I am writing in the hopes that you all will share ideas to help our school's severe cafeteria behavior problems. Let me share what we're doing:
There are two grade levels eating lunch at the same time. They sit at long tables that fold up (with little round seats). We have kids out of their seat, yelling, throwing food, and totally ignoring our 2 monitors. Teachers do not eat with their students in my district. We've tried a giant stop light that monitors the noise level and if it gets on yellow, they receive a warning. When on red, they have silent lunch. That was ineffective. This past year we did flip charts with numbers 1 - 5 for each table. Whichever class had all "5s" ate lunch on the stage and recieved praise on the morning announcements. This didn't work.
I would love to hear ideas on how other schools monitor the cafeteria in hopes of helping solve an ongoing problem at my school.
Our VP actually monitors the lunchroom. We have a small school, so all of El eats together, and then all secondary starts eating before the el is finished. Our VP is pretty well thought of, so it does not get too out of hand. If it does though, the short recess immediately after lunch is taken away.
It is loud in our lunchroom, but not out of control. I hope someone else has other suggestions . it sounds like the kids do not respect the lunch monitors you have- perhaps they need to have a more authoritative figure in there in the beginning of the year as they learn the rules (again). It also sounds like there are no real consequences for bad behavior? Silent lunch did not work, and getting praise for good behavior did not work. What is the consequence for kids who throw food, etc? Sometimes our P monitors lunchroom as well.
Our Administrative staff does the cafeteria at lunch time when we have tutoring during one of our planning periods. That includes the Principal, 2 Vice-Principals, and our CRT. It's usually loud, but it is never as out of hand- throwing of food or such. We have had fights in the am, but those students are suspended. You have to have the consequences for bad actions.
I taught 3rd last year, but we had 164 kids and 3 teachers that monitor. Lunch was also before recess, which I think was helpful for controlling behavior. Each class sat at their own assigned table. According to some new law we can't assign seats or require the kids to sit in a certain seat, so our kids sat where they wanted to at their table.
The students that brought their lunch sat down first and the students that were buying lunch stood in line and then went to the table with their food. They got everything they needed before they came out of the line. No getting up to get ketchup, salad dressing, etc. After all students went through the line, we called for kids that needed extras or desserts (if they brought lunch from home).
The students got a total of 30 minutes for lunch. Halfway during our lunch, 2nd grade comes in for their lunch. About 10 minutes before lunch is over, we dismiss the parents that came to eat lunch with their child (they sit at a special table) and we begin to dismiss students. This is an absolute quiet time and we begin looking for the students that have eaten most of their food, gathered their trash and are ready to go. One teacher monitor goes to the door and takes about 30-35 students outside for recess first. This is the reward for doing what they are supposed to do....get outside first for a longer recess. The 2 teachers that are remaining are looking for other students ready, and we are walking around calling on them one by one. The next teacher goes to the door and we dismiss the next set of students that are ready. The last teacher left takes the kids that finished eating last or were talking and not ready, or even sent back from one of the previous groups.
I know it sounds very long and drawn out, but it took us less than 10 minutes to get all students out. We tried so many other things last year. We started this one around the beginning of February and it worked WONDERFULLY! Less headaches for us. Our principal even complimented us and told other grade levels that were struggling with lunch to model after us. You can also give lunch buddy passes as an incentive for good behavior - these students got to choose a buddy to eat at a separate table that was designated only for lunch buddies.
If you want a copy of what we used as a lunch buddy pass, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have a med. sized school and K-3 all eat at the same time. The teachers eat in the cafeteria with the classes but not at the same tables. We started playing music for the first 15 minutes and the rule is while there is music (no words, just calm instrumental) there is no be no talking. We wanted the kids to eat their food and also let them calm down. We then will generally give the last 15 minutes quiet talking time. They know if we turn the music back on because they got too noisy they are to be silent again. It has worked, even the principal walked in and she was amazed!
we do pretty much the same as the others at my school. The admin has lunch duty! The students work on the cup system. Red cup, green cup and yellow cup. The students come in on the green cup. If the class misbehaves, they get a warning - yellow cup and if they continue, they are put on the red cup - meaning silent lunch. It may sound a little harsh, but it seems to work. Once those kids get a yellow cup, their behavior becomes stellar!
During our lunch time there are many grades eating. I know this year 4th was leaving when we got there, 2nd was a few minutes before us, and 1st was entering as we were finishing up. We do have to eat with our students so I'm sure that played a factor in certain classes behavior. Our school rule was the students had to remain standing until the last classmate reached the table. Then the teacher tells them to sit. It helps slightly because the first person isn't finishing up right about the time the last person sits down. We also have a school rule that the first 10 minutes are silent. Then students may whisper. Our principal was pretty visible. She did not eat in the cafeteria but you never knew when she might pop in. She definitely spoke to classes who weren't following the rules. It worked pretty well.
I teach at a private K-12 school.
We have 4 lunch periods. (k-2; 3-5; middle grades; highschool)
At each lunch period, the teachers are in there. We eat at a seperate table. In grades k through 5th, there is no talking the first 15 minutes, to ensure the students eat! :-) Then, after the 15 minutes, they are allowed to talk quietly. Each class in the elem. grades has their own table. Each grade is responsible for cleaning their table. If a student is unruly, he/she is immediatly moved to the 'silent' table. That rarely happens. It usually just takes seeing a child move there a couple of times before the others get the hint.