When I first started teaching, giving out an interest inventory seemed like a great idea, except that while I looked at the results with interest in the moment, I didn't absorb them long-term. And while I appreciate the information students or parents gave me, over time I realized what an incomplete picture those surveys can be. I've been instead using this "assignment" for a while now, and I can't think of a better way to start the year!
This editable printable is an assignment for parents only and asks them to describe their child to you. Simple, right? It's not yet another form in a week full of back-to-school forms, and the requirements are so open that parents can jot down a few sentences on the handout, send you an email, send you a letter in a sealed envelope, or whatever else they'd like to do. They can tell you about anything from their child's family history to any medical conditions to just simply quirky, fun details about the student. The benefits are many, because not only do you get to know the student, but you also get to know the parents through their own words in ways that are limited by fill-in-the-blank forms. The parents always give me such a positive response to the assignment, because it can be very fun (and emotional) for them, and I look forward to the letters every year. I know you will, too!