Phase Three: Cool Down

Warm Up
10 mintues
Work Out
30 mintues
Cool Down
10 minutes

Cool-down activities are often the hardest to plan. Sessions require good endings to keep the students grounded in where they stand. Think of it like your favorite movie: All the work on developing the plot is for nothing if the ending doesn’t make sense.

Think of the instructors you’ve experienced in college so far. They must constantly strive to make sure their lessons and lectures are effective. From one concept into another, they must introduce students to a brand new subject without losing them along the way. How can we do the same in SI sessions?

Good cool-down activities reveal the main idea of the content, offer real-world applications, or pose discussions to think about before the next session. Also, cool-down activities bring closure and prevent a session from ending abruptly. This in turn reduces student stress and maintains positive expectations of future sessions. (The time students spend reflecting at home doesn’t hurt either!)

Fish Bowl

Students write down questions and place them into the “fish bowl” (hat, cup, pile on a desk, etc.)

The SI leader draws questions out and allows the group to discuss. The leader may offer suggestions if the group has difficulty.

Example Activity: Fish Bowl

This activity (inset) is a great way to bring a session to a stop and provide closure to any questions the students may still have.

Allowing students to write their questions anonymously creates a low-stress environment. This exercise is a great way for students to ask a question anonymously without the stigma of “feeling stupid.”


Building Your Arsenal

The only surety in session planning is that sometimes your plan just won’t work. By planning ahead for these times – what we call “building your arsenal” – a defunct session plan won’t turn into a disaster. Arsenal activities have these qualities in common: they require few or no outside materials, minimal planning, and can be initialized on a moment’s notice. Talk with your mentor or a veteran leader in your content area to start building your arsenal.

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