We meet a lot of teachers who feel that the hamburger paragraph is not the most authentic type of writing you can ask your students to write; in truth, you don't see a lot of hamburger paragraphs in real-world writing. Alas, hamburger paragraphs seem to be one of those school-only writing tools; I can't bad-mouth them myself, for they do help students who have little or no understanding of how to structure a paragraph.
We offer below three other structures for writing that we feel would work equally well as an "exit ticket" for student writers.
Exit Ticket Variation #1:
Important Book-inspired Exit Tickets. These passages are similar to hamburger paragraphs but different enough so that students aren't aware they are still learning paragraph basics. Look over our lesson on teaching students how to write Important Book Passages. Once students understand the format, assign them to write these paragraphs at the end of lectures, at the end of note-taking sessions, at the end of chapter readings: The important thing about the Battle of Gettysburg is... The important thing about DNA is... The important thing about mean, median, and mode is...
Exit Ticket Variation #2:
Non-Linguistic Exit Tickets. As part of his Exit Tickets Across the Curriculum Workshop, Corbett Harrison created this new variation of an Exit Ticket that has become very popular in Northern Nevada. Robert Marzano's research (from Classroom Instruction that Works) discusses the importance of using more non-linguistic representations with students as a way to deepen their thinking, and Corbett's Non-Linguistic Exit Tickets require students to respond to an Exit Ticket question with two sentences and three non-linguistic representations.
(click on image to view this NL Exit Ticket in larger form)
Exit Ticket Variation #3:
Haiku Riddle Exit Tickets. Respond to the heart of a lesson with just seventeen syllables or words! Sounds easy, but it's not. Look over our lesson on teaching students how to write Haiku Riddles. Once students understand the format of a haiku, require them to be written at the end of lectures, note-taking sessions, or at the end of a chapter reading.
Northern Nevada teacher Johnna Ramos teaches Exit Tickets to her third graders. Here's how she uses them:
- Pose a question at the beginning of a lesson;
- Students will listen better to the lesson if they know the Exit Ticket question beforehand;
- Students must write a CR that answers the question to exit.
- Post baseline scores on a class chart (no names!) that shows how their first Exit Ticket CR went.
- Set a class goal with each new Exit Ticket question.
Here is Johnna's Ticket Out poster that hangs on her door early on in the school year. Her students attach Post-it® Note-sized template Exit Tickets to the poster on their way out to recess:
As the school year progresses, Johnna has her students learn to write Constructed Responses, which become more detailed formats for her third graders' Exit Tickets. Here is Johnna's interactive writing she does with her students to teach them how to create these longer and more detailed Exit Tickets.