Questions to ask your students on the first day of school

12 Questions to Ask Your Students on the First Day of School

by Terry Hayek

The premise here is simple enough, and I’ve written about this sort of thing in more detail before (see 20 Questions Parents Should Ask Teachers)

You’ll probably learn their names, roughly estimate their height, know what school they last attended, what language they speak, and what school—at least early in the year—seems to ‘mean’ them. But what else should you know?

The big idea here is to use the first day (or week or month) to learn the right things about your students.

we shared 11 Easy, back to school, Getting to know the students question As Don Casey-Roe observes–well, teachers can consider asking students above and beyond the norm.

Below I’m going to offer 12 more that you can consider. This is a scaled-back version 26 questions every student should be able to answer.

How relevant they are depends on the student, their grade level, how articulate they are, how comfortable they are with thinking thoughts, etc. Use at your own discretion of course.

12 Questions to Ask Your Students on the First Day of School

1. What do you love? What are you most proud of?

2. When are you at your best as a person? As a student? friend? Brother and sister?

3. How do you respond—emotionally, practically, etc.—when you are challenged?

4. What do you need from me to be successful this year?

5. What does it mean to ‘understand’ something?

6. What should school ‘do’ for you?

7. What should you do with the things you know?

8. Are you a favorite reader? What are your strengths as a reader (or ‘scientist’ or musician or mathematician, etc.)?

9. Who are your heroes and why?

10. What do you want to learn about this year? What are you passionate about? What can a person do with curiosity?

11. When are you most creative? Why do you think that might be?

12. What do you want to know about me? Should I be asking you but I’m not?

see more 6 Instructional strategies that challenge and support students

Bonus questions to ask students on the first day of school (or just to get to know students)

Do you think you are a good student? A good student? Is there a difference?

What do you like to read? When is your favorite time (or where is your favorite place) to read? Who is your favorite author?

Forget about jobs – ‘Who’ do you hope to be one day?

12 Questions to Ask Your Students on the First Day of School