Week of Accountability ’15 Teaching Tip: What just happened?

     At the beginning of most class periods, I had out a small sheet of scrap paper to every student.  It's about 1/4 of an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper.  At the beginning of the semester they always ask, "What's this for?"  As we get farther on, they stop asking, they might groan, or if I do not give them one that day, they may ask for one!  In the last few minutes of class, I always ask students to write something for me:
1.  something they learned
2.  something that is not clear
3.  a question
4.  the topic they are writing on
5.  a working thesis
6.  the title of a good source they found
7.  a short rhetorical analysis
    This could be anything, and it can serve several purposes: to keep them engaged for what's coming up, as formative assessment, as communication between us (often I respond and pass it back the next class period). Students who do not like to raise a hand in class feel heard and get questions answered.  It's a quick way for me to see what they get, the direction in which they are going, and to know which students may need extra visiting during the next class.