Emergency Exits!

I don’t know about you, but there are certain times when I have taught a lesson when I could tell from the glassy looks that I was speaking a foreign language to a majority of my class (can we say double digit by double digit multiplication usually brought that on?) 

And there were other days, when small groups were actively working on projects and it seemed as though the entire class had a solid grasp of the concepts in the lesson from the day.
Well, most days for me are usually somewhere in between – and you never REALLY know who has it and who is faking it unless you do some type of assessment. 

Now, before I get attacked because I know we already do enough assessing, I am just talking about a quick INFORMAL check of what students learned THAT DAY in class. 

Nothing more, nothing that will make or break a student’s grade, and nothing that should take more than 5 minutes total.

Exit slips are a little assessment strategy that we don’t always think of, but they can be so helpful in doing a quick check of student understanding.

What type of assessment is an exit slip?

Exit slips (or some call them exit tickets) are a little assessment strategy that we don’t always think of, but they can be so helpful in doing a quick check of student understanding. 

Quick checks such as these fall into the formative assessment category. No need for a full summative assessment like a chapter test at the end of a teaching unit.

Instead, this quick check can let you know whether a large chunk of your class grasped the concepts of the day – or whether you may need to reteach it in a different way the next day before moving on.

Typically, I like to use exit slips as the students are finishing up that subject to drive my lesson plans for the next day.

It truly is one of my favorite ways to drive my classroom planning and instruction.

What does an exit ticket look like?

The way I have used exit slips is to do the following:

1.  Pass out blank exit slips (keep reading and I just might have some for you to grab for free)

2.  At the very end of the lesson, I give 1 or 2 of the HARDEST problems from the day.  I either place them on the SmartBoard, on the whiteboard, or assign specific questions from the textbook review page.

3.  As students leave for specials, their next class, or lunch – they answer quickly and drop them in a clasp manila envelope for me to be able to easily transport since chances are, I will also be moving about in the hallway as well if they are heading out.

4.  I take a few minutes to look over the answers (usually while my lunch is heating up in the microwave) and place the slips into 3 categories:  didn’t understand a lick of the problems, maybe had partial credit, and knew the answers without thinking twice.

5.  Now, you are able to see whether you need to reteach again tomorrow, who perhaps could use some enrichment while you are reteaching, who you could have parent volunteers to work with during intervention time, etc.

Also, if you see that 80% or more of the students knew both questions with no errors, you can gleefully move on to the next portion of your unit because there is no sense in sticking around for basic review once students are showing mastery.

You might want to check out:

Assessment eBook Cover

Need some new ideas for your assessment and parent conference routine?  This 114 page digital book has you covered!

Includes 17 articles from Organized Classroom, including topics such as:

  • Saving Grading Time
  • 65 Report Card Comments
  • Custom Sticky Notes and Rubrics
  • How to Set Up Student Data Folders
  • Self-Assessment for Students
  • Managing Your Centers
  • Quick Informal Assessment Hacks

…and even more!

Includes 9 additional freebie files!  No need to enter in an email address for each one separately – just click and go!

See it HERE.

You can use exit slips on a regular basis to check for understanding from a lesson you just taught, random review skill checks, or even a little preassessment for the next day’s lesson to adjust plans accordingly.

Sometimes the results might surprise you at who you thought understood a lesson really didn’t – and others who were goofing off actually were goofing off because they already understood it!

Other Unique Ways to Use Exit Slips in School

You aren’t limited by just using exit slips at the end of the lesson in math. Think outside the box to find different ways to shake up the learning in all different school environments.

  • Use admit slips instead of exit options. You can pre-assess what students already know before even going in to the lesson! If 80% of your students know that day’s content, skip it!
  • How about an alternative activity for teacher PD staff meetings? Use exit cards to find out what the biggest takeaways were of the professional development session were for those in attendance
  • Have students help you come up with examples for the next day’s lesson by writing in a fill-in-the-blank options to use with the whole group
  • Be creative! Use exit slips for brainstorming more vocabulary words for overused words, such as said, got, and ran
  • Just have reflection cards to be used when students are leaving the cafeteria to get feedback on noise levels, peer issues, or even menu choices

The sky is the limit when choosing how to use your assessment exit slips!

I have included a free download of the exit slips below.  Enjoy and maybe it will bring a little sunshine to your classroom next winter.

Exit slips are a little assessment strategy that we don’t always think of, but they can be so helpful in doing a quick check of student understanding.

How else do you use check for formative assessment or exit slips in particular?  We would love to hear in the comments below!

~Charity

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