One of the simplest ways to get to know your new students is to have them write about themselves. This is one of the reasons why I typically assign a personal narrative essay or personal statement within the first couple weeks of school. I don’t grade these essays critically, and I don’t look for specific grammatical errors, either. Instead, I am interested in getting to know my students. I want to know who they are. I want to know where they come from. I want to know what they’ve experienced. I want to know their hopes, their dreams, their failures, and their fears. Getting to know my students through their personal narratives allows me to have a glimpse into their life –one that if often times very beneficial for me as their English teacher. Assigning a personal narrative at the beginning of the school year doesn’t have to mean assigning a full, five-paragraph essay. These personal narratives can be anywhere between a sentence long to several paragraphs.  Here are some of...