Thinking on Exit Slips

My school recently had a full day PD with author Ron Ritchhart, author of “Making Thinking Visible.” It was a great PD, and I really wanted to incorporate some of his concrete activities into my practice. One of them having student complete this prompt:

“I used to think ________________________________

but now I think _________________________________”

I wasn’t sure at first where to incorporate it in my class. Then, I decided to use it as an exit ticket. I did this with my seventh graders, after a week of studying rates and ratios. Here are some of the responses:

  • I used to think I couldn’t do them and they were too hard. Now I think I can do them and they’re aren’t that hard!
  • I used to think there was only one way to solve ratios, but now I know there are multiple ways to solve these problems.
  • I used to think that ratios were made up of only two numbers. Now I think there has to be at least two numbers.

I loved these responses better than giving them some random ratio problem as the exit slip because I got to see more of their understanding and thinking, and what I loved even more is through this honest sharing, students were clear if they were still lost. One student wrote

  • I used to think ratios were hard. Now I think they are still hard, maybe getting a little better.

I’ve found that when I give an exit slip problem to solve, students do really well, probably because they have mastered the ability to copy some technique I displayed in class. However, seeing that they got a problem correct on an exit slip doesn’t always clearly tell me who is struggling and who is not.

To push this further, to show how much I value their thinking, I added a spot on my wall where I hung a bunch of these index card exit slips under the title “Our Current Thinking on Ratios…”

I’m thinking in the future I will only do exit slips that involve thinking routines like this. I feel like I gained so much more!


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