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It's often the case that we find we're not as far as we intended to be as our course draws to a close. Far too often we spend the final class periods frantically trying to cover the rest of the content. One experienced faculty member recently told me that the last days of class often feel like "running up hill at full speed and then leaping off a cliff!"
Instead of introducing new content during the final class periods, consider using these days to provide students with opportunities to review where they've been and how far they've come. Final class periods are also a good time to provide students with opportunities to synthesize the information, concepts, and ideas they've been working with throughout the semester and to think about what's next for them in this subject area.
Here are a few strategies for providing closure during the final days of a class:
Ask students to create a concept map of the course. Constructing a visual representation of how the major concepts of the course connect to each other helps students understand the connections between the various topics of the course.
Of course, it isn't necessary to wait until the end of the class to ask students to organize and synthesize the material. One professor reports using concept mapping in his class weekly. First each student is asked to construct a concept map of the day's reading assignment, from memory, and without notes. Then students form groups and together construct a concept map covering the week's assignments AND all previous material in the course — a cumulative concept map.
The students are encouraged to discuss the maps as they construct them, and their maps are marked for inclusion of concepts and linkages among the concepts. As the course progresses the students review all prior material and integrating the new information with the old.