My First Day of School Questionnaire

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Is it just me, or is there something about this school year that makes this back-to-school season particularly exhausting? I'm so tired and slept so hard last night that I woke up and thought my nightstand was a Viking and threw a pillow at it.

Anyway, school starts this week for me, so yesterday I found myself needing to make a first day of school questionnaire. You know, something to keep the kids busy on those first few minutes while you're out in the hall wrangling lost 6th graders and unworking lockers.

In past years, I've made them more "real" get-to-know-you questions, like "Tell me about your family," and "What are your interests?", but this year:

a) I am moving up with same kids from last year
b) Even if I didn't know them already, I think there's something inorganic and maybe even intrusive about asking kids, especially from the population I teach, to talk about their home life or answer personal questions with someone they've just met
c) I like finding out about them in conversation better anyway
d) I think you can find out a lot about people by asking them disarmingly weird questions

So, thus was born this first-day-of-school questionnaire:

1. What is your name?
2. What do you wish people had to call you? 
3. Which do you feel have a better chance of taking over the world: zombies or pirates? Justify your answer.
4. Would you rather find yourself in the world of Harry Potter (during the last two books) or The Hunger Games? Justify your answer.
5. If you could only have one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be? (You get an entree, side, drink, and dessert.)
6. Would you rather be attacked by one horse-sized duck, or one hundred duck-sized horses? Justify your answer.
7. Draw a visual representation of your answer to number 6 in the space below to the best of your ability.
8. Would you rather have the ability to fly or read minds?
9. What is your spirit animal?
10. On the back of this paper, write a list of everything that makes you happy. If you do not want to write a list of everything that makes you happy, write a list of everything you can think of that is the color orange.

Here's to the weirdest year ever.

What would you add to this questionnaire? Can you even get on my weird level?



P.S. Please feel free to steal/share/tweak/add and use for your first day!


  1. I actually love this idea. Stealing (with different questions, of course). I think what I will learn about them as people will be SO MUCH MORE REVEALING.

  2. Oh, my word. Can I steal this?

  3. I love this! I hope you don't mind if I use these questions with my kids. :)

  4. Love it! Could you please email me the typed copy? I am way too tired to retype it.

  5. Well, this beats the heck out of mine. I like it A LOT. I ask them to describe themselves in 4 words and that usually proves interesting. I'm not sure that I can even add to this list but... I'd like to know what movie really makes them laugh. What makes you laugh tells me a lot about you. :)

    1. I like that one! I'm adding that to mine!

  6. thank you for sharing this! i was going back and forth between a traditional questionnaire and one more similar to this...i'm in a similar situation, having the same kids i had last year and i just want to know more than their favorite color this year. i think i will throw both out the window and write my own!

  7. I'm in awe! I aspire to your level of weird. I did a smaller version, somewhat inspired by James Lipton on Inside the Actors Studio, asking a sound they love/hate, favorite and least favorite words, an occupation they would never want to try, etc. Thanks for sharing your wisdom!

  8. Here's one: Which would you rather do without: your cell phone or an arm? Justify your answer.

    I apologize if this posts twice. I clicked "preview" and my comment seemed to disappear.


    When I taught 7th grade I would make a big deal about how hard the transition might be for the kids. Then I would tell them I had developed a list of tips to help them, put them in groups and have them read a list similar to that above. Within minutes the whole room would explode in laughter. GREAT way to start the year.

  10. Weird wins anytime! I ask my high school students questions like "What is your favourite (Canadian spelling :) cheese?" "Who would win in a battle to the death - Batman or Superman?" :Which teacher is a Chuck Norris wannabe?" I also like to ask them who they would prefer I contact if there is a problem - that way no surprises for anyone. Happy first week at school!

  11. I can't wait to read the greatest hits of responses.

  12. I do something similar just to get my students used to writing in complete sentences and then discussing their answers together. It's interesting when we find commonalities where kids assumed there were none. Many of my students struggle with English. Many of these questions are from The Kids' Book of Questions by Gregory Stock.
    1. I like to fall asleep to the sound of…
    2. The best pet I ever had was a …
    3. My favorite kind of pizza is…
    4. I was really surprised once when …
    5. My favorite amusement park ride is …
    6. I hated the movie …
    7. The best birthday present I could get is…
    8. The best flavor of ice cream is …
    9. The worst bug that ever bit me was … and it felt like …
    10. Someone who really understands me is …

  13. Love this!! Totally sharing with my team!

  14. Just read your post and decided to scrap my boring questionnaire for one more like yours - less than 12 hours before school starts. Is this a sign it's going to be a crazy year?
    Thanks for the inspiration, and good luck tomorrow!

  15. I'd like to add that a horse sized goose or ten geese sized horses would be more scary and weird, because we have all had a goose go all Bruce Lee on us. Ducks are just sort of there. But I like where you are going there.

  16. I added 5, 8, and the " I was surprised once when" questions to mine and have been laughing hysterically for the last 20 minutes.
    Surprised: "when a bird pooped on my head", "i beat all the boys in my rock climbing class", "i crashed into a parked car on my bike and i got really hurt and broke my helmet."
    My girls have some high brow appetites: flank steak, creme brûlée, soft shell crab, goat cheese salads, lots of chocolate chip cookies
    Thank you for this!

  17. I teach high school and my kids would love this! These are the weird kind of things I like to know about my kids, it's what makes them special. I think this would even be fun after a tough piece of literature, or as a get thinking piece for creative writing, even a plan left for a sub (the kids would be so excited with this....(for some reason I always feel I have to leave massive amounts of work when I'm out).

  18. I gave this to my freshmen! Had a few students say, "Uh...Miss, why are the questions so weird?" HAHA! It was awesome. There was a SERIOUS debate in my 7 period (Pre-AP), about whether or not they'd rather be attacked by 1 horse-sized duck or 100 duck-sized horses. Quite humorous. Even debated it at home. My cousin decided that she would rather be attacked by 100 duck sized horses because they'd be so cute, it wouldn't even matter. THANKS for the great questions. Love your blog. One of my co-workers and I talk about your blog all the time. :)

  19. I love this! I ended up giving some of these to my kids. I've never had so much fun reading a getting to know you questionnaire! Thank you!

  20. Pure awesome! I added- Draw a picture of the perfect sandwich. Provide labels if necessary. Looking forward to reading the answers!

  21. I am a Sunday School teacher of 5th grade boys and just found your blog through Mrs. 4444. I think I'll be updating my little get-to-know you questionnaire after seeing this. I'm a new follower now.

  22. Absolutely just snagged several of these questions (and the one about cheese!) for my high school kids... Might as well start the year explaining this isn't a typical science classroom... Thank you for sharing your weirdness! It's fab.

  23. All my questionnaires end with "Is there anything you want to know about me?"

  24. Thank you for these questions!! I teach at an inner city middle school in Detroit, and I used some of these questions today (our first day). It made some of my toughest looking cookies laugh, and the zombie vs. pirate debate occurred many times throughout the day. Thanks again!

    PS I'm a huge fan of your blog and its so much more relatable to me than any of the cutesy 'teaching in la-la-land where everything is wonderful and majestic' teaching blogs that seem to make up the majority. Big Fan!

  25. I used this for my 8th graders on day 3, once we'd done all the required handbook and back to school stuff from administration...they LOVED it! Every teacher that came in the room during class was asked the horse/duck question and was not allowed to leave until they justified their answer. Thanks for a great laugh and a new favorite blog!

  26. I teach high school chemistry. As part of my All About You survey, I ask them to name a cartoon character that they would describe themselves as/like, then post a collage on the front of my desk.

  27. This is amazing. Can I retroactively give this to my kids, even though they've been in school for a month already?

  28. As a sub, I would love it if you left this for me to give the kids! I saw some of the answers for the first day of school questionnaires and they broke my heart. One kid didn't know his birthday or phone number and he had never been on vacation.

  29. Its almost putting more of the focus towards understanding of the different objects that are considered to be of most importance for the college students and it will also help them to prove their skills.

  30. THIS IS THE BEST THING EVER!!!!! I can't wait to use it!

  31. I start my 27th 5th grade class this Monday. I'm going to "borrow" this idea and I'm upset that I didn't think of this 27 years ago! Thanks!

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