The last five minutes

A while ago, I shared a link to the research that shows we humans respond to the last thing that happens in a piece of life, of a trip, and probably of a class. (Wish I could find it quickly, but I’ll look later.)

We are in parent-teacher conferences today, and a parent mentioned that his daughter said how much fun Russian was yesterday. I tried to remember, and couldn’t come up with anything, except that we’d played Laurie’s volleyball game the last few minutes. Really? An honor student thinks the day (which was pretty drill-and-kill) was fun because of the last five minutes?

I might need to rethink my last-five-minute quiz routine.


7 responses to “The last five minutes

  1. Hmm!!! This is true for my experience, too! It makes me rethink the ‘bell to bell’ teaching idea–not that you wouldn’t have something planned right up until the end, but that the last few minutes would be decompression/fun time. Time that allows everyone to leave smiling and feeling successful!


  2. And what is Laurie’s volleyball game?


  3. Hola! Good idea! re-think those five minutes. Since I read about that, I make a real effort to switch to something really cool or good or memorable to do at the end of all my classes. When my administrators insist in having a closure activity, I always respond with my special ending to be the “closure” activity!
    Happy Valentine Day!


  4. I have been working on my hook and closures for class this year as a goal. I do a lot of pass the ball to review the vocab at the end of a day. What specifically is the “volleyball” game?


  5. I’m hoping that Laurie will read this and correct or add as necessary. The volleyball game, as I understand it, uses a beach ball (I have one with Russian letters all over it, but that’s not so important). The class divides into two teams. The firm rules are: cheeks must stay on the seats, and legs on the floor (both chair and human). No spiking or hard hits. Teacher is ref. A serve goes gently from one team to another. The ball goes back and forth until someone loses the point. Then the teacher (or lead student) asks a question of the first person in the team. If the person answers correctly, that team gets a point and serves again. Otherwise, the other team serves. I have been reviewing vocabulary, asking questions about movies, asking for geography locations or answers…it’s been fun, but we play it at most twice a month in any one class.

    We also play “grab the pencil” on wrong statements and do silly dances (plop clapping game). Or we do the Seven-buzz game (counting and the student who gets a number divisible by seven or with a seven in it has to buzz). I’m beginning to think that I should end with their favorite song, play a silly video, or play a game every single day. What about you? It would fit the “leave ’em happy” idea.

    Piedad, I would love to hear your other “memorable activities,” or cool ideas for closure.


  6. That’s it amiga! I’m not into creating more competition in class…..the fun is all about the fun!! So although I ask one member, they can get the answer from anyone on the team. I used to keep score, but then I gave that up too and no one misses it!!

    with love,


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