February 28, 2023

Exit Tap Cards: Reflecting On The Learning Process In Physical Education

You've seen them before. Heck, you probably use them in your teaching! Ben Landers (the great guy behind The PE Specialist and also the one who popularized these) calls them Daily Self Assessment Posters. I call them by a different name: 

Exit Tap Cards.

Tap Cards are popular in the world of PE, and I get why: they're quick, simple, and easy to bake into your classroom routines. They provide a simple reflection mechanism to help your students "look back" (as Ben's student defined reflection in the video which was really cute) at how the lesson went from a behaviouralstandpoint.

What if we wanted to use Tap Cards to help students reflect on how the lesson went from a learning perspective? Sure, you could repurpose the same cards... but I'm not sure how much value there would be in the process. Hear me out:

🎯 In the example lesson, the learning target is "I can underhand throw a beanbag towards a target with accuracy."

🥳 Abby taps the "Wow" card. What information does that give me as her teacher?
👍 Billy taps the "Good Job" card. How does that help him in his learning?
Hannah taps the "Keep On Trying" card. Does that motivate her to do so?
😐 Jimmy taps the "Need More Effort" card. Does he know what to do next?

Although I'm a big fan of the combo of Learning Roadmaps and Assessment Magnets as it provides a more specific, learning-based reflection, I do see the value of teachers using Exit Tap Cards when their teaching reality doesn't pair well with a more sophisticated system (e.g. teachers who teach a lot of students in a short amount of time). 

So the question that drove me to hit the drawing board was as follows:

"How could Tap Cards be used to provide valuable insight to the teacher, a learning-focused reflection for students, and to help determine what needs to happen next to keep moving forward in one's learning?"

Here's what I started thinking:

Instead of "Wow", "Good Job", "Keep On Trying", and "Need More Effort", I created a set of cards with the following language:

⚠️ I'm Stuck!
🌱 I'm Making Progress!
🎉 I'm On A Roll!
🚀 I'm Feeling Out Of This World!

Let's go back to that example lesson:

🎯 "I can underhand throw a beanbag towards a target with accuracy."

⚠️ Abby taps the "I'm Stuck" card. Teacher takes a note to connect with her next lesson.
🌱 Billy taps the "I'm Making Progress!" card. He can share what he's focused on next.
🎉 Hannah taps the "I'm On A Roll!" card. Teacher asks her "how does that feel?"
🚀 Jimmy taps the "I'm Feeling Out Of This World!" card. Teacher invites him to help teach others next class.

The focus is now on learning and achievement, with an eye on the future.

Speaking of which, I thought it would be cool to add "Next-Step Strategies" to the cards.

The idea here is to help students gain some clarity on what they can do next so that they enter the next lesson with a plan (and a little more confidence).

I decided on three strategies per card, with space for a fourth one that a) students can come up with themselves, or b) the teacher could fill in based on common strategies used in their teaching.

Here's what this looks like: 

"Wait a minute, Joey. How are these different than the Learning Roadmap levels?"

When I first presented this idea to the community members over at #PhysEdU, we had some discussion about how these Exit Tap Cards are different than the "Not Yet!", "Getting There!", "Got It!", and "Wow!" levels that we use to create our Learning Roadmaps.

Here's the TL;DR of where that discussion led us to: 

🗺️ Learning Roadmap Levels: "We're I'm at in my learning"
👆 Tap Cards: "How I'm doing in my learning"

The big "Ah-Ha!" moment was realizing that a student can achieve the "GOT IT!" level, yet feel stuck in their learning (e.g. how to get to "WOW!")

If it helps, here's a video comment that I shared in that discussion we had to help clarify our thinking:

Download The Exit Tap Cards

If you would like to test out the Exit Tap Cards in your teaching, you can now download them from the Shop.

Download The Exit Tap Cards

As always, the resource is also available to all members of the Ongoing Leaner tier over at #PhysEdU.

I just want to say thank you again to Ben Landers for his willingness to share ideas from his teaching. Be sure to go check out Ben's site at The PE Specialist.

Thanks for reading! Happy Teaching! 🥳

Joey Feith
Joey Feith is a physical education teacher based out of Nova Scotia and the founder of
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