Cute Idea #8: The Questionnaire
This idea was developed many years ago by master teacher Anne Matava.
If you learn that Jeff has an interest in cars, during card talk or just talking with him in the hallway, developing that true statement into all kinds of imaginative comprehensible input can greatly strengthen the quality of your interaction with your students over the course of the entire year. Think of the questionnaire as a sort of foundation on which you can build truly personalized and meaningful classes.
Here is the questionnaire I use. A free printable version can be found at www.benslavic.com for use in your classes:
Directions: please fill this out thoughtfully, combining made up and real answers. Blend a little of your real personality into a lot of a make believe personality:
Name you wish you could have:
A job you would like to have:
Any interesting or unusual facts about you:
A celebrity you find attractive and why:
Favorite musical groups/athletes and why:
A pet and their name:
A pet you would like to have and their name:
Something you don’t like and why:
Something you don’t have but really want:
Some unusual thing you have:
Talents/abilities, however strange:
Someone or something you fear and why:
Weird chores you have to do:
A food you don’t like:
For those familiar with Card Talk, the above questions can actually be put on the back side of the card so that you have loads of information about each one of your students in one place, the colored stack of cards that never leaves the room.
An effective option with the questionnaire is to use, instead of a sheet of paper, a two foot high card stock cutout of a shape of a person, kind of like a gingerbread man. On different parts of the body, I ask the same questions as above, with lines on which to write responses. When the kids have done a good job of filling in all the answers with thought-out answers, I laminate each one. Somehow, the body cards are more effective.
The questionnaire is a reference for the entire year to be used sporadically as a kind of filler activity. I try to remember only multiple facts about a limited number of students at a time, as it can become confusing, but I always make sure I know at least one fact about every kid by the end of the first month. I study these questionnaires during my planning periods during the first week of school. It pays off later.
I do not laminate any cards that are incomplete or have not been taken seriously. In a way, these cards are my textbook for the year, and they work absolutely beautifully to establish personalization, trust, and fun in my classroom.
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