Entrance and Exit Tickets

Entrance and Exit Tickets

By: Heather Kretschmer

Before you read any further, I invite you to start this Canadian Brass YouTube video and give the first piece your full attention (0:00 – 1:08). When the audience applauds, pause the recording and continue reading.

For me, this Canadian Brass piece grabs listeners’ attention straight away and entices them to hear more.

Precisely the function of entrance and exit tickets.

An entrance ticket is any activity that opens the lesson, and an exit ticket is one that closes the lesson.[1] Did you notice how the Canadian Brass musicians are fully immersed in the music? When students work through a suitable entrance ticket, they enter the lesson actively and mindfully. Likewise, a good exit ticket motivates students to engage with lesson content up to the very end of the lesson and beyond. The beginning and end of a lesson are crucial points, and I was inspired to create stimulating entrance and exit tickets for my students after reading Matt Miller’s ideas (here and here).

[1] These tickets are not physical tickets. However, depending on the activity, the teacher can collect students’ work, calling it the “ticket” needed to enter or exit the lesson.


Entrance and exit tickets can fulfill many different purposes, and it’s important to explain to students briefly why they are doing a particular activity. I have been taking full advantage of the versatility of entrance and exit tickets to try out some of the brain-friendly classroom ideas from the Think Tanks. I combine the Think Tank ideas with classroom assessment techniques (CATs), which involve low-stakes or no-stakes formative assessment. So, what aims might a teacher pursue with an entrance or exit ticket? Let’s look at some examples from my lessons with university Business English students. Entrance and exit tickets can be used to . . .

    • Check in with students and/or build community[2]:
      • How are you feeling today?
      • What have you been doing to cope with the pandemic restrictions?

[2] OneHE has a plethora of ideas for building community in the classroom.

    • Collect ideas for ongoing collaborative projects before students work together:
      • What ideas might your group focus on during your press briefing? Add sticky notes to your quadrant with your ideas. Place the ideas you find more important toward the center:
    • Do retrieval practice and spaced practice[3]:
      • What are the do’s and don’ts when writing proposals?

[3] See also the May 2021 Think Tank issue for more information about retrieval practice and spaced practice.

    • Focus on metacognition:
      • Reflect on the feedback you’ve received on your listening and reading logs. How do you intend to improve your logs? Jot down your ideas.
      • After graduation, what do you want to remember about the remote work case study? Why?[4]

[4] This is a variation of the “Flash Forward” activity from retrievalpractice.org.

    • Help students make connections between homework and lesson content:
      • Imagine you’re at a company meeting in English with colleagues from different countries. A colleague who’s a native speaker of English dominates the meeting. He talks a mile a minute and uses slang. You understand him, but other participants don’t. The native speaker colleague doesn’t pick up on their lack of understanding. What do you do?
    • Gather feedback from students:
      • What did you find useful or enjoyable about writing the job advertisement?

Entrance and exit tickets work well in both face-to-face and online lessons. Students can do these activities using pen and paper, notecards, sticky notes, the board, or individual small dry-erase lapboards. Alternatively, you can go the tech route and have students use digital tools like Google Jamboard, Google forms, AnswerGarden, Padlet, Tricider, and Mentimeter.

Entrance and exit tickets lend foreign language lessons a predictable structure, and they capture learners’ attention. Designing useful and fun entrance and exit tickets whets students’ appetites for what awaits them in the main part of the lesson and for what lies in store for them for homework. Allow the final curtain to fall on this article by listening to the rest of the Canadian Brass video (1:09 – 4:07). Encore!

Heather Kretschmer has been teaching English for over 20 years, primarily in Germany. She earned degrees in German (BA & MA) and TESL (MA) from Bowling Green State University in Ohio. Currently she has the privilege of working with Economics and Business Administration students at the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Germany.

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