How I Do It - Morning Check-in and Attendance

Hi everyone!
It's been awhile again... sorry about that! We just finished our second week of school and I'm still trying to play catch up with everything! I haven't even watched many scopes this week! As I was thinking about blogging, and thinking how I should be blogging more, I wanted to kind of rethink how I use my blog. I want it to be a source of information. I want it to be helpful for other teachers! I want to share what I'm doing in hopes that it makes someone else's life easier.

I want to do a little subcategory or "miniseries" of posts that are solely dedicated to what I do everyday. I think some of the best professional development I've had has been from simply watching other teachers do what they do. Kind of like "A Day in the Life of..."

So, introducing... "How I Do It"

Today's How I Do It--My morning check-in board, attendance, and managing bathroom and students out of the classroom.

I got this idea from my mentor teacher when I was student teaching. She had student names on magnets on a small, stand-up magnet board by her door and she had kids put their name on "Hot" or "Cold" for their lunch choice. She would take attendance by seeing which students had not moved their magnets. It was simple, but it worked! She actually used one of these old-school label makers....
Anyone remember these?! They're kind of like P-Touch fossils...

When I got my own classroom, I did something similar with names on magnets, but I found that a lot of my students weren't able to recognize their name yet (in kindergarten) and needed more support with this. I realize that recognizing names is a great skill to have, of course, and it requires practice, but I didn't really have time in the morning to let kids ponder over which magnet was theirs just to come in the door. I quickly changed my routine and used these little kid cut-outs instead:
I bought the whiteboard at Target and mounted it on a cupboard next to my door. I used double stick tape and ribbon to create a divide down the middle, then printed out a house and a school and taped them on. The little kid cut-outs are actually from a DJ Inkers border that I bought at Lakeshore:
I used my P-Touch to add names on the little cut-outs and laminated them, then stuck a magnet on the back.

I used this system when I taught 1st and 2nd grade, but switched it up just little bit when I moved back to kindergarten. Instead of using clip art, I used their actual picture! I found little mini magnet photo frames at the Target dollar spot one year and bought those up. I take a class set of pictures at the beginning of the year to use for various things, and I print a few sets for me to use. I tried to find a picture of them in use, but I don't think I have one! You can see the little frames here, they're 2x3" magnet photo frames.

This year I have a lot more kids and my magnet frames were getting pretty beat up, so I decided to go with 2.25" plastic circle buttons from Michaels.
My mom used her circle cutter to cut 2" circles from the photos and a P-Touch to label them with names. I mounted each photo on a piece of scrapbook paper and stuck it in the button.
They came out pretty cute, if I do say so myself!
I also added a "check out" board, and I really like it:
This was another little whiteboard that I bordered with scrapbook paper and added a couple clipart pictures.

Now, that's how and what I made. Here's how I use it:

The first thing students do when they walk in the door is move their magnet from the "Home" side to the "School" side. I have a rule where they can only move their OWN magnet and never touch someone else's. After most kids are in the door and I'm taking attendance, I have my Teacher's Helper go and see which students are not there. They will read the names of the students still on the "Home" side and we say "____ isn't here, is that true?" and we check each one. Kids still forget to check in sometimes, even at the end of the year! After we've established who is absent, we go about our morning. At the end of the day, I move all the magnets back to the Home side. If I have a really responsible student, I have them help me with it just before dismissal, but I usually like to do it myself because the magnets can fall and break if you're not too careful. 

During the day, I have students use their magnets to "check out" and go to the bathroom or office. This tells me and other students if someone is in the bathroom. I allow only one student at a time, so it's a great way to let students manage the bathroom procedures on their own. If they see someone else is in the bathroom, they have to wait! It's also pretty handy for seeing if any kids are in the bathroom at the end of the day or when going to specialists, so we don't leave anyone behind :) 

My check-in board is an essential part of my everyday classroom happenings! I hope you liked taking a peek into how my classroom works! Let me know if you have any questions about it!

See you next time! 

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