You’ve just taught a great lesson and feel your students “got it”… but did they?
What you need are some easy exit ticket ideas to find out.
What Are the Benefits of Using Exit Tickets in the Classroom?
Exit tickets are quick, informal assessments given to students at the end of a lesson to evaluate their mastery of the instructional material. Exit tickets represent an opportunity for students to reflect on new schema, synthesize concepts, and express their level of understanding.
As a teacher, you’re always assessing what your learners “took away” from a particular lesson.
It’s not always necessary (or time-efficient) to use formal assessments to do this, but you need something valuable, efficient, and accurate to demonstrate progress.
The following 31 exit ticket ideas will help you…
- Assess your elementary students relatively quick.
- Provide a great snapshot of what they “took away” from the lesson.
Let’s dig into it! (Grab some paper and a pen ’cause you’re going to want to plug a few of these bad boys into next week’s lesson plan!)
This easy exit ticket idea is so simple yet super effective.
First, think of 3 exit slip prompts that will be most effective for eliciting the type of feedback you need most from students (see ideas for exit slip prompts further on in the post).
Write one exit ticket idea alongside each one of the numbers.
3 facts learned from the text
2 new words revealed using context clues
1 question about a part that was confusing or unclear
Have students write responses in a reader response notebook or give them a template to complete.
I prefer a template because it’s easy to handout and collect quickly!
No worries about searching through and managing a bunch of student notebooks. That’s no fun.
The 3-2-1 exit ticket idea is easy-peasy.
2. ABC Summary
This is my favorite exit ticket idea, and it requires no writing from students unless of course you want them do so in order to keep documentation of their learning progress.
For ABC summary, take small magnetic letters, (find at Wal-Mart in the toy aisle) or simply write each letter of the alphabet on one note-card.
Put the letters in a bag or box and shake ’em up!
Have a student draw one letter from the bag. Let’s say he draws the letter “S”.
Now that student must come up with a word that begins with the letter “S”. The word must relate to a significant idea or concept learned during the lesson.
For example, if today’s lesson covered the 3 states of matter, he could say…
Solid. A solid is a state of matter and holds its shape.
For informal assessment purposes, you’ll be able to see how well the learner understood the lesson by how “deep” or detailed his response.
It’s really amazing to hear what clever responses students share!
ABC Summary is a great way to informally assess the depth of students’ understanding of a concept.
Allow two or so more students to pull another letter from the bag. If someone pulls the same letter, they must come up with a different word.
Take mental notes of how students are responding.
Because not every child will be called in a session, you may want to do ABC summary a few days in a row in order to hear from each learner at least once.
3. Anchor Chart Graphic Organizers
This exit ticket idea saves you time by not having to make copies of exit tickets for each student.
Among all of your anchor charts, have some graphic organizer template ones hanging around that can be used to assess student learning.
A K-W-L anchor chart graphic organizer is a great choice, as is a T-chart with fact/opinion.
There are many possibilities.
At the conclusion of a lesson, students simply record their responses on a sticky note and place it in the appropriate place on the anchor chart.
4. Ball Toss
Gently toss a light ball (or bean bag) to a student, and he/she shares one thing learned during the lesson.
Rinse and repeat with other students.
To make it even more engaging, play music while the ball is tossed from child to child. When the music stops, whomever has the ball is the one to respond to the exit ticket prompt.
Kids really love ball toss!
Making connections is one of the core components of reading comprehension.
When we make connections with something, we’re more likely to remember it.
As an educator, having your learners record their connections to a recently taught lesson is a fantastic way to assess how well they understood the learning objective(s).
No need to be fancy here.
Distribute a sticky note to each student.
Each will write just 1 connection (text-to-self, text-to-text, or text-to-world) that they had with the lesson.
Collect them, and keep as anecdotal notes.
6. Exit Interview
Using their reader response notebooks, have students glue a list sheet of 4 to 5 reader response questions/statements that they can use as a reference.
Here are some questions/statements I recommend…
I distribute a handout or bookmark with these questions/statements at the beginning of the school year so that students can have them handy whenever needed.
Now, once all learners have a set of questions/statements…
- Pair students: Student A and Student B.
- Using the statements/questions, each partner will ask/state 1 question/statement to the other.
- Walk around, monitor, and listen to any interesting responses.
You want to obtain a general idea of how well your learners absorbed the lesson ideas. During your planning period, jot down any responses that stood out.
If time permits, students can switch partners and repeat.
7. Exit Ticket Folder
At the end of a lesson, restate the learning objective, and give students a few seconds to reflect on their learning.
Now, ask them to write their name and one of the statements below on a notecard or “ticket.”:
“More Practice, Please”, OR
“I Need Some Help!”
Before they leave class, direct them to deposit their exit tickets into a folder or bucket.
When you have a moment, separate the responses into the three categories.
Quickly analyze, and adapt future instruction based on the information.
(Source: Erika Savage)
8. Get the Gist
In 10-15 words or less, students say or write (a sticky note works fine) the summary of the lesson.
This exit ticket idea can be pretty challenging for your kiddos who struggle with being concise, so you probably will want to have modeled the strategy with students before having them use it independently.
9. Glow and Grow
On a post-it note or in their response notebooks, students write one area in which they “glowed” today, meaning one learning objective in which they “got it”.
Afterwards, they write one ‘needs improvement’ statement, an area in which they still need to “grow”.
Graffiti is a group informal assessment, and it works beautifully with science or social studies concepts.
Take four pieces of chart paper, and write a different statement stem on each related to the main idea of the lesson (see example right below).
Place one chart paper on each of your four classroom walls.
Now divide students into 4 groups, and choose a recorder. Each recorder should have a different-colored permanent marker in which to write.
Everyone else in the group is an active participant.
To begin, each group stands next to a chart paper.
When you give the signal, students will have about a minute to discuss and write any knowledge they have related to the stem.
Encourage them to think deeply.
After a minute or so, give a signal, and the groups rotate clock-wise; they discuss and write on the next chart in the rotation.
Continue as such until all groups have visited each chart paper.
In a glance, you’re able to see how well each group grasped today’s lesson because all responses are color-coded by group.
A great follow-up is to use the charts the next day within a mini-lesson, clarifying any confusions or false information recorded.
Let me tell you…upper elementary students especially love graffiti. Just be sure your statement stems aren’t too easy.
You want students to do some critical thinking.
11. I Have the Answer. Who Has the Question?
Right before students are dismissed for the day, use that odd minute or two to give the whole class an answer related to one of the day’s lessons.
Whoever raises their hand first and gives an appropriate question leaves first!
For times sake, doing this exit ticket activity in table groups works just as well.
12. Journal Entry
Whether it’s a math, science, social studies, or reading journal, at the end of instruction, provide 5 to 10 minutes for students to jot down and/or sketch any big ideas from the lesson.
For those students who need support, provide question or statement stems.
If you have the time and desire during the week, collect and respond to each student.
Doing so really keeps kids engaged and excited about the topic!
13. Multiple Intelligences
Teaching to various learning styles need not be stressful or a lot of work.
However, assessing learners based on their unique learning style takes things to another level and arguably requires a bit more prep.
But I’ve got you covered!
You can quickly assess students by having them select one of the multiple intelligence activities from this post.
Or better yet, create a learning styles menu, and have them choose one activity to complete.
What I love about this menu is the student choice component!
14. Parking Lot
This exit ticket idea sparks from my many hours of sitting through professional development.
At the end of some, the presenters will ask teachers to “park” their questions (and concerns) on a designated chart paper.
What a great idea, and why not use the same strategy to assess our kids?
Provide each student with a sticky note, and at the close of the lesson, they place their post-it with a question about the day’s lesson (or comment) on the chart.
15. Passport Out
Before learners “take off” for the day, they write 2 to 3 questions, concerns, or comments about one of the day’s activities.
I like to provide a template for this and collect them as students leave for the day.
16. Pictures, Numbers, and Words
A wonderful exit ticket idea for math is pictures, numbers, and words.
Let me tell you…kids will really think outside of the box with this graphic organizer.
Here’s how it works…
- Say any number.
- Your young mathematicians now how to demonstrate that number in pictures, numbers, and/or words.
So, if you say “25” for example, they’ll represent the number in the 3 different ways.
This quick informal assessment really showcases their depth of number sense, especially once you begin giving much larger numbers.
17. Power Question
The power question informal assessment is straight to the point.
On a sticky note, learners write one higher-order thinking question about the lesson that they’d like you to discuss in tomorrow’s lesson.
To save time and support struggling learners, allow students to work in small groups to create their higher-level question.
18. Rating Scale Self-Assessment
Give learners 3 emojis to choose from…
One “happy”, “sad”, and “neutral”.
They sketch on a post-it note (or circle a choice on a template if you have) which face best reflects their understanding of the recent lesson.
19. Red, Yellow, Green
You’ll need these PDF cards for this exercise. Cut them apart, and distribute one card to each student.
After reviewing the learning objective, ask students to circle one of the following options on their respective card:
- Stop (I’m totally confused.)
- Go (I’m ready to move on.)
- Proceed with caution (I could use some clarification on . . .)
No time to make copies of exit ticket templates and just want something very quick?
After giving students a few moments to reflect on the lesson, tell them to complete this statement orally…
“In math (or whatever subject you choose) I’m really good at…” OR
“I’d like to see you reteach…
Self-evaluations work best when paired with rubrics.
After working on a project or activity for a few class periods, pass out to each student a rubric related to that respective activity.
Independently, each will evaluate themselves and reflect on how they can progress to a higher score on the rubric.
Collect rubrics, and analyze how learners rated themselves.
Using data from the rubrics, design your instruction accordingly in order to meet students’ academic needs.
After a few weeks, have students re-evaluate themselves to monitor progress.
22. Sentence Stems
Simply provide your learners with a sentence stem or two to complete.
In the past, I’ve supplied to each reader a reading strategies bookmark containing a variety of sentence stems.
This way, readers will always have them handy.
All they need to do is respond to 1 or 2 stems in their reader response journal.
23. Simile Summary
With this exit ticket idea, students elaborate on the main idea…
For example, a fraction is like a pizza because….
24. Sketch and Caption
Have students take a post-it note, and sketch the main idea of what they learned about the targeted objective.
They’ll label their sketch with a clear caption.
25. Story Frame
Story frames are powerful, and help students frame the learning while synthesizing concepts.
Essentially, story frames are an extension of sentence stems and encourage students to think deeper.
Now I must admit that yes, creating story frames do take some time upfront, but once you have the outlines done, you use them repeatedly.
Save some time by making general story/concept frames.
26. Thought Bubbles
Thought bubbles, also known as Think Marks, are great for having students jot down connections and questions.
As students read independently, they use post-it notes to write down any meaningful connections they have with the characters, setting, plot, themes, etc.
In order to transition to the next lesson activity, or class, each learner must submit their thought bubbles.
27. Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down
This is an oldie but goodie.
Students close their eyes, and you ask a one-answer question.
Baton Rouge is the capital of Louisiana. Thumbs up if you agree, thumbs down if you disagree.
Rinse and repeat.
28. Tic-Tac-Toe Graphic Organizer
If you want to informally assess how well students grasp vocabulary from an activity, the Tic-Tac-Toe graphic organizer is great for doing this.
This informal assessment encourages students to go beyond memorizing definitions by looking for connections/patterns embedded in the concepts.
Here’s how it works…
Students take all the vocabulary words from the lesson and place them anywhere on their individual Tic-Tac-Toe graphic organizer.
Now, students write five meaningful sentences using the terms.
The sentences will include three words straight across in any row, straight down from any column, or from any diagonal.
As a set of three words is used, the student crosses it out.
Students cannot repeat the same set of three words, but a word may be repeated if it’s part of another set.
The Tic-Tac-Toe vocabulary assessment is a fantastic evaluation tool.
29. Ticket to Leave
I think “Ticket to Leave” is the easiest informal assessment on this list.
You know those few minutes or seconds right before the bell rings for dismissal?
That’s where this exit ticket idea fits.
As students line up to be dismissed, give each a multiplication fact to solve or quick true/false statement.
Your questions should be yes/no or one-answer. You want to move fast so that each learner has a chance to answer a question as he or she heads out the door.
If a few answer inappropriately, no biggie. It’s a quick informal assessment but also an educational time-filler.
The goal is to keep them engaged right up until dismissal because as you know, too much down time = disorganized chaos just waiting to happen!
30. Tweet Slips
Tweet exit slip ideas are the cutest!
Learners sum up their understanding of the lesson on these tweet tickets.
31. What It Is…What It Isn’t (Variation of Frayer Model)
For this exit ticket exercise, I prefer to use only the last row of the graphic organizer below, “examples” and “non-examples”
Personally, I believe this informal assessments works best when dealing with science and social studies terms.
It’s as simple as asking students to sketch or write 1 example and 1 non-example of a vocabulary word or general concept.
Case in point…
If we’re studying the four seasons, and the term is “spring”, an example could be a sketch of a flower blooming.
A non-example includes a spring of a bed.
This is not the best example, I know, but you get the point, right?
Exit Ticket Ideas for Math
Though most of these informal assessments work well in math block, my top choices for math include the following… (Hashtag numbers reflect the respective order of the assessment from the exit ticket ideas list above.)
- #9 Glow and Grow
- #16 Pictures, Numbers, and Words
- #26 Thought Bubbles
- #29 Ticket to Leave
Informal Assessments for Reading
Because I’ve used the following exit ticket assessments most frequently with my 2nd, 3rd, and 4th graders during reader’s workshop, I recommend them first and foremost… (Hashtag numbers reflect the respective order of the assessment from the exit ticket ideas list above.)
- #3 Anchor Chart Graphic Organizer
- #5 Connections
- #6 Exit Interview
- #8 Get the Gist
Exit Ticket Ideas for Science & Social Studies
Last but not least…
Because there’s not enough time in the school day to thoroughly cover all subjects that homeroom teachers in elementary have to teach, I’m a huge advocate of integrating science, social studies, and math into literacy block whenever possible.
The following exit ticket assessments help you do so…(Hashtag numbers reflect the respective order of the assessment from the exit ticket ideas list above.)
- #1 3-2-1
- #2 ABC Summary
- #10 Graffiti
- #28 Tic-Tac-Toe Graphic Organizer
How Do I Differentiate Exit Tickets?
Informal assessments such as exit tickets allow you to collect students’ responses and plan accordingly for the next class session.
Differentiating for the various abilities and needs in your classroom is relatively simple since many of the exit ticket ideas rely on you to provide grade-appropriate prompts.
Vary the level of questions and statements you provide to learners using Blooms’s Taxonomy.
Exit Ticket Prompts
- Something new I learned today…
- I’m a little confused about…
- One success I had today during the activity…
- A main concept I discovered in science this week…
- While reading independently, the following text features helped me to understand…. because…
- I need to research more about…
- Two questions I still have about ___________ are ….
- The topic __________relates to the real world because….
- I’m very excited to learn more about…
- I didn’t understand…
- What surprised me the most about _______ was…
- My biggest desire in (whichever subject area) …
- One thing I need my teacher to know about my understanding of ______ is ….
- Of all the lessons I participated in this week, I need the most support and feedback with…
- I work best when…
What Do I Do With with Exit Ticket Data?
Now that you have a collection of informal assessment data, don’t waste it!
Here are some ideas for responding to the information collected…
- Sort exit slips into re-teaching/extension groups.
- Review the data, and use it to guide future instruction.
- Incorporate some of the data within your report card comment comments.
- Refer to some of your informal assessment examples during parent/teacher/student conferences.
- Consider what type of homework to give based on your findings.
- Maintain a documentation log, especially of any actions that stand out.
- Provide student feedback in a timely fashion.
- Adapt and differentiate your planning and instruction.
Wrapping Up: Exit Ticket Informal Assessment Ideas
Assessment is an essential task in the teaching profession, but you can collect lots of great data about students’ academic progress WITHOUT spending hours analyzing formal assessments.
Exit ticket informal assessments eliminate the need to mark every student assignment.
And even better, they provide good information to help you adapt lessons to your learners’ needs.