Ending the Term on a High Note: Punctuate, Synthesize, and Reflect

By Judith Dutill, Instructional Design Technologist

Joshua Eyler, Director of Rice University’s Center for Teaching Excellence, recently shared his blog post, The Final Class of Semester, emphasizing the importance of meaningfully punctuating the time we have spent with our students.

This made me think about my own classroom tradition of ending the term by asking students to write and share haiku style poems that encapsulate their biggest takeaways; I typically use this activity in introductory-level courses. Many students bring humor to the table and it is a great reminder, before we part ways, that we enjoyed the time we spent learning together.

My favorite haiku from ENG 110:

Public speaking is

Not as scary as it seems

If you breathe and smile

Memorable to me not just for its optimism, but also the affectionate debate over the number of syllables in the word smile that ensued.

Share your favorite end of term traditions in the comments section!

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    I love your haiku idea for getting students to reflect on course content. I usually end my courses with an informal wrap up discussion or review game (like Kahoot or jeopardy). To prepare for discussion, I will ask students to bring three “discussion points” to class on a note card. I tell them that these can be topics, ideas, or questions that engage with the content of the course. They can be review topics or topics related to our content that we did not have time to address in the course. I am always impressed by the things they bring to these discussions.

      There’s something especially challenging and fun about trying to encapsulate such a big experience into such a small message. Six Word Stories are a similar approach.

      I like the idea of a student-driven culminating discussion, too!

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