Attendance and Lunch Count

What’s For Lunch?

I am lucky to have a magnetic white board in my room. I have cut pictures out of magazines and laminated them. I put a small piece of magnetic stip on the back for each. Each child also has their name with a magnet on it. When they unpack in the mornings, they go over to the board and look to see what is for lunch. Then they locate their name and place it under the appropriate picture. I also have a picture of a lunch box.  (Kim Gray, 5 year kindergarten)

What IS a Walking Taco?

Over the years, I have taken photographs of the hot lunch choices our school offers. When the children enter the classroom, they walk to the board, look at the photos and make their choice accordingly. I rarely get any questions like “What is a Walking Taco?” The children can see exactly what it looks like. This also prevents children from changing their minds when they get to the lunch room. There are no excuses like, “I didn’t know what a Walking Taco was!” This works very well for me ;>)  (Lori Andree)

Picture Perfect Lunch Count

I take a picture of each of my students on the first day of school. I display them in a pocket chart (it usually takes about 5 rows on the chart). Behind each picture is a cardboard apple cut-out that has HOT on one side and COLD on the other. Each day when the kids come in the first thing they do is place their apple in front of their picture showing whether they have hot or cold lunch. When my helpers take attendance, if a picture is still showing we know that person is absent. At the end of the day the helpers place all of the apples behind the pictures for the next day!  (Trudy, Second Grade)

Magnetic Name Cards

I observed a teacher who had a pretty good policy during her small group reading/individual working time… each kid has a magnetic name card, and there’s a spot for one boy and one girl to be out of the room at the bathroom at a time… if they need to go, and there’s an empty spot for their gender on the board, if she’s working with a small group, they simply hold up their name card, and she nods yes or no… they put their card on the board, and remove it when they come back.  (Originally posted at the A to Z Teacher Stuff Discussion Forums by clarnet73)

Lunch Count Graph

I have a picture of a tray lunch and sack lunch placed on a magnetic chalkboard with a dividing line of tag paper between them. Purchase some calendar squares and cut out the design (I used the apple) laminate and put some magnetic tape on the back. When students enter the room they place their apple under the correct part of the graph. All of my students have class numbers so the lunch count is also my attendance. If you don’t move the apple you’re absent. I have a student move these back after I do the lunch count.  (Jean M. Adams, 2nd)

Lunch Count and Attendance All-In-One

Since I use a racing theme in my class room, I have a race car with the kid’s names on them. Each car has a small piece of magnet on the back and they hang on the file cabinet. Each day, the kids come in the room and they move their race car underneath their lunch choices (choice 1, choice 2 or lunch from home). It’s a three-fold tool-I know who is at school, I know what they want for lunch, and it’s a great way for them to show responsibility. After the first month or so, if a student is present and they don’t move their race car, I order their lunch for them. I usually only have to do that once because they like to order their own lunch. This would work for any theme in a classroom… just change the race car to whatever cut-out you want.  (Kathy B., 1st)

Lunch Count and Attendance – Refrigerator

My children move their “spoons” to the designated area on a “refrigerator” to indicate their lunch preference (any left over are absent).

Here’s what you need:

  • A small rectangular piece of sheet metal (can be purchased at any craft store)
  • Decorate using permanent markers to look like a refrigerator (mine has lines for the doors, handles, ice/water dispenser, pretend magnets, etc.)
  • Spray paint wooden craft spoons with metallic silver paint; write each child’s name on one using a black marker; attach a magnet to the back
  • I wrote the words “packing, buying, special” on magnet strips and put one on each third of the refrigerator. I have the refrigerator and spoons held in place with magnets on the side of my filing cabinet.

It’s cheap, simple, and the kids love it!  (Leigh Ann Fish)

Lunch Chart

I made a class chart with my students’ names on it and columns for the five days of the week. In the spaces under the days of the week, I put a capital R, S, H that stand for regular lunch, salad, or home lunch. I staple this sheet to my bulletin board with my teacher slips that go to the office in an envelope above it. Each day as the children enter the room they must choose what type of lunch they are having and circle their choice. If they forget to choose and are eating school lunch they are stuck with what I want them to eat–a great motivator to be responsible. This is also how I take attendance since the total of the lunch count indicates who is absent for the day, thus allowing me to send students to the media center and other locations in a timely fashion.  (SJA, 3rd)

Lunch and Attendance All in One

I tape colored masking tape on a magnetic wall in the shape of a “I”. The children are all have a picture of some grapes (printed out from clip art and laminated) with their name on one side and a small magnet on the other. The lunch menu is posted nearby for them to read the two choices from the cafeteria. The grapes are in a basket by the menu. If they want choice one, they put their grapes on the left side of the “I”; if they would prefer choice two, it goes on the right side. If they brought their lunch, they put their grapes below the “I.” I am then able to quickly see who is absent by whose grapes are left in the basket. I then have a student fill out the lunch ticket for the cafeteria, and tell me who is absent.  (Janet, Second)

Learn Personal Info + Lunch Count

At the beginning of the school year, I get a lunch tray from the cafeteria and put two small plastic boxes on it labeled “hot lunch” and “bag lunch.” I then get a tongue depressor for each child with their first name on one side and their last name on the other side with another color. I begin by having all of the children find their first name and put in in the appropriate box. I then switch to the last name side. When all students are able to identify their first and last name, I get new sticks and write the child’s last name on one side and their phone number on the other. I also use the child’s address, birthday, etc… I “test” a few children each day and put a sticker on the tongue depressor if they recite it correctly. It is a great way for children to learn personal information as well as do the lunch count.  (Renae, Kindergarten)

Greeting Sticks

At my school we meet in the gym every morning before school starts, so I would give my kids a greeting stick (craft stick) with their name on it. The student would keep the stick until they got to the classroom where on a bulletin board, I had a box for “HOT” lunch and a box for “COLD” lunch. As the students got stuff out of back packs they would put thier stick in the correct box. All I had to do, was pick up the sticks, so who was HOT or COLD while the students were working on the Morning Task. Also, it easy to tell who is absent. I did not have to call out names ever this year, to find about lunch. I had to replace the stick after Christmas break, that is when they start to show their age.  (Brian, 4th, St. Joseph, MO)

Graphing Hot and Cold Lunches

I give my students each a small index/flashcard to decorate as they choose. On the front of student closets, I put a small piece of poster board with library pockets… one per child. At the end of the closets, I have a two column “graphing” pocket chart with a card in each side–one HOT and one COLD. Each morning, students take their cards and put them into either the hot or cold column to show how they are eating lunch. Any cards not put into the chart are absent students. On the way to lunch, students put their cards back into the library pockets. One child each week gets to count the hot lunches and give the absence report to me to fill in out attendance/lunch slips. Fuss free and no hassle for me.

Free Parking! Lunch & Attendance

I used decorative vinyl place mats to cut out a car shape on the Ellison die cutter. I put a piece of magnetic tape on the back of each car (one per student). I generate small labels with the students’ first and last names. I put a piece of clear packing tape on 3 large tongue depressors. Each afternoon, my Lunch Counter (student helper) uses a dry erase marker to write the two lunch choices and lunch box on the tongue depressors (tape makes it erasable). I put the choices on my filing cabinet. Each morning, students come into the room and park their car under their choice of the day. The cars that remain let me know who is absent. Since the names are on the cars, the Attendance Taker can write down the absent students on the absentee sheet. The Lunch Counter can count the choices and take the results to the cafeteria manager. With this easy method, my students do the work and we spend no time counting choices over and over and if students forget what they chose, the list is still there and I’ve written nothing at all.  (Gerl Kennedy, 3rd Grade)

File Folder Attendance and Lunch Count

I take two white file folders and decorate one with a “lunch tray” and the other with a “bag lunch.” I hang them over the edge of our sign in table. Each day the child is required to find their name/photo card and put it in the pocket. It tells me quickly who has done attendance, and what they are having for lunch.  (Angela Bauer, Kindergarten)

Easy Attendance and Lunch Count

This works if you only need a lunch count (we don’t choose between hot and cold lunch). 1) I purchased a small bulletin board, a box of small cup hooks (like the ones that you might use in your kitchen cabinets), and some of those round locker tags (the paper circles with metallic rims and a ring attached) at Walmart. 2) I screw the cup hooks into the cork in rows, write each child’s name on a locker tag, and then hang the tags on the hooks – names facing out. I also cut up 1″ squares of paper and punch the top with a hole punch. It sits nicely on my chalk tray just inside my door. 3) When “Jerome” walks in the door, he flips his name tag. If he is getting a lunch, he places a paper tag on top of his tag. At a glance, I can see whose name is showing (absent) and how many lunches we need (count the paper tags)!  (Mandy, 4-5)

Easy Attendance

My first graders are delegated into “color groups” from the beginning of the school year. Each day a color group is in charge of attendance and calendar. When it comes time for attendance to be taken I call the color group for the day and they count the lunch sticks, fill in the absences, and bring the slip to the office. This allows me to circulate throughout the room checking work instead of taking the attendance, plus the kids love the responsibility!  (Melissa Windschitl, First)

Clothespin Attendance Using Your Classroom Theme

My theme is Bradex Busy Bees, so I put a good size beehive with three strips hanging down. What the strips hang from can be whatever your class theme is. One strip says “hot”, another says “cold”, and the last says nothing. I have written each of my student’s name on a clothespin. The morning starts off with everyone’s clothespin on the strip that is not labeled. As they come in, they take their name from the unlabeled strip and place it on the “hot” or “cold” strip. In less than 5 minutes I have a visual of who is absent, the names left on the unlabeled strip, and a quick count of hot and cold lunches at the same time.  (Phillips, 4th)

Clothespin Attendance

This is a variation of an idea presented in “First Days of School” by Harry Wong. I have designed an attendance chart by hanging ribbon from an inexpensive, round pizza pan. I label small clothespins with each child’s name or number. Every morning, as students come in, they move the clothespin from the ribbon to the appropriate section of the divided pan. I have three sections: school tray, milk only, and brought lunch. Absent students’ colthespins stay on the ribbon. This is a wonderful way to take both roll and lunch count without involving students.  (Phillips, 4th)

Clothesline Attendance and Lunch Count

A variation and a quick way to take attendance and lunch count — String a short clothesline on a wall or bulletin board right by the door. It should be big enough to hold a pin for each child (name and number on each clothespin). (I string line between cup hooks they hold well on bulletin boards.) Below it, I put smaller lines labeled for Lunch choice 1, choice 2, etc. Under it, I put “bag lunch”. As the class comes in, each student takes his or her pin from the top line and puts it under the appropriate lunch. At a glance we can see who is absent and who gets which lunch. At the end of the day, the first one on line gets to put the clothespins back on the top line.  (Elizabeth Roche)

Check Emotional Attitudes while Taking Roll

Have students take a circle and make a smiley face on one side and a frowny face on the other. Glue to a popsicle stick. Make a pocket chart with a pocket for each child. When the child comes in the classroom each day have the faces in a can. The child selects a face and places it in his/her pocket with the appropriate side facing out.

Attendance, Lunch/breakfast, Discipline

I use this handy “contraption” that my 3rd graders have nicknamed The Inline (you’ll know why by the end). The Inline keeps track of attendance, lunch/breakfast count, and discipline. Each student has a clothespin with his/her name.

Each morning all clothespins are on the bottom spool. As the students come in they move their clothespin to the appropriate spool that depicts what they are doing for lunch (eating a school lunch or brought a lunch from home). The top spool has an S (school lunch) on the right side. The next spool has an H (home lunch) on the right side. The third spool has a B to the right (breakfast).

If they are eating breakfast at school they place an orange colored cothespin on that spool. So when the bell rings all I have to do (or the class secretary) is count the school lunches and breakfasts. Any remaining clothespins on the bottom spool indicate that child is absent since they did not move their clothespin.

Now on the left of the spools are numbers. The top spool, the one that has the S on the right, has the #1 on the left. The next spool (H on the right) has the #2. The third spool has the #3. and the next to the last spool has the #4. The numbers are for discipline. After the lunch/breakfast count has been taken the secretary moves all the clothespin back to the bottom spool(5th spool). During the day if a student “breaks a rule” he/she moves their clothespin to a #1. If they break another rule, they move their clothespin to the #2 and so on. I have consequences for each number. When the student breaks a rule all I have to say is “Please move your clothespin.” I don’t lose teaching time because I get with them later and make sure they understand why they moved their clothespin.

My 3rd graders last year decided to call it the Inline because it keeps them inline!   (Gina Shanks)

Attendance and Nametags in One!!

I bought a long, hanging piece of material for an attendance chart and tacked it near the front door of the classroom. I cardboard-backed and laminated student nametags, and put velcro on the back of each. I put the other side of the velcro (the hook part) on the attendance chart to hang each nametag. I put a little piece of velcro on the top of each desk. When students came in, they would pull their nametag from the attendance chart and velcro it to their desks. I could then easily look at the chart and tell if someone was absent.  (Kim Brause, grade 4)

A Variation on Attendance and Lunch Count

I take poster board and make a geometric shape based on our number of lunch choices. This year we have 5 choices, thus a pentagon. I use Internet clipart sites to find pictures of a hot lunch, peanut butter sandwich, deli sandwich, salad and lunch from home. The pictures are then glued and labeled, one per side of the shape. (This makes it easier for me to see.) In the middle of the poster, I glue the caption “What’s for lunch?” Every child has a clothespin with his or his name on it. As part of their morning routine, they make their lunch choice as soon as they come in the room. (This helps out greatly with children who have morning obligations like monitors, school store, news crew, etc.) The clothespins are hung on a rope beside the poster. At a quick glance, I can get my lunch count. Then I look at the rope to see whose clothespins are left, giving me my absentees.  (Candace, 5th Grade)

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