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Lunch Count

Submitted by: Stephanie Labert 

Does anyone have any good ideas for the kids to do their own lunch count in the mornings? In the past I've done it two different ways, but wasn't pleased with either. We have to take a count for those who had breakfast, buy lunch, and bring lunch. One I made a chart with those three headings, and the kids signed in under the appropriate heading/s. Last year I used Popsicle sticks with magnets on the back. Then I made the appropriate headings on my metal cabinet, and the kids put their stick under the heading that applied to them. I was thinking of something to incorporate a little graphing or math that the kids could do. I even thought of doing in in Microsoft Excel, but I'm not getting it to graph out the way I wanted. Any ideas?

Submitted by: Avis Breding 

Last year I put the students names on clothespins and put the items I needed the count for on pizza circles. (hot, cold, going home, out) etc... And then had another pizza wheel for home. They were supposed to move the CP to the home wheel at the end of the day..... and usually forgot. ;-(

Some one posted the idea of magnets on the back of the metal juice cans.. and to put them on a magnetized board..... has any one tried this method?

Submitted by: Judy Foster

Each student has a 3x5 index card. It is divided in half the hamburger way and I have them color each of the four sections. Blue for sub sandwich, red for hot lunch, green for salad, and brown for sack lunch. These cards are placed into library pocket cards set in a pocket chart or stapled to the wall. When The kids come in they turn their card around so the correct color is showing, I have one student use the chart to mark the lunch count for the day. I guess if you also had a breakfast - we don't - you could have them place a laminated colored card inside the pocket also.

Submitted by: Helene Schumann 

You could do that graph you mentioned yourself. Just make a large template for a bar graph with categories for breakfast, lunch, etc... Have stickers in as many different colors that you have categories. When the kids come in, they post a sticker in the column that applies to them. Have a student oversee this and just report to you the final numbers.

Submitted by: Luann Wieland 

This is similar to your idea and not really very exciting but here goes - I write 'pack' and 'buy' at the top of a small poster board, then laminate it. The students have a clothespin with their name on it. When they arrive they clamp it to the correct side of the chart. The chart hangs magnetically on the board.

Submitted by: Idahogirl@aol.com

I have a student do lunch count. It is a three week job (we change jobs at track change -- year round school). The student reads the lunch menu aloud, asks those students NOT eating to stand, counts them, subtracts those not eating from the total present and records everything on the lunch count slips. That student then calls the runners who deliver the slip to the cafeteria.

While that is happening my homework monitor is gathering homework. The monitor has an attendance list. A check is placed next to the name of anyone not turning in his/her homework; an "A" is marked next to the name of anyone absent.

At the same time my journal monitor is returning the journals that had been handed in the previous day and my mail carrier is returning graded papers. The students assigned to care for the fish and hamsters are doing so -- and, if someone is absent, one of the two subs covers their job for the day.

Also Whoever is assigned to provide the journal topic for the day does so at this time and I write the topic on the board. And my paper passer is passing out paper for the DOL assignments, already posted on the board and/or overhead.

All of this begins as we pass into the classroom at 855 a.m. By 900 a.m. when the Pledge of Allegiance comes over the intercom and we stand for the salute and 30 seconds of silence (for the meditation of your choice), all backpacks are stored, every student is in his/her desk with pencils sharpened ready to begin the day and I have had a chance to talk for a few moments with students returning after an absence and/or speak to the students consistently not returning homework.

I only have to train the first person at each job the beginning of the year. After that each student trains his/her predecessor. This not only gets the necessary morning chores out of the way, it allows the students to develop management skills and accept responsibility. As well as honing communication skills, teaching the jobs to their predecessor also allows them a few moments of being the "expert."

I will admit that this past year was the first time I used this system, but it was a complete success and I hope it will work as well with this year's 5th grades.

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