One of the questions I always pose to teachers is this: If you’re going to teach a lesson and not give the students an exit ticket or a way to assess what they learned during the lesson, then what was the point of teaching the lesson in the first place? It’s truly important that we’re taking data points throughout the students’ learning process to be able to tweak our instruction to best fit their needs and to be able to individualize instruction as much as we can for our students. If we’re waiting until the assessment to ‘see’ how our students are doing, it’s too late! Exit tickets are a vital part of the learning process, but I promise you – they don’t have to be boring! Here are a few, fun ways that you can spice up your exit tickets without any extra work!
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Leave Your Exit Tickets Open Ended
Many times, we like to give very specific problems or questions for our students to answer on an exit ticket, which is fine – but one way to really spice up your exit tickets is to give them an open-ended question about the topic that you’re assessing and see what they can really do with it. You’ll get a lot more information about the overall level of understanding of the topic/concept by doing this as well as a glimpse into their understanding of vocabulary that’s involved in the lesson as well. One of my favorite open-ended exit tickets to give is my “What’s your Tip?” question!
This is a fun exit ticket because it allows the strengths of each child to be seen on the exit ticket and in their own, unique way. Students get to decide on how and what they want their ‘tip’ to be! Then, when you’re reviewing the next day (after you’ve collected the exit tickets, you can use these ‘tips’ as a way to review and begin your next lesson! You can even use them to help pair up students with similar or opposite strengths! Check out this great post for more ideas on “What to do with your exit tickets AFTER you’ve given them!”
Let Students Create the Exit Ticket Question
Another fun way to spice up your exit tickets is to have students be the ones who create the questions that you ask throughout the week. Yep! Let them do it! Here’s how it works: After the first or second lesson, as you exit ticket for the day, have the students create at least one question or as many as they can think of (within a time limit of course) that relates to the topic/concept you’re teaching. Have them write them down on scrap paper or post-it notes – no need to type anything up! These questions tell you a LOT about the students’ levels of understanding. Then throughout the week, you can use these questions when conversing with your students during the lesson or even USE them as the exit ticket question itself. Students get a KICK when they realize the exit ticket question came from them! It’s another open-ended strategy but it’s a fun one!
Self-Differentiate Your Exit Tickets
but then we turn around and give them all the same assessment. How is that fair? I know it’s needed now and then, but not every single day. Differentiation in your exit tickets is just as important as differentiation in your lesson. Need a unique and easy way to do this without creating 4-5 different exit tickets for your entire class? Embed the differentiation into the exit ticket itself!
Here’s how this can work! Make a tic-tac-toe board with a wide range of questions or problems to solve on it. Each column is a different ‘level’ or difficulty of a question. Put the easy questions on the left, the on level questions in the middle, and then the harder questions on the right. Then when you give the exit tickets, the students have to choose three squares to solve. They can choose to do all three in one level or they can do a diagonal and get one of each. OR you can assign students to do a specific level (which I don’t do very often). You’ll find that when you explain the levels and have students reflect on their true ability and level of confidence in the concept, they pick the right column to solve on their own.