Sunday, January 06, 2013

What's for Lunch?

When I realized I would be having students all day this year one of my first many concerns, was what was lunch going to look like? Of course originally I was given a time slot in the cafeteria. First time slot, with one other class entering the same time we did (K-self contained) and then more students would arrive while we were seated.

We did this only twice before I quickly realized, this is going to be a nightmare the rest of the school year if something doesn't change.

The kids can't make their own choice. They can't see over the counter to even look at the choices. They can't carry their own trays. We have 2 lunch packers. When do I take my lunch? When does my para take her lunch? Oh, and what about the students who are supposed to arrive while we are finishing up in the cafeteria?! Nightmare, I tell ya.

I quickly asked if we were allowed to eat our lunch in the classroom and was much relieved when I was told yes. This was a perfect solution. My para goes to the cafeteria to pick up lunch and brings it back. One of us does lunch with the kids while the other eats, then we flip flop when it's quiet time. It is working splendidly. We are there in the classroom when other students arrive and when kids finish their lunch they are occupied with a table filled with toys.

Up until now I have been sending home the lunch calendar. Parents circle their child's choices and I type it up into a pretty little chart. This chart is then on a clipboard with student lunch numbers that my para takes to the cafeteria everyday.

I want my students to start making their own lunch choices. Especially our picky little eater. Maybe he'll eat if he makes his own choice! (We're open to trying anything!) So I have created a book/lunch choice system for us using pictures.

This includes a chart where students will place their selection, pages to use for presenting students with their choices, and storage pages for all of your pictures.

I went through our own lunch menu to select the pictures included and then tried to think of a few other common school lunch choices that your school may have and mine doesn't. I wouldn't be surprised if this item becomes updated often with more choices/pictures!

I created a book that will hold the pages the students make their choices from and the storage pages for the pictures. Please ignore the quality of my book. I had a fight with the binding machine that led to me trying to trim the sides & now the book is uneven and oy vey, I just don't want to talk about it. The show must go on. 

 The first page in the book will give the students 2 choices for their main meal. My school generally offers 2 options and then salads are always a choice as well. I am just going to present my students with 2 choices. The second page will present them with 2 choices for their first side. The third page will present them with 2 choices for their second side. This is a great way to control what your students pick too! If they always pick 2 fruits, you can put your fruits on the same page so they can only pick one. We can always be a little sneaky with them right? The fourth page will allow them to make their drink choice. My school always offers milk or a juice-either apple or orange juice depending on the day.

 I purposely arranged the choices on the page in this way because right now I only have 5 students who make lunch choices, but if I should ever have more I still want to be able to use this book. With this arrangement I can easily add to it. Just something to keep in mind if you are setting up your own copy.

When they make their choice for each part of the meal they will place it on another page. This page is not attached to the book. This way my para can take it down to the cafeteria with her and it makes it easier for the students to make a lunch choice. No flipping back and forth between choices. I wrote each students name with above the column that their choices go in.

For the student who packs her lunch, I just plan on having these pictures to the side and asking her if she has her lunch box that day. On occasion she does not. Included in the pack is also a brown bag lunch choice along with the lunchbox.

And lastly, for storing the additional pictures there are pages in the back of the book. I haven't finished filling mine in yet, but I wanted to share this item with you guys! You may have to print multiple pages depending on how many lunch options you typically use. I know that for my meals page, I will have 2 storage pages to put all of the meals.

If you are interested in this item you can purchase it in my TpT store by clicking here. If you purchase this item and need additional food items, please comment and let me know. I will compile a list of items to add!

I'm linking this activity up with Crayonbox Learning and their Autism Awareness Linky!


1 comment

Jess said...

Wow! You just thought of everything! That is so awesome for your Pre-K kids! They are learning responsibility and making their own choices-I love it! I have my kids (1st grade) that eat lunch read the menu and then choose hot or cold lunch. Hope this goes well with your kids!
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