Do you have to create a SMART goal or student growth goal? I find it very challenging trying to come up with a goal that accurately reflects student learning and growth but that is feasible to do in the library. It is very difficult when you only see the students once a week, not to mention the amount of time you actually have to teach a lesson. And if there is an assembly or an outbreak of lice or the flu, then it can be a couple weeks before you see them again. However, I do understand how important it is to have these goals. We need to know that our students are learning the content. And if they are not learning it for some reason, then we need to know so we can re-evaluate and re-teach.
One of the easiest ways I have found to do assessments is exit tickets. The exit ticket should reflect on just one skill or concept at a time. And while they are a quick and simple way to check for students’ understanding of a concept, they can be used for other purposes as well. These include:
- Check for students’ prior knowledge on a topic
- Determine any misunderstandings of the content
- Determine if the content needs to be re-taught or if students have retained the content sufficiently to move on to the next topic
- Allow you to evaluate and reflect on your teaching method of the concept. If students struggled with an idea then you can use this knowledge to reflect on what can you do to help them learn it more effectively the first time.
Benefits of Exit Tickets in the Library
Typically librarians will teach the same lesson to every class in a grade level. If I am teaching a class of third graders what a biography is, I write one lesson plan for all five classes. If the first class struggles with remembering the difference between a biography and an autobiography, I can take that knowledge and change the lesson plan for the next four classes. Then next week I will only have to re-teach the concept to the first class.
If I am teaching a class of fourth graders about author’s purpose, I can do an exit ticket before the lesson to see what the students already know. Besides the obvious reasons why this is beneficial to know, there is one other that is useful for librarians. For example, Mrs. Smith has already reviewed author’s purpose with her students thoroughly. Her students understand the concept and do not need much more than a quick refresher. But Mrs. Jackson has not had time to teach this yet and her students do not know the reasons that author’s write. Her class will need more time to learn about it. You can then plan your lessons accordingly.
Like I mentioned at the beginning of this post, gathering the necessary data for your professional goals can be tough. Exit tickets can help you collect the data you need to prove the effectiveness of your lessons and how well the students are learning. A few times I have also kept the exit tickets from one class over the course of the year. I entered the data into a spreadsheet and used that to show learning growth and progress.
Exit Ticket Management
I used a very simple method to collect exit tickets. I put a board or easel and attach a large manila envelope to it, usually with Velcro. I write on the envelope “exit tickets”. Then when students are finished with their ticket they put them right in the envelope. I usually keep the tickets in a basket next to the board along with a stack of pencils. It’s not fancy but it works. The only problem is if I forget to empty the envelope before the next class comes in. Although they will not be using the same tickets so that’s not a big issue.
I also have an expanding file folder where I keep the completed tickets, one color for each grade level. Usually I will put in the tickets until I have a chance to read over them (so I don’t lose them). It can be tough to keep track of that many exit tickets. I also have a spot where I store the ones I want to keep and a spot for the blank copies. Having everything in one spot saves time and helps keep me organized.
I was hesitant to start using exit tickets. I thought it would take too much time or that I would not get any helpful data from them. But once I started using them I quickly realized that I was wrong. Many students use them in their classrooms so it is not a new concept for them. And I was surprised to find that students actually liked filling them out and would be disappointed when I didn’t use them.
Also I did learn some useful insights from the tickets. If I was teaching about call numbers I could see if the majority of the students understood the difference between a fiction and a nonfiction call number and which classes needed more practice. I also started using them with the younger grades. I would tell them what question I wanted them to answer and they could draw a picture or write just a few words.
Ready to Start Using Exit Tickets?
If you would like to begin using exit tickets with your students then take a look at the ones I created. They are specifically for school librarians and are the ones I have used with my own students. I have a set for kindergarten – second grade and another set for third grade – fifth grade. You can purchase the sets individually or in a bundle. Look below to see some examples from each set.
Kindergarten – 2nd Grade
Third Grade – Fifth Grade
DOWNLOAD A FREEBIE
You can download a free sample set of exit tickets from the resource library. Click the button to log-in or to learn how you can gain access to the library.