Does getting to know your students at the beginning of the year feel overwhelming? Whether you’re at a new school or just getting a new batch of kindergartners, finding the time to discover all your students’ passions and interests can take forever.
That’s why one of my favorite tools to use at the beginning of the school year is a student interest inventory.
Obviously, the purpose of using interest inventories or surveys in your classroom is to gain information about your students. The beauty is that what you do with the information can greatly impact the rest of your school year. You can change the questions you pose to meet your needs depending on your students’ ages and what specific information you want to learn. For example, you could include questions about personal traits, hobbies, interests, likes, dislikes, and learning style preferences.
Because student interest inventories can help you build rapport and create connections with your students from day one, the beginning of the year, quarter or trimester are the best times to have students fill them out. Then, you can use the information you learn in a variety of ways.
I’ve used student interest inventories in my classroom to plan lessons and seating charts, to see whether or not a class prefers to listen to music during work time and as a way to start conversations with students. The possibilities are truly endless when you adapt the questions to meet your needs.
You can click below to download a PDF of a sample student inventory I created for my middle school students.
So, how do you get to know your students on a personal level?
Have you used student inventories? If so, what platform did you use? Pencil and paper? Google Forms? Other technology?
Share your ideas in the comments below!
Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.