[MTBoS Blaugust] The Ticket Out

My first year of teaching, the main thing[1] that my AP recommended that I change in my lesson was including a “ticket out” at the end of my lesson.

Six years later I still haven’t gotten in the habit of getting a ticket out[2].


That’s why this year I want to build it as a routine so I remember to do it every year.


I intend to start with a ticket out on day 1.

To remind myself every class, every day, I’m going to set my watch alarm (it only vibrates, so I’m the only one it “disturbs”) with 5 minutes left in class.

There will be small sheets of paper (1/4 sheet?) at their “student supply centers”, located multiple places around the room. One student per group will get sheets for the whole group (usually groups of 3).

Students will put their “ticket” into one of 4 folders by the door. See example[3].

How to Use Them

A master teacher (@staceySisler) at my New Teacher Orientation explained that she often uses tickets out for her activity “My Favorite NO”. This is where she picks one wrong answer and tells the class that it’s her “favorite NO”. She wants the class to guess why it’s her favorite wrong answer.

This does two things: 1) it tells the students that yes, I read the ticket outs and what they are writing is important; 2) it generates a discussion about a wrong answer and can clear up a misconception that many students may share; 3) it gets students talking about math, which is always a good thing. I think I’ll do this in a warm-up via a think/pair/share format. Perhaps even replacing the previously planned warm-up!

Types of Questions

I intend to do many more reflection pieces, though answering questions will be good, too. I need to have these planned in advance, however, as “planning to come up with them on the fly” will result in “not having a good exit ticket”. They should be flexible, however, but that means I need to plan multiple options in advance, instead of no options.


On day 1, I intend to start with Alex Overwijk’s 26 squares. I intend on guiding/steering them into finding the triangle inequality rules along with classification of obtuse/acute/right triangles, and ultimately discovering the Pythagorean theorem. I am going to have one question setup for how far we get (I’m only expecting them to get the first rule, if even that! They’ve got to cut out the squares, after all!)

Here’s my first day’s Google slides, with the multiple ticket outs at the end of the slide.

(Link to the slides, in case the embed doesn’t work)





[1] My AP was very sensitive to the fact that it was my first year teaching and, like all first year teachers, I was doing awesome if I was ready for class by the time the bell rang. So I’m sure she could have given me more advice, but wisely stuck to “one thing” so that I could implement it in my class. Of course, apparently I didn’t listen and haven’t yet :/

[2] What’s the plural: tickets out? ticket outs? tickets outs?

[3] Just found that via Google image search. I hope to post my own classroom when it’s done!



Filed under Teaching

2 responses to “[MTBoS Blaugust] The Ticket Out

  1. Thank you for the detailed post. Cool find with the google image search. Good luck with the Exit Tickets. Since the kids will place their tickets into one of four slots, will they also write their names on the exit slips? Will your exit slips be counted toward their grades?

    • No, I was not going to count it to a grade, that way students aren’t nervous about what they write and are welcome to answer with “I don’t understand ______”. I guess one idea is that they can’t leave the classroom unless they’ve written something, so that would be the motivation for them answering it. I’ve seen many people talking online about how once you put a grade on something, students effectively shut down and cannot learn from the activity as they would have been able to. I want the exit tickets to be a continuation of the class and a learning experience, not just a way for me to assess how the day went.

      I think part of the reason I hadn’t done them before is that I always saw them as only for my sake, but when done correctly, they can be just as effective as a warm-up in getting students thinking the right way.

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