From a Fizzle to a Finale

Yesterday Jon Gordon wrote about finishing with a bang; this got the hamster on my wheel running as I thought about what that means for me each day as a teacher. Gordon wrote that achieving a finale sort of bang as a part of an ending or a finish is a process. Reading that affirmed me because I feel like I have been in process and taking very small steps in working to improve my own endings/lesson closings (see my posts Endings that Don’t SuckEndings that Don’t Suck Part IIEngage: It’s All the Rage, Thought Provoking Questions to End a Lesson, and QR Closings). When I read that Gordon feels he’s still in process finding ways to end his speeches with a bang, I thought about where I am now and how I can take small steps of change. Reflecting and writing is in my head–there comes a time where I need to figure out how I need to move thoughts into action by physically taking small steps–from pedagogy in my head to practice in my classroom.

Jon Gordon’s poses the following question to his readers: 

How can you or do you leave a lasting impression in your work? 

Hmmmm….what does that mean for me as a teacher each day? Gordon’s reflection includes a link to a short video that provides an example of a speech that ended with a finale. Watch here.

Jon Send Off Video

While watching his finale, at first I thought it to be a bit hokey (Hundreds of people joining arms–get real, dude!), but then, I thought about how hokeyness works in the classroom, and I challenged myself to look more closely and figure out why Gordon’s ending was a finale and how I could find take away from his words/actions in what I do.  How could I use his reflection as well as his charismatic speaking abilities to begin to think of how I can create an ending that is transformed from a fizzle to a finale.

What made his speech a powerful finale instead of a fizzling dud was that he planned for popping fireworks that would leave a lasting impression beyond the moment the speech ended. People walked out the door thinking, “Hmmmm….what does that mean for me?” “How can I make this work?” “What are my next steps?”

While I realize I can’t have a July 4th finale each day, I began to think how can I deconstruct what Gordon does and translate that into what I do.

Hmmmm…creating a FINALE sort of ending that leaves a lasting impression in my students–what would that finale look like?

Noooooooooooo, not the dreaded acrostic. Yes, the dreaded acrostic. I spent some time thinking of how I could purposefully create finales. Here is what I have for creating an ending that is a


Foster community and collaboration by including students.

Include a recap of the main point(s) of the lesson.

Notice teachable moments from class that fit into the closing.

Apply concepts/terms/ideas in authentic moving forward sort of ways.

Leave students with something to ponder-perhaps something that will lead into tomorrow. Be forward thinking.

Engage learners (don’t be afraid to be hokey, comical, quirky, gimmicky, or novel when closing).

My question for you echoes Gordon’s question:

How can you or how do you leave a lasting impression of your work? 

Jon Gordon’s Reflection

Fireworks and Finishing with a Bang

While watching a fireworks show with my family on July 4th it occurred to me that all great fireworks shows end the same way… with a bang.

They save the best and most spectacular displays for their grand finale. You can’t help but clap at the end.

Now compare a fireworks show to many lectures, sales presentations and customer service experiences. They often start off strong but instead of ending with a bang, they fizzle.

The sales presentation that has a great hook in the beginning but doesn’t leave a lasting impression at the end. The speech that makes you glad it’s over instead of making you want to hear more. The restaurant server who makes a great first impression but is nowhere to be found when you want to pay the bill and leave. The teacher who fails to inspire his students to take action at the end of the lesson. The hotel that welcomes you when you arrive but ignores you when you leave. The store that has great merchandise but fails to create a memorable experience.

The examples are numerous but the solution is simple. Whatever your job or business add some fireworks to your work.

Think of ways you can create a grand finale and leave a lasting impression. Finish your speech or sales presentation with a bang and give your audience a reason to clap at the end. Give your customers something positive to talk about as they walk out the door.

Fireworks don’t have to occur just on the 4th of July. You can create a fireworks experience every day by finishing strong and making people say “Wow!”

– Jon

Jon Send Off VideoP.S. Remember learning to finish with a bang is a process. I’m still thinking of the perfect way to finish my speeches with a bang. Here’s an ending to a speech where I share an Energy Bus send off. Let me know what you think. Watch here.

How can you or do you leave a lasting impression in your work? Share your thoughts on Facebook or Twitter.

10 thoughts on “From a Fizzle to a Finale

  1. Kathleen Neagle Sokolowski

    This was such a cool post! I love endings that circle back somehow to the beginning. Are you thinking about the finale of a lesson, a school day, or entire year?


  2. I love your thinking about in this post, Maya. Everything has an ending and choosing the best way to end (whether it be with a period, question, or exclamation mark–or possibly an ellipses) can make all of the difference. Love your list.


  3. Definitely something to think about, Maya. I think his linking arms made the connection of “we’re all in this together”, right? So it was visual & even emotional. Often at the end of a group, I would have what I called a ‘go round’ where everyone shared a word (sometimes two) of what they would take away. I wrote the words down in a poem-like fashion, & then the next time would ask them to remember why that word. I used it everywhere, when we were outside wandering for something to draw in the field, or when we finished a silent read time. Finishing well is important to cement the learning. Thanks for your list too. It’s terrific.


  4. I began thinking of a lesson closing, but then my mind started thinking of how I end a unit as well. My school day ends with planning and car rider duty, but I guess I could ask myself about the lasting impression I create with all facets of life. Interesting question you pose. Thanks for your response that got me thinking.


  5. Wow, Linda, you have me thinking…linking arms, linking thoughts, linking ideas, and later linking one day to the next. Cementing learning–linking dendrites even. You make me want to go close a lesson right now! Thanks.


  6. Pingback: Mentally Tough Teacher | Meandering Maya

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