Doug Lemov's field notes

Reflections on teaching, literacy, coaching, and practice.

04.01.14Share Your Insights: Exit Tickets

Revising the Exit Tickets section from 2.0 before i put the Lesson Structure chapter to bed.  If you use Exit Tickets and could share one “best practice” and/or one “lesson learned” what would they be?  Look forward to your comments!


24 Responses to “Share Your Insights: Exit Tickets”

  1. Janel Johnson
    April 1, 2014 at 2:04 am

    Scaffold the questions so that you can determine students level of understanding of a concept.

    • Doug_Lemov
      April 1, 2014 at 2:06 am

      thanks, Janel. very much agree. got a recent example you could share?

      • Janel Johnson
        April 1, 2014 at 11:59 pm

        I have been out of the classroom a couple of years, but I’m sure I have a few to share. Where can I send them to?

  2. Leanne Riordan
    April 1, 2014 at 2:24 am

    Look at the exit tickets as soon as you can, right after the lesson if possible. I am lucky to have planning right after a 1st grade math lesson that I co-teach, so I look through the tickets immediately and sort into 3 piles: Yes, Some, and No, based on the responses. I look for reasons that students missed a concept entirely, or grasped it partially, and make quick notes right on the exit ticket. Then I leave the sorted piles out so my co-teacher can read my notes. If we have a chance we will discuss as well before the next lesson. But either way, we can use these piles to differentiate small groups, or create a Do-Now for the whole class if needed. I try to keep the No pile on the top, as a reminder to check in with those students more frequently the next day.

    • Doug_Lemov
      April 1, 2014 at 2:25 am

      Great advice, Leanne. Especially like the idea of scoring right away while it’s all fresh in your mind. Thanks for sharing.. (and hope you’re well)

    • Janice Smith
      April 1, 2014 at 4:14 am

      Totally agree. Hand in hand with this for me was creating a format that made this super easy to do. For some days (depending on the objective and ability to assess this way) I had them answer on a post-it, with the question(s) projected on the overhead. They wrote their name on the front, and answer(s) on the back. On the way out they stuck them to the door. I could quickly flip through them in between classes, and easily enter data in a spreadsheet later in the day. Have seem others do the same thing on pre-made handouts, but in general I couldn’t have looked at the data so quickly without the quick & easy format.

  3. Carl Newman
    April 1, 2014 at 2:30 am

    Use a large arrow on a board by the door on the way out. Have students put a post it with their name at some point along the arrow to show their progress with the lessons objective/ question focus for the lesson. The nearer the tip of the arrow the more confident they are. As long as they are not at the tip they should write on the post it the issue or area they are unsure on. I find this very useful for planning the next lesson

    • Doug_Lemov
      April 1, 2014 at 2:32 am

      Thanks, Carl. How accurate, generally, do you find their self-assessments? (this is a topic of frequent discussion with some of my colleagues 🙂 )

      • Carl Newman
        April 1, 2014 at 2:35 am

        They can be quite self critical at times and under confident. If several identify the same issue on a post it then it gives me a clear guide for my Next lesson

        • Doug_Lemov
          April 1, 2014 at 2:38 am

          Interesting and useful. Thanks!

  4. Heather Snodgrass
    April 1, 2014 at 2:55 am

    Write the exit ticket first, before writing any practice and before planning out any other parts of the lesson. This helps me focus in on the key points that are essential to conveying the most important content, and occasionally helps me refine the objective so I’m honing in on a manageable and appropriately rigorous skill.

    I also like having a consistent routine for students who frequently finish their exit tickets very quickly. One I’ve used for math is having students write their own problems about the skill we’ve learned that day. Students also like this if they get an opportunity to solve each other’s problems.

    • Doug_Lemov
      April 1, 2014 at 2:58 am

      Thanks, Heather. Love these ideas, especially writing the ET first. Is writing their own problems part of or separate from the ET?

      • Heather Snodgrass
        April 1, 2014 at 3:21 am

        It’s sort of an extension of the ET for students who finish early. I would have them turn their exit ticket over to write their own problems. I started doing this to build in a little extra time so I could check as many ETs in class as possible because I have a hard time consistently following up with struggling students after class is over. Love the idea you posted above about having students work on a “home problem set” to build in time for immediate feedback – I think that immediate feedback would make a huge difference.

  5. Doug_Lemov
    April 1, 2014 at 2:59 am

    I know one teacher who experimented with doing the Exit Ticket 5+ minutes before the end of class to kep it from getting squeezed. They did the exit ticket and then went on the the “home problem set” while he scored. If he got lucky he could give them feedback before he end of the class.

    Just wondering if anyone else has tried moving up the exit ticket in the lesson?

    • TammyB
      September 13, 2018 at 3:07 am

      I like the idea of moving the exit ticket up in the lesson. We will always need to gauge our lesson and be flexible knowing that the timing may or may not work for some lessons.

  6. Alexa Miller
    April 1, 2014 at 3:38 am

    I use a quick sort like Leanne to form my next steps, but I leave exit tickets in student mailboxes to be corrected the next morning. This works well for elementary, because students can fix mistakes during breakfast and I can circulate to assist and re-check. This extra step in the screening process for remediation, etc. helps keep groups small.

    My school has been tracking exit tickets for math. We compromised to be mindful of time and simply track the number of students who scored 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 or 0 and add notes to sum up misconceptions. This helps us stay accountable for grading nightly and gives teachers a glimpse of how the lesson went in other classrooms.

    • Leanne Riordan
      April 2, 2014 at 3:49 am

      I like this idea of correcting in the morning, Alexa. Gives them a chance to find own mistakes, and could reduce number who need additional instruction.

  7. docendo discimus
    April 1, 2014 at 6:19 am

    I think it is worth being very clear about what you are going to do on the basis of the exit ticket responses. In a content-heavy examination course e.g. GCSE Science (UK system – don’t know if you have the same experience of having to cover large amounts of specific content for high-stakes exams in the USA) there is a real danger that, although the exit tickets show less-than-perfect understanding, the need to press on with the next topic trumps the desire to re-visit and improve understanding so the exit ticket becomes a mini summative assessment and doesn’t inform teaching. Some clear sense of why you are using exit tickets is important. e.g. if poor understanding across the class then re-teach; if it’s just a few then a separate intervention; if they’ve kind of got it but are a bit unsure then focus on that for homework, or regular 10 min slots for a few weeks; if very secure then schedule a refresher in a week or two but don’t give this topic too much time as there will be better things to use it for – that kind of idea.

    • Doug_Lemov
      April 1, 2014 at 9:52 am

      to pull out what is to me the most important part of your advice- there are lots of ways and places to respond to exit ticket data. one of them is a whole class re-teach. but the do now is ideal. as is a visit wiht five kids over lunch or a pull out session or extra questions added to homework with a quick primer to read for some students, etc. thanks for the useful insights!

  8. Meg Quick
    April 1, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    As an ELA teacher, many of my exit tickets end up being open response. Even something as short as 3-4 sentences becomes overwhelming for giving daily feedback. I switched this year to using the Art of a Sentence technique (thank you!) on my exit tickets almost daily; it gives me a much better understanding of mastery than MC questions, but still doable for grading.

    Recent Examples from our Poetry unit:
    – Choose an image from the poem and explain how this image conveys the poem’s theme. Use the following sentence starter: In “Alone” the image of __________ illustrates ________________.
    – Ezra Pound describes the field mouse as “not shaking in the grass”. Explain the significance of this line. Use the following sentence starter: In “And the days are not full enough”, the line “not shaking the grass” suggests ______________.

    I also make sure the grading is meaningful – a check/plus/minus system doesn’t give them much direction. We use Ruth Culham’s Six Traits of Writing rubrics in class, so all of their exit slips are graded on a 1-6 scale. It’s something they’ve seen often enough to know what a 3 sentence looks like versus a 4 sentence, etc.

    • Doug_Lemov
      April 1, 2014 at 1:55 pm

      Completely love it! Seems like you’ve wired it for efficiency and rigor at the same time!

  9. Evan Stoudt
    April 3, 2014 at 2:35 am

    I teach 9th grade Algebra I and recently added what I coined the “close out” to the time immediately before the exit ticket (say… 5 minutes). The idea behind the “close out” is to put all the skills together from the day’s lesson and potentially take the skill to a more rigorous place (apply it, connect it to a previous skill, explain it in words or in a partner / group dialogue). I found that time to be a really effective way to prepare for the exit ticket because when kids were pushing themselves on the more difficult content they ended up mastering the exit ticket much easier, having just stretched their brains a bit.

    It doesn’t always work — sometimes the lesson goes over (my classes are just shy of an hour), sometimes I’m not tight enough and mis-time practice so that when it is time really hit the high rigor questions on we the close out we’re stumped. When pacing is on and we are in a groove the structure is the structure is definitely beneficial.

    For a week I experimented reversing the order of the close out (from right before exit ticket) to the place of the exit ticket (dead last). I put the exit ticket (one high difficulty multiple choice problem) first, had kids click in their answers so I could get a quick pulse on mastery, and then use that to guide how I spent time in the “close out” (now after the exit ticket). Sometimes pulling a kid or two to do some quick direct instruction – other times calling out names for who needed to check their work, and other times weaving in review of the ET into the last 5 minutes. Although it wasn’t perfect – it was pretty cool and really energizing for kids – they left the room knowing where they stood, got an opportunity to get feedback on a problem they were really invested in mastering, and gave me data to guide my next class.

  10. Maggie Wilson
    April 7, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    As an ECE teacher, I found this sometimes to be the most challenging aspect of a lesson, because many students in Pre-K, Kinder, and sometimes even 1st are still pre-writing, and may not be able to express all of their ideas in a written format, whether or not they understood the content. Depending on the lesson, then, I used a variety of strategies, including circulating during Turn and Talk Exit Ticket questions, taking anecdotal evidence as I circulated and probing when necessary. Also using a verbal exit ticket as a transition from carpet to table/line and taking notes in a checklist, having students draw their understanding and circulating while students dictated their thoughts (this also becomes an easy extension for students who CAN provide their own written explanation). There were also times that I knew I would be teaching the same basic skill for several days in a row, so could prioritize who to call on to share out a response to an exit ticket question whole group as long as I was able to ask all students over the course of several lessons. Dealing with pre-writers and emerging communicators definitely requires some creativity when it comes to Exit Tickets, but it can be done and it still critically important in ECE settings!

    • Doug_Lemov
      April 7, 2014 at 7:45 pm

      Love these insights–and the great pre-literacy problem solving. I know others will too as I get this question all the time. Thanks for posting!

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