Creative Strategies for Engaging Exit Tickets
Quick, low pressure assessment strategies can often yield truer results about where your students are in their learning. You eliminate things like test anxiety while opening the possibility of a more consistent pulse on the classroom. For that purpose, teachers often use exit tickets.
Suggestions for Creative and Engaging Exit Tickets
Like any strategy that relies on consistency and repetition, exit tickets can get stale. Here are ideas you can use to refresh your exit ticket toolbox.
Create a poster or devote space on your board to a “parking lot” with three or more spaces. Your spaces are up to you, but popular ones include “I’m stuck at...”, “I really liked…”, and “I want to know…”. Then students finish the applicable statement on Post-It notes and stick them to the parking lot in the appropriate space on their way out the door.
You then have a record of everyone’s understanding and progress at a glance.
Pro tip: Concerned about how one segment of your students is doing over another? Assign different colored Post-Its to genders, class periods, language statuses, or any other group where you’re worried they may fall behind.
Many places you go online ask if you would be kind enough to complete a survey once you finish using the site. Why should your classroom be any different? If you have no interest in adding to your pile of paperwork, conduct your exit tickets online using Google Docs, SurveyMonkey, or any other polling or survey site.
It can take a little work on the front end to make sure you input your rosters and organize the incoming data correctly, but moving forward you have a lot less work to do in compiling responses and figuring out what they mean for your practice.
Pro tip: Many social networking sites, like Twitter, now feature polling functionality. If the use of such sites is approved in your school, this can save you a lot of setup compared to having to import rosters and design forms.
Instead of asking students “What did I learn today?”, try reframing your exit ticket question to something like “What did I accomplish today?”. The simple shift in language encourages students to be more self-reflective, and consider their own learning more critically. It will help them to identify the areas where they’re excelling as well as what they need more practice in.
Find real-life connections
Students always want to know why they’re being asked to learn the curriculum. Help them make connections between the classroom and the real world by asking students where they think the day’s lesson will fit into their daily lives. Is there a specific activity or task that they do on a regular basis to which they could apply it? Identifying some real-world purpose for their learning will not only increase your students’ engagement in the classroom, it will also help with critical processes of long-term memory formation.
Make an analogy
A good analogy can grab anyone’s attention. Try spicing up your exit tickets by asking students to make analogies to seemingly incongruous concepts. For example, ask “If today’s lesson were a pizza, what would the toppings be?” Or, “Which new vocabulary term would make the best name for a new car?” Students will have fun with a challenging opportunity to think outside the box, and this kind of activity is helpful in moving concepts from recall into the synthesis skill level of Bloom’s Taxonomy.
Don’t forget to be formative
Exit tickets make a great check for student understanding and progress, but you can also use them to find out about your students’ background knowledge on an upcoming topic. At a point that makes sense, such as the beginning of a unit or chapter, switch up your exit tickets to preview upcoming lessons, like an entry ticket instead.
Not only do you find out whether you need to backtrack or jump further ahead, but you also prime the students’ minds to expect the next topic.
Pro tip: The best formative exit tickets are like a good movie trailer that gets you excited without giving away the plot. When coming up with your prompts, err on the side of vague and let the student fill in the gaps.
Visit our article on designing effective formative assessment strategies for more ways to freshen up your approach.