Searching through files for parent contact information or relying on a school database can be frustrating when trying to make a quick phone call. This is especially true when the internet is down in the few available minutes you have to contact a parent. This is why I came up with my own solution for gathering student information and keeping it readily available in my classroom. The best part? The parents do most of the work! Keep reading for helpful and practical tips for gathering student information at the beginning of the year.
Benefits of Gathering Student Information
There are many different benefits to collecting and compiling student information at the beginning of the year. Below are just three of my favorites.
The main benefit of gathering student information at the beginning of the year is that it saves you time in the long run. You don’t have to restart your computer after logging off for the day when you realize you need to make one last phone call. You don’t have to switch tabs to look up contact information when writing an email. There are many reasons why it saves time to have your own set of student information ready to go.
Not Reliant on Technology
If you work in an older building or in a town with less reliable internet service, you know how difficult it can be to have everything digitized. As much as I love technology and digital resources, this is one instance when it’s helpful to have a hard copy.
Grab and Go
If you have prep-time specials that take place in your classroom (traveling art teacher, school counselor), it’s nice to be able to grab student information to make phone calls away from your desk during prep time. It’s also wise to have student information in one place in case of emergency. It just takes a moment to grab a ring or binder of student information prior to leaving the classroom.
What Student Information Do I Need to Collect?
Every teacher has a preference for the student information they like to collect at the beginning of the year. Here are a few ideas of student information that’s helpful to have throughout the year:
- Parent Contact Information – As mentioned above, this is very helpful for making quick parent phone calls and emails.
- Transportation Needs – This comes in handy at the beginning of the year and whenever there is a substitute teacher!
- Birthday Information – It’s helpful to have a list of birthdays handy, especially in kindergarten. Whenever a student has a birthday, there are usually many students who ask about their own birth dates.
- Medical Needs and Concerns – I compile a summary of medical needs and concerns in my classroom, which is especially helpful when preparing for field trips.
- Permission Forms – There are many different permission forms that you might want to gather if your school doesn’t already. This might include image use permission forms, technology use, or class party participation forms.
Tips for Gathering Student Information
Once you have decided what information you’d like to gather from parents at the beginning of the school year, it’s collection time! Here are a few tips to make this process easier and a bit more organized.
I like to print off all of my student information collection sheets on cards that are half sheets of paper. This makes them smaller and easier to handle, but the half sheet makes them easy to cut and prep.
I relied heavily on color coding as a half-day kindergarten teacher, with one color for my morning class and another color for the afternoon. You can also color code your cards in many other ways! For example, you could use one color for the first half of the alphabet and one color for the second half. You could also use different colors for each different form. Anything that helps you find what you need more quickly!
Have Parents Fill It Out
The biggest time-saving tip when it comes to collecting student information is to have parents fill out as much as possible. When I was a half-day kindergarten teacher, I quickly learned how to avoid writing things 40 different times. Invite parents to complete these information sheets during your Meet the Teacher event or Back to School night. This gives them something to work on while you get a chance to speak to your students.
Send It Home if Necessary
There will be parents and guardians who are unable to attend Meet the Teacher or Back to School events. In order to make sure that this information makes it home and back again, it’s helpful to compile all of the forms into one folder or manila envelope before sending them home. I like to put a large label on the front with the student's name and instructions. This helps it stand out from other items in the backpack and makes it easier for parents to keep track of the information until it can make it back to school.
Store on Binder Ring
If you also choose to use half-sheet cards, I have found binder rings to be the best storage option. I add a little cover to the front to help with confidentiality and then place it on a hook near my desk. This makes it easier to grab and go when needed.
More Tips for Gathering Student Information
If you’d like to take a closer look at how I gather and organize student information, check out this video!
Printable Student Information Cards
All of the resources pictured above and in the video can be found in my Student Information Cards resource. They are available with and without clipart to suit your personal preference. Plus, these editable templates can even be changed to fit the needs of your classroom. This resource also includes a blank template so you can create cards for any other information you need!
Save These Tips for Gathering Student Information
Would you like to come back to these tips? Be sure to save this pin to your favorite teaching board on Pinterest. You’ll be able to quickly find this post later!