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With many years' experience of teaching Year 3, I found this a helpful way to plan life with a new class. When my prospective class made their summer visit, I had "passports" ready for them. The passports needed filling in: picture; physical details; family; school likes and dislikes; and, importantly, friends. I used an overhead display to look at - and laugh at - my own finished "passport".

The children then completed theirs. The first few sections needed only drawings, words ringed or underlined, phrases completed. The self-portrait was fun. Later sections (pets, hobbies, holidays) increased scope for written detail. In this way, children of all abilities were catered for. I kept the passports and used them to find out about the children. They often provided information not contained in school records.

In September, the passports were invaluable for classroom organisation: everyone had a friend on the same table and no one worked in an unsuitable literacy group. Finally, the passports eased apprehension, as they formed a welcoming wall display on the first day.

Eileen Jones, Year 3 class teacher, recently retired from Woodloes First School, Woodloes Park, Warwick

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