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What Is a Sign In Sheet?
Have you ever had to sign in at the doctor’s office? Maybe you signed the visitor’s log at a funeral. Sign in sheets have a variety of uses from informational to organizational to sentimental. A sign in sheet is, at its basis, just a piece of paper where you sign your name. Sometimes you include other information, such as the date and time in a doctor’s office or relationship to the deceased at a funeral. You may have written a cute piece of advice to the new parents at a baby shower or shared a romantic date idea to a couple getting married. Regardless of the content of a sign in sheet, they remain useful for keeping track of people and information, and many are creative, too!
Tips for Writing a Strong Sign In Sheet
Sign in sheets are basic, but people find ways to use them creatively. We have compiled a list of best practices for creating an effective sign in sheet using research and our experiences.
1. Be specific. Sometimes people maintain statistics using information from sign in sheets. They may want information on the gender or age of the individuals arriving. Maybe they are interested in food allergies or relationships. Make your questions as short and easy to understand as possible. This will encourage people to answer honestly. Sometimes people skip sign in sheets or simply fill in their names, leaving the rest blank. Encourage people to completely fill out the information by making it as easy as possible.
2. Make it quick. Often when people are signing into a place, they are trying to get in and out as quickly as possible. There may be a line. They may have somewhere to be. They may see someone they know to talk to. Consider making the sign in process as fast as possible so that people don’t skip it. Try using a fill-in-the-bubble style. If you have yes or no questions, consider having people check a box instead of writing out “yes” and “no.”
3. Catch them at the front door. It’s hard to track everyone down when they are already in the room! Have the sign in sheet readily available at the front door. Better yet, put it right in the middle of the pathway so that people can’t miss it. If people see the sheet right away, they will be more inclined to fill it out.
The Process to Use a Sign In Sheet
Getting people to sign the sheet can be the hardest part of using a sign in sheet! Here are some tips for using a sheet effectively.
Step 1: If order isn’t important, consider having multiple sheets available to speed the process. Sometimes there is a line. People become impatient to get where they are going, so they skip the sign-in process. Consider having multiple papers available to clear the congestion and encourage people to sign in.
Step 2: Make the information readily available. Some people keep sign in sheets for safety purposes. In the event of a fire, terrorist attack, or other tragedy, the person in charge must know how many people were in the room. Your sheet should be portable, easy to read, and difficult to lose or mess up.
Step 3: Be creative! Maybe you are conducting a survey of places people have traveled. Consider using a map of the world so that people can pinpoint their travel destinations with colorful markers. Maybe you are trying to keep track of your fifth-grade class’ attendance. Consider making a magnet with each child’s name on it and asking your students to move their magnets from “Out of Class” to “In Class” when they arrive in the morning.
Examples of Sign In Sheets:
1. Daycare Sign In
Day cares and other child care facilities often use sign in sheets to keep track of their charges. These sheets can be as simple as a name, but they can be much more complicated too. The sheet below asks parents to sign their children in and out of the day care and answer some health, safety, and organization questions.
Name: Jamie Brown
Did you send a snack? Y/N
Allergies: strawberries, peanut butter, red dye
Special Considerations: Jamie still needs help wiping after using the potty.
Emergency phone number: 555-555-5555
Time Signed In: 8:42 a.m.
Who brought the child? Mom
Who is picking up the child? Mom
Time Signed Out: 4:22 p.m.
2. Funeral Sign In
Some funeral memorial books simply ask visitors to write their names. Others ask visitors to list their relationship to the deceased. More recently, people have created unique memorial cards that allow loved ones to share favorite memories or write notes to the family. The following is a sample entry from the funeral of Jenny Smith.
Name: Heather Black
Relationship to Deceased: childhood friend
When did you meet? 1980, when we were five years old
Share a favorite story of the deceased. When we were kids, we were always getting into trouble. We had a lake behind our house, and it was constantly infested with leeches and snapping turtles. My mom never let us go back there. Jenny and I decided one summer we were going to swim in the pond, and Mom couldn’t stop us! We came out of that lake covered in leeches. My mom threw a fit, but Jenny thought it was hysterical.
Do you have any words of comfort for the family? Jenny loved to laugh. In all this, don’t lose your sense of humor. She wouldn’t have wanted you to hurt for her.
3. Bathroom Sign In/Out
Many schools require teachers to keep track of where their students are with sign in/out sheets. Some teachers keep a sheet by the door that asks students to sign out, state where they are going, and then sign back in when they return. Since many teachers have more than 20 students, this is a great way to keep track of them. In case of a fire drill or other emergency, the teacher can grab the clipboard and know automatically how many children she needs to keep track of as they evacuate. Teachers can also use this information to find out if kids are skipping classes or taking unsupervised trips around the building under the guise of a “bathroom trip.”
Name: John Peggs
Where are you going? Principal’s office
Sign Out Time: 12:22
Sign In Time: 2:20
Name: Sally Minx
Where are you going? Bathroom
Sign Out Time: 7:20
Sign In Time: 7:30