) in which they assess and grade themselves. Students also will present on their choice project–they can write a short persuasive essay or make a Padlet based on culturally responsive mentor texts. If they choose to write a persuasive essay, they need to include a statement about curriculum using course materials. If they choose to create a Padlet, they need to “review the book reviewers” in a line or two (15 pictures of mentor texts are required) based on a theme that ties the books together. You can see an example from this semester via this link. – Liz Klein (Special Education)

Finish strong 

Paul McPherron (English) brings a stack of post-its to class, and has a simple question for the students: “What are five things you will remember from this class?” Students then organize their answers in groups, reflect on what they’ve learned, and provide feedback to the instructor. Watch how this unfolds in the classroom in this short video:

Other ideas implemented by Hunter colleagues

Wisdom wall: current students share tips with future students

Current students create a “wisdom wall” with Padlet sharing recommendations on how to succeed in the class with students who will be taking this course next semester. Each student writes a post and can choose to add his or her name or keep the note anonymous.

It’s been a journey: you at the beginning and end of the semester

Students revisit a private journal post written on Blackboard at the beginning of the semester about their habits and reflect on how their earlier habits compare to their current practices. 

Fare thee well: goodbyes and thank-yous

The professor creates a VoiceThread presentation in which she recaps the course and reflects on what she has learned from teaching the class. Then, on the last slide, she invites students to share their reflections and say goodbye to each other in a short paragraph or a short audio or video recording.

Find more ideas and resources at https://huntercollege68.padlet.org/skung/partingways.

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