Notecard Check-ins (the short and simple version)

Who: Every kid you teach

What:  Brief, simple check-ins on paper in order to get kids’ direct and honest feedback on anything.

When:  Whenever the hell you feel like it.  But ideally, at least once per quarter.

Where: On a notecard.  Thus the “notecard” part of “notecard check-ins,” Captain Obvious.  Though paper also works.  Technically, I think they’re the same.


  1. Because kids will tell you more in writing than they will face to face.
  2. Because it gives you an instant check-in with every single kid in the class.
  3.   Because if you don’t ask the kids their opinions, then you’re making assumptions about what they think.  And you know what they say when you assume.  Makes an ass out of you…and…well, just you.  Because your kids are doing the best they can with their still developing brains, limited life experience, and whatnot.
  4. Because it makes you look like you care.  Which you should.  And if you don’t – well, the kids notice it.  And they’re likely being little shits to you because if you don’t like them, they don’t like you.


  1. Hand kids blank notecard.
  2. Ask three targeted questions.
  3. Request they give you honest and open feedback.

(Yes, I require they put their name on it.  I still get honest feedback.)

Recomended Notecard questions:

Beginning of the Year:

  • Looking at this upcoming school year, what are you excited about?
  • What are you nervous about?
  • How can I best teach you?


  • What’s going well?
  • What’s hard for you right now?
  • What do you need more of in class?
  • What do you need less of in class?
  • What’s going on in your life outside of class?
  • What suggestions do you have for improving my teaching of this class?


What do I, as your teacher, need to know about you?  This is your chance to tell me anything about how you learn, what’s going on for you personally, or anything at all that might affect your performance in this class.

The Results:

  1. You learn so much:

IMAG1970 IMAG1968

2.  Kids get a chance to try on honesty in a less scary way:



3.  You get unexpected props: (even if they all have the same theme)



4.   Teenage smartassery still reigns.




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6 Responses to Notecard Check-ins (the short and simple version)

  1. stacidunn13 says:

    I really love this post. I am currently an instructional aide at an elementary school, but I am seriously considering trying for a literature position at one of the local high schools. This is definitely a nice tip for if I ever need to know whether my students are learning in my class or enjoying what we do. Thanks!

  2. Kat Morse says:

    I love this idea!

  3. shecando says:

    This is a great idea, will come in handy!

  4. I used to use this check-in system in the upper level university classes I taught. Amazing feedback at any age-level. This type quick think feedback allowed me to see as I went what was working and what wasn’t. I was challenged, encouraged and ultimately became a better teacher. Great idea and post.

  5. Pingback: Right-Wing Nutjobs, Liberal Wieners and Kids Know Best | Singing Pigs

  6. Pingback: Notecard Check Ins | Basil on the Wall

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