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Thursday, July 4, 2013

I do exit tickets wrong

I've got a good reason, really...

My class periods are 73 minutes long.  How long is your attention span?  Right now my mind is wandering to those biweekly staff meetings, once a month the meeting is 75 minutes and I'm rarely 100% focused on what the meeting is about.  Sure I start out well, I even have a notebook each year and  keep track of what we do each meeting.

I try to keep this in mind when planning a lesson, I've even been known to make the kids do the wave, get up and stretch or just find some other reason for students to do something to break up the monotony.    Because of this, my 73 minutes is frequently broken into thirds or at least half.  Seems like a perfect time for an exit slip.

Since I've already planned the rest of the class, I don't feel as guilty leaving a topic which just isn't sticking to reconsider and try another time.  This also gives me time to go through those exit slips and if I want look at the topic again before sending my students off to their other classes.   Also, if I need them to practice some part of the lesson, I now have a better idea of what they're capable of doing and what will just frustrate them.  (Or the time to access and prepare a flip for them to watch at home instead of or in addition to something written).

I made up 4 (or so) different kinds of exit slips and I made a couple hundred copies of each, so the students don't necessarily know what I'm going to ask.  (I tried posting links at the bottom of the post).

I realize that it's not exactly an exit slip, but there are technological tools which can accomplish something similar.  At school they're pushing using the NSpire Navigator system ( not entirely because of the great cost it took to get).  Sorry, TI, but I'm not a fan of the NSpires for this, because unless the kids use them almost daily that logging-in and such always takes more time than I'm willing to trade off on something like this.

I also do "my favorite no" as an opening activity a couple days a week.   I've found that my exit slips from the day before frequently guide me about what to ask and whose examples to be prepared to share.   I first saw the my favorite no concept in a video online, and I'm sorry to say I do not know to whom to give wasn't me, but I'll describe how I use the concept for those who don't know about it.

As students enter the room, they see MFN projected onto the board.  (underneath it says, get an index card from the back holder and write one problem on the front and the other on the back, then by yourself try to solve the two problems).  This gives me time to take attendance, walk around look at homework and speak to students, approx 3-6 mins.  I do not have students add their names, unless I get lots of students doing nothing, in which case I have them add initials (though I see who is doing it and who isn't while walking about).  I then collect the cards and sort through the 1st problem, picking out a card in which the problem was started well, but something went wrong.  The class then gets to figure out what went wrong and suggest how that student could remember not to make the same mistake(s) again.  While they're doing that I sort the second side to do the same thing with that side.

It works well to look at material from the previous day, but I find that it really shines for me when I need to get them thinking about prior knowledge in order to reference those skills in the lesson I am giving that day.  (I recall converting 1/7 to a decimal, without a calculator, the day we started polynomial long division).

I can't see any reason to start doing exit tickets correctly... at least not as I currently use them...

exit slip #1
Exit slip #2
Exit slip #3
exit slip #4

I think there are 2 more at work...  I'll try to update at some point

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