When I tell people some of the apps that I use in my first grade class, they are very surprised at what my students can do independently. While some apps take time, most of them can be adjusted to be used with primary grades.
I remember during my college days how my professors always told me how important it was to collect exit tickets to be able to reflect on your teaching. As I entered the world of being a classroom teacher, I could see how checking for understanding was key to student progress. My colleagues used a lot of sticky notes to check for understanding. They had their students put them on a big board as they walked out the door. While I thought it was a good idea, I knew that was not something I thought would work great for my class. The information I got from those would work at times, but it was hard to know exactly how to help my students based off what they tried to write. Oh the joys for first grade writing.
When I discovered ExitTicket, I knew that the breakdown of information would help me to better address their needs. Keeping all of their responses, seeing if my teaching was effective for the day, and having an app tell me who to put into intervention groups based off of skill was just what I was looking for to use in my class.
To start using ExitTicket with my students, I decided to make their accounts easy to use. For their username and password, I chose to use their lunch number. It was something that my students used day in and day out.
Steps to have students use ExitTicket.
You can visit http://exitticket.org/deploy-in-your-classroom/ to help you to set up your classroom.
Introducing the app happened over the period of a week. I told students that we would be using this app to check for understanding and to "make sure we are listening throughout the day." I didn't want to students to focus on the score portion of the app in the beginning because I wanted them to know that this was a way for me to help them be a better student.
We went over the following lessons and added onto the previous day's lesson:
The questions that I asked my students were based off the Learning Objectives for the day. I started off with three questions a day that talked about reading, writing, and math. After the Common Core State Standards were a part of ExitTicket, I put my class into two groups: Math and ELA. We moved from just three questions to multiple questions based off of certain standards.
The next important piece of using an app, such as ExitTicket, is when teachers can use it with primary grade classes. If you're a bit hesitant about using the app, I recommend doing it when students arrive and/or when they start to pack up their belongings. The time that I chose to do it with my students was when they left for the day. I called them over to get their homework and take home folder. Before I gave them their things, I had them take their ExitTicket. At the beginning of the year I had to read a lot of the questions since their reading levels sometimes required help. Now we are at the point where they can read and answer all the questions independently. Kids hold me accountable because they are now asking "When are we going to take another Exit Ticket?"
Give ExitTicket a try and I know that you will see how it can transform your teaching and help you become a more responsive teacher. Keep it simple for starters and your kids will begin to fall in love and make sure you're giving them their ExitTickets.