A Reader Writes… Lesson Framing – Part 1

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Proving that it pays to occasionally comb through the blog archives, in response to the 1/18/2010 post, “A Reader Shares… Lesson Framing,” a reader writes:

SC,
I have been thinking about and using exit slips (and trying to model how this is an effective strategy to use in classrooms). Here is my question: 
I read the exit slips and sort into piles of: Got It, Sort Of and Not There Yet. I then use this to shape my instruction for the following day. However, I don’t give the slips back to kids. 
I worry that if they write it down and then I don’t specifically come back to each kid who didn’t get it that students may walk away thinking that their misconception was correct (particularly those who are absent in mind or body) the next day.

Your thoughts of this? My teachers typically have a daily class load around 200 students so simplicity is pretty essential.

SC Response Great question.  First of all, keep reminding yourself that the primary purpose of the exit ticket is to close the lesson in a way that forces the student to demonstrate the critical connection or understanding of the lesson.  This is not an instructional “fix.” It is more like instructional insurance and diagnostic information for the teacher on the quality of the lesson. The insurance is that students are creating memory hooks that facilitate content retrieval and the diagnostic information should lead to improved instructional delivery methods. Both of these dynamics working simultaneously, over time, will reduce the number of students needing remediation and increase overall student performance.

Second, students need to sign their exit slips.  This way the teacher can identify who answered what.  

The day the exit ticket can’t be attributed to me is the day I put no effort into my answer.  

You don’t have to grade everything, but you must maintain the illusion of accountability to be assured that your students are giving you an honest effort.

Third, your exit ticket analysis should result is the following actions:

A. Everyone got it = Move forward, with confidence, at full speed.

B. No one got it = Reteach it, in a completely different manner, that is not louder or angrier.

C. A few students didn’t get it = Quick pullout reteach.  This can be done during the warm-up or during individual practice time.

Now the question is, “How to do the exit ticket analysis, quickly?” Here are two of the numerous methods that I could recommend. Both require the exit ticket to be completed on sticky notes.

1. Have the students place their exit ticket on the classroom door as they leave. The teacher then scans the answers while standing at the door during the passing period.

2. Have a traffic light area on a bulletin board.  As students leave they place their exit ticket in one of the following areas. 

Red Light = I don’t get it.  Yellow Light = I’m getting there. Green Light = I got it. 

With this method, not only can it speed up the teacher’s analysis of the exit tickets, it facilitates student self-assessment of both learning and effort.

I hope this helps and let me know how things progress on your campus.    Think. Work. Achieve. Your turn…

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