This document is a simple version to get the school year started. Feel free to change it up to fit your needs. As soon as I receive my class list, I send out a welcome email with this document attached. I instruct the parents to allow their first grader to complete it by themselves and bring it with them on Meet the Teacher Night. I follow my welcome email with a personal phone call and remind parents to have their child complete the assignment. I tell parents, that it is okay if there are misspelled words, wild coloring, or fanciful sentences. I simply want the child to complete it.
For the children, they are excited to start the new year and share their highlights with their teacher. As soon as they turn in their paper on Meet the Teacher Night, I hang their paper up right away. It is a great way to welcome kids on that first day. It builds buy-in and community from Day One!
As a teacher, I use this as an informal assessment! Already? But the school year just started! I use this mini-questionnaire to gain insight on each student. I can tweak my lessons to engage my students. The last question lets me know who I can count on to be classroom experts and who may need help coming out of his/her confidence shell. The most important part for me is to see their authentic writing samples. It lets me know at what level they understand sentence structure, phonic sounds, their motor skills, and maturity level.