How to Get to Know Your Students BEFORE the First Day of School

Each school year, I begin the year with an “About Me” form and end the year with a 5th Grade Evaluation form. The first is completed on the first day of school and the latter is completed anonymously on the last day of school. I also ask parents to complete a Child Learning Inventory form before school begins. I find the feedback from all three of these forms to be incredibly helpful and I KNOW my school year wouldn’t be the same without them.

I’ve posted about my 5th Grade Evaluation form HERE, and I’ll be posting my About Me form soon. The purpose of this post is to focus on the Child Learning Inventory form which has three huge benefits.


A Child Learning Inventory…

  • Helps you get to know and understand your students’ needs and motivations.
  • Opens up communication between teacher and parents.
  • Allows teacher to adapt lessons or projects to best engage students. (This is particularly helpful when planning for the first month of school)
What’s a Child Inventory form?

The Child Inventory form is sent to parents a few weeks before the start of school. It gives me a jumpstart on getting to know the kiddos in my class and helps me plan for the first trimester. For example, I may see that a particular group loves to draw, and as a result I’ll probably incorporate drawing into more projects and classwork.

All of the questions on my form are purposeful and provide me with information that will help me teach each child. It allows me to understand the student’s learning style before entering the classroom and create lessons that will best engage my new class.

What Does it Look Like?

See below to view the Child Inventory form that I’ve used for the past two years. I created it in Google Drive.


I created my form in Google Drive. Creating forms with Drive is easy and painless. Log into your Drive account and click the red “NEW” button in the left hand column. You’ll need to select “More”, and then you’ll see an option for “Google Forms”. Select it. You’ve just created your first form! Now, all you have to do is add your questions and share it. If you’re more of a visual person, see the image below or click here to view a previous post with a more detailed click sheet.

Creating a Google Form

How Do you collect the data?

When parents submit the form, all of their responses are automatically collected and compiled in a response form. To view the responses, you can open the form in Drive and click “View responses”. The numbers are also counted and shown so you quickly see if new responses have been submitted (see red circle below).

Viewing Form Responses

I believe I make more progress with my students during the first months of school as a result of the feedback from this form. I also feel that it helps me establish working relationships with parents. Perhaps you’ll see benefits to using such a form a well. Maybe give it a try? See how it goes 🙂 .

If you have any questions about the purpose of a particular question within the form I created, please feel free to ask in the comments. I’d be happy to respond.

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