I bring in a bag of my own on the first day of school. I share the contents with the kids and tell them about me. Then I just tell them to take their bag home and fill it with items to share with the class. This has worked for me for the past 6 years and I have never written out directions for the kids.
We give students Mystery Bags to fill with 3 items that tell us about themselves. We give the Mystery Bags out at Open House, which is before the first day of school, and the students bring them back on the first day or sometime during the first week. During the first week, students share one item with the whole group and the other two items in groups. Then I clear off space on a long rectangular table and we make a Me Museum. The students write about their items on an index card put them on display on the table for the whole first week.
My team does Me Bags. I've attached our directions below (for some reason the cute pic won't load with the text-it's usually looks nicer than this), but I like the directions found by 5thGrdTeachTN. Maybe we'll modify those for this year instead. We do emphasize not picking an object because it's cool or you like it a lot. It needs to tell something about you. It helps to model your own Me Bag before you send the assignment home.
One thing I've done as a follow-up is to have children write riddle books about themselves using a photo of the objects in the me bag on the cover. Clues inside might be: I like to swim, I am an animal lover, I collect baseball cards, Who am I? Put a photo of the child on the last page as the answer. I teach first grade so the clues are pretty simple and I usually steer them toward using some of the words we have on the word wall. It's actually a good word wall lesson.
I do this every year. On the first day of school, I bring in my Me Bag to share with the class. I model for them how to present their bag. Then, as homework for the first night, I assign the assignment by giving them the following poem.
I also use Me Bags...I send the directions and a brown lunch-size bag with the letter I mail to my kids in August. I ask them to bring the bag with them on the 1st day of school. I ask that they only include 2 things, and choose things that will help them tell us something about themselves. (I tried 5 things one year, and it took TOO LONG to get through all of the kids...I average about 24 kids, so two things is the perfect amount of time!) I also spread out the sharing over the first 2-3 days, that way the kids don't get antsy listening to too many kids one after the other.
I love the me bags--you usually find out some interesting info about your kids!
So funny, I was just finishing the letter for me bags that I send to the kids over the summer. I had to change it a bit this year because I'm looping. But I suggested things like the wrapper of your fav. candy bar, something in your fav. color, fav. book. I've been doing it for about 15 years and it's always a great way to get to know the kids!