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Lunch Count

Compiled By: luv2teach77

Lunch count can be quite time consuming each morning. For teachers who are responsible for taking care of their own lunch count, here's some management ideas and suggestions.

Lunch count
Posted by: Ginny

I have to collect lunch money in the morning, as well as the count. I made a class list with 5 columns on the right, using my excel program. The first column after their name states, "Brought Lunch", and I highlight this column for those who need visual cues. Each morning, I write lunch choices for the day in the second and third column headings. We have two columns for hot lunch, and a third for PBJ (an everyday choice). Then I add a column titled "Paid", in which I have already noted those with reduced or free lunch. Students who pay will write the amount they are handing in. Those with free or reduced lunch will circle the word. The next column is for change due, and I usually help them with that column at this point of the year. I consider this a part of my math program, while I individually review money value of coins, writing money amounts, and subtraction when needed. It also helps my students to fill out a graph while correctly placing their choice in the appropriate column. We put the money and worksheet in a large manilla envelope and send it to our cafeteria workers. I feel that this activity will help my students to become more independent.
My students are in a third grade, special ed class and I monitor this activity myself at this time. Since most of the lunch orders are the same each day, students quickly get used to the routine. As soon as they come in, they are reminded to "sign in", and I am also able to check attendance for the day. It does take a bit of monitoring right now but in the past few weeks since our school has started, the students are already getting used to the procedure.
I hope this helps! It's working for me.

Lunch count idea
Posted by: Jamie

I teach 4th grade and have found something that works great. I assign each child a number at the beginning of the year which correlates with everything (but you could do this just as easily with names). I then made a chart with the numbers in a column on the left hand side of the chart and three other columns, hot lunch, cold lunch, and salad bar. I then laminated the chart and hung it. As part of their morning routine, students put away their backpacks and then go straight to the lunch count chart. They use a vis a vis marker to place a check in the appropriate column next to their number. I can look at the chart and see who is absent or who forgot to write in their lunch preference. While the students are settling in, I then just make a call for lunch money and allow those with money to come up by tables. My student helpers now run the lunch count and attendance, so I can focus on collecting $ and talking to students.
Hope this helps!

Bulletin Board
Posted by: h0kie

I just made a bulletin board to do my lunch count. Kid's put the color of their choice in their box and I can easily count how many people want salad, how many want choice 1, etc. My 4th grade teacher did this and I still remember it. :D

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lunch count
Posted by: Jenny

Here is how I have my lunch count set up....
The students each have an apple with their name on it with a magnet on the back. Each day, I write the lunch choices on the board with a line between each choice. So, I might have a column for pizza, a column for hot dogs, and a column for cold lunch. The children come in, find their apples and put it in the correct column. It's easy to count the total and see who still has their apple left in the basket.

I've also seen teachers have the pocket charts with the #1, #2, and cold lunch at the top. The students put name cards in the correct columns. I've seen this done using old cans/frosting containers and popsicle sticks and with a circle with the choices split up and the students put clothespins on their choice.

Since you have special ed, you may want to just cut out pictures of the food they're having from magazines and have the students place their name next to the picture they want.

Hope this helps!

lunch count
Posted by: Michelle

I made a mobile for students to choose what lunch they are having that hangs by the door. It is made of plastic picnic plates with plastic silverware hot glued to the plates. The top one says "What's for Lunch" where students names are attached to clothes pins. Students move their lunch to "A" "B" "yogurt" or "cold lunch". The lunch attendent for the week is in charge of recording choices, marking who is absent, and at the end of the day putting all the names back at the top plate. It doesn't take much room and makes it very easy for students to take care of the lunch count.

Lunch count
Posted by: Lizzie3

The first day of school I take each child's picture using a Polaroid i-zone camera. The pictures develop instantly and they are very tiny.I attach a name label to the bottom of each picture and put a small piece of magnetic tape on the back. I write the lunch choices on the board along with a choice that says "packers" to show who brought a lunch from home. I have the pictures displayed on the blackboard and when the children come in the classroom in the morning they just move their picures over to the appropriate column. I can see at a glance who has not made a lunch choice and it is also a quick way to check attendance.I can also use these to sort children into cooperative groups or teams. The children love having their pictures displayed all year.

Lunch Count and Attendance
Posted by: Stacie Gadlage

I have used jumbo craft sticks with magnets on them for the past few years with my first and second graders. I put a number on each one and that way I don't have to change names on the sticks for the next year. Their number is also above their coat hangers and on their mailboxes, which also saves time when starting a new year. I have pictures of the main foods from our cafeteria laminated on 4x6 notecards. This takes some time, but was great for my low first and second graders who were trying to become better readers. At the end of the day, it is an afternoon job for two children to read the menu and put up the lunch order for the next day. We usually have 2-3 choices and then I use a laminated brown paper bag (cut in half) for those who brought their lunch. I use one side of the filing cabinet to put the menu on, along with the lunch choices in order. It is part of the children's morning work to put their stick under one of the choices. When I go to count everything up, it is easy to see whose stick is left at the bottom of the filing cabinet. It doesn't take but a minute to do the attendance and lunch count every morning. I hope this helps! Let me know if you need a better explanation...
Stacie Gadlage

Attendance/Lunch count
Posted by: stephanie

We have 3 choices for lunch each day or students can bring their lunch. I have a piece of 12x18 posterboard divided into four sections (in half both ways). Students put a clothespin with their name on it on the section of their choice. Oh, the sections are labeled Choice 1, Choice 2, PBJ, and Sack Lunch. Each morning I have one of my students write the lunch count on a piece of paper and bring it to me to double check. It is that students responsibility to be sure all classmates have chosen lunch for the day. If all lunch clips are up, all are here. By looking in the lunch clip basket, I know at a glance what students are absent for the day.

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lunch count idea
Posted by: sharon

Here's what we do in my 4th grade classroom...

I have a student helper whose job it is to do lunch/milk count each morning. I have a class list on that person's desk when they arrive. It is their job to be sure everyone marks the list as soon as they arrive according to their choice (they mark "C" for cold lunch from home but with school milk, "H" for school hot lunch, and "T" which means cold lunch with their own drink.) The student helper counts up each total and writes the number at the bottom of the classlist. It's easy to see who is absent that day, too. The whole procedure takes about 5 minutes, and I'm freed up to do other morning things.

It's quick, easy, and all I have to do is write the total numbers on my attendance sheet and send it to the office via the student helper.

After the first week or so, we have a consequence for those that "forget" to mark the attendance sheet!

lunch count idea
Posted by: Rebecca

If you have a magnetic board this will work for you. Take a picture of each child and glue it on a frozen juice lid (or whatever) and make magnets out of them. You could section your board for Hot Lunch 1, Hot Lunch 2, Sandwich, Salad Bar, Brought (or whatever your titles are), and Absent. Have the lunch choices posted for the day. Students move their picture magnet to their choice for the day. You can easily see who is absent. Students know that only I take money and they place this on my desk. This really helps out a sub that doesn't know names yet but can match faces!

Lunch Count
Posted by: Mary

I also have to report a lunch count and have found a system that works very well. I am not sure if it will work for your school, because I do not have to collect money, but you might be able to adapt it.

What I have is a sheet of poster board with a "library pocket" for each student with his/her name on the pocket posted by the door. When the students come in the classroom in the morning, they are to grab a "lunch stick" (a tongue depressor spray painted with one side red for hot lunch and the other side blue for cold lunch) in their pocket with the appropriate side showing. This is a quick count for either the students or myself. It is also a fantastic way to take attendence or remind children of their responsibilities.

Hope this helps

my lunch count process
Posted by: ecteach85

The form I'm trying for lunch count this year is attached. I don't know how well it will work, but we're going to work on helping them gain more independence with this. Students will write their names under their selection for the day.

Before we did lunch count either at breakfast or when attendance was taken. I think this is a better option for our class. With so many not being readers at this point, I've included pictures and words for each day's choices. I'm still working on locating pictures to go with our menu.

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lunch count
Posted by: AL

At my school, it is critical to the cafeteria staff that we get the lunch count correct. The kids have three choices: regular tray, salad bar, and brought lunch. If someone signs up for salad bar, but changes their mind (or forgets) and gets into the regular tray line, someone from our cafeteria staff will confront me. The numbers HAVE to match up to the morning lunch count that is sent to the office. So....I created a sign in sheet for the kids and I take it with me to the cafeteria to do a "check" and make sure that everyone is in the right lunch line. I will attach it to this post. Hope it helps someone! :D

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Lunch Count Graph
Posted by: Tina in OK

On Day 1, I have 3x12 nametags with the child's first name in larger letters and last name written in smaller letters in black marker. The child then decorates the nameplate. (I do it different ways, like tie dye coloring, monochromatic,patterning, whatever correlates at the time. Then I make headings the same size. One for Lunch from Home, Cafeteria Lunch and Absent. I keep headings and nameplates in a decorated envelope. When the first child comes in in the morning, she lays out all the cards away from where the graph will be on the floor. Then she lines up the headings and places her nameplate under the one that applies to her. Each child places his/her nameplate under the heading going down creating a graph. When the tardy bell rings, the helper collects all the nameplates that are not on the graph and brings them to me for a quick glance to make sure no one has forgotten to put nameplate on the graph. Then, the helper writes the names of all the people that are absent on the attendance pad. They just copy straight from the nameplate, first and last name. They place those cards under the Absent heading and count the cafeteria lunches. I handle the cafeteria count slip because I have to collect and record the lunch $ turned in.

This is only successful because our wonderful school secretary appreciates the effort of the children and doesn't mind taking a moment to decipher. I like this because it gives students a chance to work with forms and purposeful writing. (The info goes straight to the computer so the slips are only seen by the secretary.)

Also, I have a clipboard with the forms and a pen tied on that I keep with the envelope. The helper of the day usually gets started writing the date and section #, etc. on the form as soon as he/she arrives. Some days we analyze the graph while the helper takes the attendance slip to the office. The helper cleans up the graph and gets it all put away for the next day. I replace the nameplates each month. Some kids will save them and have them all on their bedroom doors, etc. It really does run smoothly once we get the procedure down.

lunch count
Posted by: BeaJay

My new school requires a lunch count each day. The first week of school (just finished our 4th week) I did the raise hand if you want... Took longer than I wanted. Then the second week I stapled 3 paper cups to my my calendar bulletin board. First cup held a tongue depressor for each student (name written on it). Second cup was choice 1 on the menu and third cup was choice 2 on the menu. [Choices were written on the dry erase next to the bulletin board.] Students now make it part of their morning routine to place their stick into the cup of their choice. Since my activity block is at 8:30 and lunch report is due by 9:00 students who do not make their choice before leaving the room have to take choice 1. This reminds them not to forget the next morning. [I teach 16 - 3rd grade students.]

lunch count/attendance
Posted by: teach first

Last year I made a lunch chart that was divided into 3 sections (choice 1, choice 2, and pack). I placed velcro down each section. Each child has a small name tag velcro'd on their desk. Every morning my kids come in and they have to make their lunch choice first thing. I really like this method, because I get the lunch count done easily and before the tardy bell. If there is someone absent it is very easy to record.

Last year, I started the year out asking each child what they wanted for lunch and HATED IT!!! So, I came up with my chart and love it!!! Not only does it help me, but the kids each day are taking part in graphing (one of my Standards of Learning)! :)

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