I have always done some kind of survey-type thing at the beginning of the year. My lofty goal is always to collect the data and learn valuable information about my students. Sadly, most years the surveys get filed away. I get busy with the planning of lessons and the grading of quizzes and such, and I never look at them.
This year I decided to put the survey questions on card stock and post them around the room. I gave each student a strip of stickers.
I think these two are interesting, placed right next to each other. (The grade I usually get in math is . . . , and My goal for a grade in math is . . . ) I assured them their responses would be anonymous.
This was kind of a last minute idea, so I had to work with what stickers I could find. I think next year I will try to find something real distinctive for each hour, so I can easily compare the data for a single class.
Anyhoo, it was a fun first day activity and it was definitely more useful than my old survey.