Skip to main content

Silent Lunch

Now hang on, if you are thinking this is going to be a post to support the silencing of all students while eating lunch in the cafeteria, you are wrong.  Well, maybe.  In my 7 years as an educator, I've never been a proponent of taking away recess time and/or asking students to not talk during lunch.  I've always felt those times are their times.  Times during the day when they don't have to deal with us teachers.  When they can freely interact with their peers, build social relationships, chew the cud if you will.

I don't think we need to turn our cafeterias into this...


Perhaps I've had a slight change of heart the past few days.  You see, my fifth graders decided not to make the best choices in their short jaunt to the cafeteria.  They sounded like a high school marching band marching down the hallway.  I decided to bring down the hammer.  Silent lunch for the first 15 minutes. It was wonderful.  The students finished their lunches before the time was up.  My stress level, along with the other 5th grade teacher, was down and I didn't feel like this...


Overall, lunch was quite peaceful.  It made me think, should we institute a no talking policy for the first 15 minutes every day?  I decided to poll the students to see what they thought of the 15 minute serenity.  
The vote came back 32 in favor of peacefulness and 39 against.

So, what do we do?

I remember when I was in elementary school we had a big stop light in the cafeteria.


No, it didn't look like that.  Basically, whenever the noise got too loud a teacher would switch it from green to yellow and when the decibel level reached that of a 50,000 seat arena, they would switch it to red which meant no more monkeys jumping on the bed.

As educators, shouldn't we teach self regulation?  Shouldn't our students be able to tell if they are being too loud and quiet down?  Is this how they are at Applebee's?  How do we teach that?

I've tried an iPhone app that measures decibel levels.  If the decibel level reached a certain point, the kids knew to quiet down.  Unfortunately, we don't have a big screen in our cafeteria for all of them to see at once.  I had to walk around showing them my phone, one table at a time.  Needless to say, that didn't last long.  Perhaps if we had the screen, they could use it as a tool to self-regulate.

My question is this Blogucators...how do you manage the noise levels in the cafeteria at your school?

How do you get your eatery from looking like this...


To this?



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Attention Seeker

As an educational leader, there are times throughout the day that I feel like if there were two or three of me, we could actually be getting some things done.  Whether it is responding to emails, attending meetings on and off campus, meeting with teachers or students and doing whatever else comes up throughout the day (I had to remove a dead cockroach from the staff bathroom last Tuesday), it becomes increasingly hard to attend to the task at hand.

Maybe it's just me as I've struggled with attention issues my whole life but I have to think there must be other educators out there who feel the same way.

You are in an ARD meeting, it's 2:00 pm and you know there's a parent phone call you HAVE to make before the bell rings and there's a teacher who needs your support with a student and the last time you checked your email, right before going to the ARD, you noticed Inbox 64, and you just got a call on your radio that there's ANOTHER cockroach in the staff restroo…

Identity First, Then Culture

First, allow me to get this outta the way, real quick like.  

I am, unabashedly, an Indiana University basketball fan to the core of my being.  I grew up in Indiana and in Indiana, if you were raised right, you were raised to be an IU fan.  Unfortunately, the vast majority of my lifetime, they haven't been that great.  I don't remember the national championship in 1987, I was only 4.  

Recently they hired Archie Miller from Dayton University who is known for defense and toughness.  A "grind it out" culture if you will.  He gave an interview  (here) and in the interview, he mentioned something about culture that struck a chord with me this morning.  


“The big thing is to create the first identity opportunity,” Miller said. “Not culture.” I stopped Miller there. Coaches love talking about culture – it might be the most popular buzzword in the profession today. What’s with the avoidance? “I think culture is earned,” he said. “You don’t start talking about culture four weeks …

Restorative Morning

Some kids come to us in the morning, not ready to learn.  Not ready to "do school".  They are upset, angry, tired, hungry, frustrated, etc.

Does that surprise you?

Probably not.

What are you doing about it?  Morning work?  Have students sit at their desks, silently, and watch morning announcements?

Do we expect the students who come to us in a state of mind not conducive to success at school to just, get it together?  I would argue the opposite of the "get it together" mindset.  We are educators and we educate more than just the academic side of our students lives.  We are also responsible for equipping our students to be socially and emotionally resilient.  Intentionally.  Like, actually TEACHING students how to be mindful of their feelings and what to do when they aren't 100%.

At the elementary school I am fortunate enough to be the Assistant Principal at, we have had some teachers put Morning Circles into place.  The first part of these circles is a sim…