Apocalyptic Exit Slips

Jun 2, 2014 by

I’m pretty big on carving out time for reflection in any learning environment. As evidenced by my latest blog post, taking the time to reflect allows learners to be critical, yet constructive, in addressing their own educational shortcomings. In other words, I want students to be able to identify what they’re struggling with, and how they might go about thinking how to get better. The problem will reflection is that there isn’t always time to do it within our busy classrooms and pressures from the curriculum. Which is probably why “exit slips” have become popular as of late. Teachers give students a quick, simple form to fill out (digital or otherwise) that provide a “snapshot” of how learners feel about the day’s concepts/learning goals. Collected as students exit the room, these mini assessments can often be filled out in less than a minute, and work into most schedules.

nuclear fallout exit slip

This is not your english teacher’s usual exit slip.

I didn’t want to create another “run of the mill” exit slip with simple bullet-point driven reflection, or cute clip art. Don’t get me wrong! Those are nice (and effective), but they’re awfully “plain jain”. What if we got a little playful and tapped into the popular zeitgeist of teen literature? With zombies, nuclear apocalypse, and other “world ending” scenarios currently dominating popular teen fiction, I got the bug to create some “Apocalyptic Exit Slips” this weekend. It’s a perfect metaphor too for the purpose of the tool; students are exiting your comfortable, and familiar, classroom just as an apocalypse is an exit from the world as we know it. That works, right? Even if it doesn’t, I had a heck of a lot of fun tinkering with informal assessment and alien invasions!

My wife helped out tremendously in sanding out the rough edges of this concept, so I wanted to give her a quick shout out; thanks Nicole! I’ve uploaded and shared 3 different version of the exit slips (PDF, Word, and Pages) to make it as easy as possible for others to use. If you just want to print out the PDF version and run copies, go for it. If you don’t like what I’ve got, but dig the concept, go ahead and change it up. I’ve included four varied reflective activities, but you may wish to simply copy and paste just one of them. If you do alter them, please share! I recently came across something rather exciting that I’ll be blogging about later this week about the importance of sharing.

Apocalyptic Exit Slips (PDF)

Apocalyptic Exit Slips (MS Words)

Apocalyptic Exit Slips (Pages Document – Zipped)

Oh, and I’m taking this opportunity to test a little theory. Many educators in my circles deride Teachers Pay Teachers for a number of reasons. At the forefront is the notion that we should be sharing freely with one another, not following the path of the for-profit education industry. However, most complaints I hear about the site are the “cutesy” copycat nature of the most popular offerings. I’m a firm believer in that ecosystems and communities can change over time, and thus I want to see if building up a small cache of rather “off beat” resources might help others see some potential in the website. Or, it may just stay a Comic Sans-filled warm fuzzy fest; who knows. For you, you can find the Apocalyptic Exit Clips on Teachers Pay Teachers (the PDF version that is) for free as well.

Special thanks to the Noun Project for providing the graphics (either Public Domain or for a reasonable royalty free fee). If you need the Zombie font used in the document, you can find it here from dafont.

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2 Comments

  1. Hi Ben,
    I love the concept of how you assess learning in your classroom. I am a corporate training and we steal each others ideas quite often. What you have created should have your students talking for months. This concept will engage your students and promote learning. I truly believe if you have a group discussion about what they learned in your class for that day, student engagement will blow the roof off the building. Keep the new ideas coming and continue being creative. Lorothy Wilson

  2. Chris R

    Hi Ben,
    I think this is a great idea for students. Teaching in a sixth grade science class, I see how students are very interested/engaged with zombies and world endings because of movies, TV shows, and books. I especially liked the “how stuffed is your brain” part of the exit slip, which really makes the students think.
    Thanks for the idea,
    Chris R.

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