When I first learned about exit tickets I thought they were just one more thing I had to find time for in an already busy day. I didn’t know what I was missing.
It turns out exit tickets were everything I was missing in my lesson. They provided a way to bring a lesson to a close, check for understanding, and have students self-assess all at the same time. I mean, talk about amazingness!
How to Fail with Exit Tickets
As I mentioned, I failed big when I first started using exit tickets. Basically, I just gave out slips of paper with questions on them and graded them. I couldn’t even call it a glorified worksheet. There was nothing glorified about it, and it really was just one more thing. Not to mention it meant tons of small papers all over the classroom. Yay.
It wasn’t until I started to really look at the data from the exit tickets that it began to make a difference in our classroom.
3 Winning Strategies with Exit Tickets
I continued to give exit tickets in the same way, but using the data really made the time used worthwhile.
After completing an exit ticket rather than just sharing the answer or turning it in students self-assessed their understanding of the information. We did this in a couple of ways.
The first was by having students put their exit tickets in three different piles marked with a red, yellow, or green turn in tray. I am sure you have already figured out the system but red meant they were in need of help, yellow was they needed more practice, and green was they felt confident with the standard.
When we weren’t turning in our exit tickets as an assessment tool students were able to self-assess by writing
a short sentence on the back of the exit ticket. This might be a question, an accomplishment,
or a revelation. As the teacher, reading these reflections was like a glimpse into my students’ minds. They provided a much-needed understanding of where they might be missing a concept.
Form Small Groups
After looking over exit slips I would use the papers themselves to sort students into small groups, partners for stations, or table teams. Being able to physically move the papers really helped me to wrap my brain around student organization.
Organizing students into partners and teams by concept attainment made it easy to ensure heterogenous groups across the classroom that could support one another while I was busy working with a group.
I am a huge proponent of student goal setting, and exit tickets provide the perfect data point for students to begin the process. The best use of this strategy is after checking an exit ticket together either with them in front of students or after you have collected them.
Students can use their math journals or another spot to write their goal specific to the standard you just completed. By setting goals often and checking back on student progress you encourage students to keep working hard to improve.
Where Do I Get Exit Tickets?
I prefer to use exit tickets to bridge the gap between what we are doing in class and what it will look like when students are tested on the concept. Instead of using test examples all day every day I save them for the exit tickets. This exposes students to testing language without beating them over the head with it.
I include these test style exit tickets inside each of these math units for this very reason.
Exit tickets can be one more thing on your plate. Or you can use them to ensure your students flourish while self-assessing. It is all in how you choose to use them!
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