For the past 3 years or so, I have been sending a Google Slide deck to my students about a week before the semester starts to share their student autobiography. The purpose of this is to start building community between the teacher and student, as well as students with each other. I’ve even had students sit next to each other on the first day because they remembered that they liked the same tv show.
Here are the directions slide as well as my example:
Note: If you do this, I strongly suggest the two comments on two other slides to help start conversations with other classmates.
Student autobiographies are a staple in my class and it has extra benefits other than everyone in the class getting to know each other. One benefit is that I get to see their thoughts of math evolve from the beginning to the end of the semester, since one of the possible prompts is to tell us what they think about math. Another benefit is that I can always go back to previous semesters to remember what students were in which class, kind of like a yearbook.
Let me know if this inspired you to do student autobiographies in your class. I highly recommend it.