Lesson Closure Through Exit Slips

Exit Slip with graphics and text
Exit Slip with graphics and text
Exit Slip with text
Exit Slip with text

Lesson closures are important for several reasons. They serve as a quick review, help the instructor evaluate what was learned and allows the instructor to see where the students are to plan for the next lesson.  A great way to provide closure is through the “exit slip.”  Exit slips are short term assessments for what students have learned from the class.  They are useful for the presenter to help understand what students took away from the lesson.  These assessments can be oral or written; however, I prefer written exit slips as they can be used as artifacts for our personal portfolio.  I also use them to plan and modify future lessons.  “ Lesson Closure With Examples” by Ann Sipe is an excellent article about exit slips with 40 different ideas for leaving a lesson.

With our focus on differentiation to reach all of our students, exit slips should include several definitions for our ELL students and questions which require different levels of understanding.  I am attaching a sample of an exit slip modified for ELL populations and an exit slip for the general population.  We used these exit slips following a series of research classes where students created brochures about different planets.

I asked the question: “Which resources were most useful to you in your research? Why?”

Most of the responses were either “the internet” or “google.”

One student said Grolier, two said World Book and two said Wikipedia.

If you rephrase the question to state “List 1-3 resources you used in your library activity today and list some examples: Flushing High School database title, or LibGuide title” you may get more specific answers.


Differentiating by Content, Process and Product

Using context clues, glossaries and dictionaries to understand vocabulary on the Regents Examinations

Student Flashcards with words “capital”

capital resources

As a librarian and a teacher I often see students struggling with reading comprehension. Many state assessment examinations require students to be able to understand what they are reading in order to successfully pass the exams.  This year our school is focusing on differentiating instruction for students through content, process and product.  The research is based upon Gardner’s Multiple Intelligence Theory, how students learn through a variety of ways.  Students will remember what they learn if they experience the material through many different ways. 

With a large number of English Language Learners in our school this year there is a school wide emphasis on improving students’ “academic vocabulary.” In this vein, our principal asked the librarians to collaborate with the ELL teachers to construct a lesson having students use dictionaries and glossaries.   I incorporated the Global History Regents and the US History Regents into the lesson by having the students read several questions and circle the words they were unfamiliar with.  Students were directed to look the words up in both glossaries and dictionaries and compare the two resources.  Students had the most trouble with understanding the meaning using context clues because many of them did not understand most of the words in the sentence.  The advanced students explained the meanings to the newer students.  I then had the students draw pictures of the words and create flashcards to help them remember the definitions.  I divided each class up into seven groups of four students each and had each group work on one regent’s question.  I gave each student one 4 x 5 ½” sheet of paper and had them write the word on one side of the paper and draw a picture on the back.  We reviewed the new words by showing the class the picture and had the students guess the words.  At the conclusion of the lesson, students compared the glossary with the dictionary and explained how context clues provide hints to help the students understand which definition applies to the particular sentence.

This lesson appealed to the visual senses by using color and having students draw the words. The kinesthetic sense was involved by having the students touch the flashcards.  Students also defined the words by using dictionaries.  The kinesthetic sense was involved when they touched the dictionaries and physically looked up the words.  These multiple entry points help make the material accessible to a wide range of students.

Claim Counterclaim

Recently our school is charged with teaching our students how to develop claims and counterclaims.

Our mission is to teach our students how to interpret text and cite textual evidence for each claim and counterclaim they make.  Students are encouraged to use templates to formulate their thinking and improve their note taking skills.   I recommend two books which I found very helpful to develop critical thinking and engaging students while attacking various texts.

Texts and Lessons
Texts and Lessons

One excellent book is  Texts and Lessons for Content-Area Reading, With More Than 75 Articles from The New York Times, Rolling Stone, The Washington Post, Car and Driver, Chicago Tribune, and Many Others by: Harvey “Smokey” Daniels, and  Nancy Steineke,

It contains some great ideas for teaching students how to react to a text, including shoulder to shoulder writing where students partner with one another and write one side of an issue, then sit across from each other and argue the points they listed in the writing exercise.

Another great book I highly recommend is Teaching With Text Sets by Mary Ann Cappiello, published by Shell Education, ISBN 978-1-4258-0688-0. It has sample units with student work sheets and model units. This book focuses on note taking and unit planning ideas.

Looking for student templates?  I highly recommend the New York State Information Fluency Curriculum, published by the New York City School Librarian System.

If you are looking for lessons and curriculum plans, Engage NY now has complete modules for English Language Arts, grades K-12 online.  Full modules can be downloaded here: http://www.engageny.org/english-language-arts.  The ninth grade ELA curriculum is best aligned with our goads of teaching point counterpoint articles.

Grow your dreams!!Although it is cold and snowy outside, it’s not too early to think of summer.  Encourage your students and staff to start planning now for summer internships/travel opportunities.  I compiled a list of links for summer jobs for students. Many of my links came from the CCNY  site.  The Brooklyn Public library also has a comprehensive listing of internships.

Remind students that many internships require recommendation letters, transcripts and essays.  I encourage my students to write from the heart.  Often the organizations are looking for commitment, drive and sincerity.

For your teachers, encourage them to apply for a Fulbright.  The deadline this year is FEBRUARY 5, 2014.  There is only one Fulbright Program this summer ,  the program is in CHINA.   Hurry and apply if you have an interest.

If your teachers like variety, look at the NEH website.  There is a host of opportunities for teachers and the deadline is a month away: MARCH 4, 2014.

Grow your dreams!!

 There is something for everyone on this list: From Shakespeare to Communism, history to humanities. Check it out and explore.

Good luck and happy trails!!!

Shakespeare Set Free

MUSEUM GLOBEDo you want to learn how to teach students to love Shakespeare? I highly recommend the teacher workshop Folger Set Free. Check out the website for great lesson ideas.  I took a workshop with Mr. Josh Cabat, it was six hours long and we had six hours of useful information. From the Shakespeare salutations to  the Shakespeare death quotes, the workshop was interactive, educational and fun.  You can also visit Mr.Cabat’s website for more cool teaching applications. If you really want to get intense, apply to the Teaching Shakespeare Institute sponsored by Folger Shakespeare. The application will be posted on line on Nov. 15th.

September and October Reads

These past two months I was reading several books at once. I only recommend this if you get super depressed reading one book and need something to lighten up the load.

Escape From Camp 14 by Blaine Harden was a very depressing account of the secret prison camps in North Korea, Blaine Harden was one of the very few who managed to escape and tell the story of his survival.  The book was frightening but real.  I would recommend it to anyone, I only wish people who read it would force the rest of the world to release the people imprisoned there.

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and in Business by Charles Duhigg: A fascinating read about how human behavior works. If you want to change your life, this book will be you ideas about how to do it.  Some quick tips:
recognize cues and reward , take  time to change, research, observe your behavior both before and after action.
1. Identify routine.
2.experiment with rewards
After each activity jot down first 3 things come to mind
3. Isolate cues: Notice your location, time and emotional state.  
4. Have a plan

I am still looking for a really light read, but haven’t found it yet.Image

Funding Opportunities for Librarians

In today’s market, it is almost essential to look for grants outside of your local school. Several grants I was successful with are: Target Field Trip Grant, Lowe’s Toolbox for Education Grant and the Donors’ Choose.org.
Apply early and don’t wait for the last day to submit your application. All of the grants I mentioned require you to submit your application online. Waiting to the last minute means the server could crash because many others have waited until the last minute too. Save yourself the aggravation and apply way before the deadline.
Target Field Trip Grant: Funding up to $700 for trips for students. Deadline is September 30. Application period opens: August 1. Deadline: September 30. HINT: Think about your idea in May, ask your principal for permission to apply during the summer. Apply early!! Before school starts is the best time, you know once the students come in, there is not much time for grant writing. https://corporate.target.com/corporate-responsibility/grants/field-trip-grants
Other opportunities from Target are the Art, Culture and Design in School grants, could be used to fund cultural programs in schools. Apply between March 1 and April 30. Grants are up to $2,000. Think: author visit and tie it in with an author/illustrator. Could be used to motivate students to enter the Ezra Jack Keats Bookmaking Competition: http://schools.nyc.gov/offices/teachlearn/arts/ejk.html
Deadline: January 24th, 2014. For New York City students only.
Lowe’s Toolbox for Education Grant: http://www.toolboxforeducation.com/
Fall Deadline: October 15, 2013. Spring deadline: February 15, 2014. I recommend applying for the spring grant as soon as the application is posted. Begin thinking about the grant now. When the application goes live, submit. Lowes’ limits the grant application process to the first 1500 schools that apply, again, the earlier, the better.
Meeting deadlines is essential for getting the grants.
Donor’s Choose.org: This is a great site to go when you wish to fund small projects. Benefits: easy application, quick turnover if your project gets funded. Drawbacks: you get the supplies listed on the site, you need to find what you need from the vendors listed. May not always find what you are looking for. BIG PLUS: no deadlines, apply whenever you have the time and the ideas. http://www.donorschoose.org/