Make the Last Day of Class a Great One

[Instructors: This post was written before COVID-19 closed our campuses. Still, many of the activities listed below are still applicable.]

In the busy weeks at the end of a semester, it’s easy to overlook creating meaningful activities for the final day of class. However, the last meeting can provide an excellent teaching opportunity that also reinforces pedagogical objectives. Below are ideas for activities on the last day of a term.

Connect coursework to future careers. This activity is tailor-made to the business communication classroom. Discuss why effective writing and oral communication can help advance careers. Cite from surveys and studies that talk about employers’ most wanted qualities in new-hires—excellent communication skills always top the lists. Then have students work together to discuss how they foresee using what they have learned when they enter the workplace.

Review course objectives. Provide an overview of the course’s goals, touching on how the assignments and tests helped to teach and reinforce those goals. Then allow students to work in small groups to create informal presentations of their favorite assignment.

Ask the class to address future students. Having current class members write letters to future students forces critical thinking and reflection. Request that current students include what new students can expect to learn and to give advice for success (e.g. do the readings, go to office hours, and the like.) Note: Be sure to obtain permission from current students to distribute the letters in the future.)

Assign an in-class reflection about individual experiences. Give students a prompt to guide them through a written reflection about what they learned about course content.

Share projects. If students have worked on a major project, have them share their work. Allow students to move around the room to see what their classmates have achieved.

Have a potluck. Students love free food, and a celebratory potluck in the classroom (or outside on a nice day) is a fun way to end the semester. Provide a sign-up sheet so all students commit to bring something.  [COVID-19 take on this activity: Ask students to bring a favorite treat to the last session. Allow each student to explain the choice.]

Give a mini-quiz. Have students write three of the most important takeaways from the class. Give them 10 minutes to write, after which you can ask a few students to volunteer to read their responses and explain their reasoning. These “quizzes” can be added to the final grade or not.

Whatever you choose to do on your last day, The Guffey Team wishes you a wonderful summer! See you in the fall!

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