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Cafeteria chaos
Old 03-03-2018, 06:08 AM
 
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Do any of you eat lunch with the kids? We are required to sit at the cafeteria tables with our students.

Our cafeteria is beyond noisy. Each teacher is in charge of keeping their table quiet and orderly but not all of us have the same definition of quiet.

Does your school have one of those electronic noise level tracker/alarms? What is the procedure in your lunch room? Chaos or control?


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what's the point of quiet
Old 03-03-2018, 06:31 AM
 
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If it's in the middle-school or high school, lunch room or cafeteria activities are dynamic. Students could be on their phones or listening to a live performance especially on those spirit days. However, safety is still a concern.

If the concern in grade school is chatter in a cafeteria, this battle is a lost cause. Isn't the point of lunch to socialize and get students up and about? Why does noise have to be in some acceptable level? Are there students with anxiety that cannot handle? If so then maybe these students could have their own quiet lunch room like in some classroom if it's available.

An option might be to have teachers eat in their own classrooms while supervising their own student lunch. This is what some grade schools do seeing as there's no "cafeteria" per se. And there's a lunch supervisor to give relief to the regular folks. Another option could be to stagger lunch times of groups of classrooms if it means reducing "chaos".
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Classrooms
Old 03-03-2018, 06:57 AM
 
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Thanks for the reply, Mikhail. Your suggestion to use classrooms might work for us.
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Old 03-03-2018, 07:13 AM
 
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I'd be really careful about using classrooms. If the food doesn't get cleaned up properly and the rooms aren't cleaned well, that's an invitation for bugs, roaches and other critters to start invading.
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Old 03-03-2018, 07:32 AM
 
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Yikes...bugs!


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Lunchroom
Old 03-03-2018, 07:42 AM
 
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Ok. I should clarify that I don't expect the lunchroom to be quiet...

Am I being unrealistic to think that kids can and should visit with the kids near them at their own table at an indoor level speaking voice as opposed to an outside playground level voice?

Are there schools out there that have a social atmosphere during lunch without chaos? And how do you achieve that?
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we have silent and then chat time
Old 03-03-2018, 08:13 AM
 
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At our school, we have the first 10 minutes of lunchroom as quiet time. That is silent absolutely no talking just eating. We found when they were allowed to do both, eating was secondary to talking. Kids were not finishing their lunch. If they are silent for the quiet time, which means the entire class, then they earn chat time with the person next to them across from them. Chat time is about 5 -10 minutes.This is using restaurant voices. No out of their seat. Bear in mind, we have recess right before lunch and they are on the playground running around at this time.
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cafeteria
Old 03-03-2018, 08:18 AM
 
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This is what the solution was for my previous school. (I work at an intermediate school now so I don't have to worry about the problem anymore.)

We had a team of 4 teachers. 2 of us did recess duty before we went to lunch while the other 2 teachers had duty-free lunch. The other 2 teachers took care of lunch duty. They had already eaten and walked up and down the aisle attending to behavior. It was much more effective this way because the two teachers didn't have to worry about throwing food down their throat and attending to behavior while sitting down and eating. The two teachers monitoring the cafeteria could resolve problems immediately. Our team switched out recess and cafeteria duty so no one had to continuously do a certain duty. If recess was cancelled due to weather, one classroom came into another classroom to do a "video" lesson. ! Every grade level did it like this. Some had recess before lunch. Some had recess after lunch.
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Thank you
Old 03-03-2018, 09:01 AM
 
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Thank you for your responses, kristeacher and czechgirl.
Good to hear different solutions/procedures.
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I am retired now
Old 03-03-2018, 08:02 PM
 
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but no. In my 26 years of teaching in public schools in Texas I was never required to eat with my students in the school cafeteria. A teacher needs a lunch break for things other than eating as well as eating.

I did have to eat with them on field trips several times but that was a special situation and not a problem as far as I was concerned.


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Why not chat breaks like brain breaks?
Old 03-05-2018, 02:10 PM
 
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Our lunch is separate from any "lunch duty." We work similar to the system CzechGirl describes. With rare exception, everyone gets a true break.

We've tried different things, including displaying a noise meter on a large screen. The kids ignore it--or consider it a challenge to make it into the red. For a while, someone decided the kids should quietly watch the news during lunch. Who gets paid to come up with these ideas?

We have a form of controlled chaos, depending on the grade level and who has cafeteria duty. Some teachers insist on quiet for the first part in the hopes the kids will focus on eating. It really doesn't work and a lot of energy goes into quieting the kids when the noise level climbs. I sorta feel like lunch (eating) becomes a punishment.

When I have cafeteria duty I do a lot of walking. Part of what happens is a couple of kids get wound up and their volume goes up... which means the kids near them have to get louder so they can hear each other... so it's mostly (I think) a matter of getting the kids to be aware of themselves and those around them. I talk with the kids in a normal voice, no matter how loud it is around us, often about what they've eaten--or haven't. I tell bad jokes. Lunch should be fun.

What do you call a cow with no legs? Ground beef! It's what's for lunch today...

Personally, I think we have very unrealistic expectations of things like "no talking." I haven't found any universal truth that school cafeterias have to sound like the library. The kids aren't getting enough time to socialize and be kids so when they do get a chance, they not only take it, they go over the top.
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