Today’s Topic:  Culturally responsive teaching with exit tickets (fostering joy)

Today’s Tip:   Utilize daily exit tickets for qualitative data that informs your practice. Exit tickets work! 

Since the pandemic started, I have been using exit tickets to gauge student engagement and understanding. It started as a way to stay connected with my students and to make sure they had a voice in their learning, even from afar. However, I have found exit tickets so beneficial to my practice that we’ve continued them, even as the world has been opening back up. 

Exit tickets may work best in scenarios where students have access to 1:1 technology, but they can absolutely be put into practice in more traditional forms (pencil and paper). I recommend making exit tickets a regular part of the class – I set aside the last 5 minutes of each class for students to reflect and respond.

I recognize that losing five minutes of class time doesn’t seem feasible for a lot of us. I felt that way at first, too. But receiving and internalizing regular student feedback has made my time usage more efficient. As a result, we actually get more done!

Creating Your Exit Tickets

Make sure to select your prompts carefully based on your objectives. Do you want to know if students understand the content? If Can they demonstrate or explain a concept? If they are having fun? All of the above? Keep your teaching objectives present in mind, or this could become a thoughtless or, worse, useless routine. Always remind students that their feedback makes a difference and to respond thoughtfully. Make sure to utilize that feedback (and respond if appropriate) so students know that what they’re saying matters. Reiterate that even if you don’t personally respond, you carefully read and consider each answer. 

In terms of how to structure your exit ticket, there are a lot of great options – you can tailor how you receive feedback, so it works best for your own learning/teaching style. For example, you might use Google Forms for tracking data. This is helpful if you prefer visual data representation. I also like to just have an open document where students can respond next to their names. Sometimes seeing other students’ responses helps students understand the question and think more creatively. 

Here is qualitative data I gathered from March 2020, when we entered distance learning, through May 2021. Some of it is projected, but it shows an overall pattern of increased engagement and growth mindset over time. I am fortunate to have pretty happy/satisfied students to begin with (I’ve taught these kids for three years, so they know me and my teaching style, and they’ve mostly all “bought-in” already), but seeing what worked and what didn’t made my curriculum and my relationship with them stronger. 

Here is a chart with some sample 7th grade exit tickets I have used in music class: 


Exit Ticket Prompt Purpose
How did today go? Temperature check
What was your favorite part of this lesson and why? Measuring engagement and receiving feedback
How did today go? Was anything challenging in our new environment? Giving students an opportunity for feedback and problem-solving
Which do you find more challenging, sightreading or dictation? Why? Understanding what activities come more naturally to certain students and assessing how often we should be doing sightreading/dictation activities in class
How did your presentation go? Was this activity helpful? Did you learn anything new? Gauging the effectiveness of the assignment
Tell me about something you learned today (in detail). Giving students an opportunity to synthesize their learning in their own words
Tell me about your experience with Incredibox. Be thoughtful and specific. (Feel free to link your song or paste in a screenshot!) Giving students an opportunity to share their songs and offer and receive feedback
Describe how Incredibox and/or Chrome Music Lab have helped you understand loops/ostinatos. Measure student understanding
Explain the difference between AB and ABA form. How was it composing a song in AB form? Measure student understanding and gauge the effectiveness of the lesson/assignment
Do you feel ready to share your song with the class? If not, what do you need from me to get there? Measure student comfort, trust, and growth mindset; empower students to ask for the help they need to stretch themselves to meet a curricular goal; remind students that they have support

I want to stress how much joy and trust we have fostered since I loosened the reins a little on my own curricular plans and gave students more autonomy and support based on their personal needs and musical goals. Exit tickets have also allowed me to delegate more, and this has encouraged students to become more engaged and independent in their own learning.