Expect Unexpected Engagement When you try Hexagonal Thinking in ELA


225: Highly Recommended: Present or Publish your Work this Year
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Building Community with Attendance Questions

During the first week of school, there’s soooo much community building and so many getting to know you activities. Which is great! But today I want to offer a strategy that can help create connection well beyond that first week.

Attendance questions are one of my favorite quick community builders, and I think they will be for you too. They add a chance to check in with kids and get to know them better anytime you can snag five minutes from your lesson. I like to do them almost every day for the first few weeks (free curriculum set for the first three weeks coming below!), and then pop them in now and then for the rest of the year when I feel like the class could really use it.

Here’s how they work….

At attendance time, instead of calling roll and having students say “here,” have them share their answer to a question. The question should usually lead to a SHORT answer – one or two words – but if your class is dealing with something or reeling from something, you could always take more time.

The questions can be serious or funny, asked aloud or projected on an image slide.

Today, I want to share three quick categories to help you get started brainstorming questions, as well as some visual examples. Down at the bottom of the post you can sign up for all the visuals I’m sharing and more, so don’t worry about saving them to your computer.

Try Would you Rather Questions

Would you rather questions are so easy, whether you use images or words. Would you rather own a restaurant or a clothing company? Would you rather take only art classes or only music classes? Would you rather be on water skis or snow skis? Would you rather eat only chocolate or eat only cheese?

Try Number Scales

These tend to bring a little humor into the day alongside the chance to check in with how students are feeling. Offer as as many choices as you want and let students choose the image that fits their mood, their day, their week, etc. It gives them a funny outlet to share that they’re exhausted, frustrated, happy, energized, confused, etc.

Try This or That

These questions are so simple, and actually quite fun to come up with. Watch in amazement as students go seriously to bat for their favorite fast food chain, their preference for chocolate milk, their love of Game of Thrones versus Modern Family, or whatever else you choose to put in your this or that question.

Ready to try it? Great! To make it easy for you to get started with attendance questions, I’ve created fifteen fun image slides you can use in the first three weeks of school (including all those pictured in this post). When you sign up for my free Friday teaching idea emails right here, the image slides will be the first thing you get from me!

Have a great week!

hey there!

I'm Betsy

I’ll help you find the creative ELA strategies that will light up your classroom. Get ready for joyful teaching!





Need something great for tomorrow? Head on over to the free resources section.


  • I just read your great post on the image slides for this or that and attendance questions, but I can’t find the sign up for the Friday Emails. I went to the one on the resource page and was sent the hex thinking.

    • Hi Sue! Sorry you’re having trouble. Just hit reply on one of my emails and ask for the attendance questions and I’ll send them along.

  • Thank you, Betsy, for these great slides? Will we be able to edit on our copy?

    • So glad you like them, Carol! I created these in an image program, so they aren’t editable. But you can always drop a colorful rectangle over text on a slide and add your own text on top if you need to make a tweak.

  • I can’t find the sign-up link to receive the Friday emails (and the 3 weeks of attendance questions). Any help would be appreciated! I love all of your stuff, and these look so fun.


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