Kid Whisperer Nation Teacher Tip #91
EFFECTIVE LUNCHROOM STRATEGIES PART II
ADULTS CAN EITHER BE EDUCATORS OR JANITORS IN THE LUNCHROOM… NOT BOTH
In my travels around the country, I have seen students purposely pour milk onto the ground while smiling just to watch someone get angry and then clean it up. In an effective Calm/Assertive Lunchroom, adults do not clean up after kids. This includes custodians. When kids make a mess, they clean it themselves using the napkin that they already have. If it’s such a huge mess that they need to move seats, they are empathetically moved to another table where no one else is sitting. If they are unable or unwilling to clean the mess completely, they will wait until everyone is gone to recess or back to class. At that point they will be handed the necessary cleaning supplies by the custodian when it is convenient for the custodian, who only starts to clean once students are on their way out the door.
Kid Whisperer Nation Teacher Tip #92
EFFECTIVE LUNCHROOM STRATEGIES PART III
NEVER, EVER TELL STUDENTS TO BE QUIET
This is the kiss of death, folks. NEVER tell kids to be quiet in any situation, especially the lunchroom. Once you tell kids to be quiet, all kids have to do is talk to show you and everyone else in the lunchroom that you cannot control the things that they say and do.
Kid Whisperer Nation Teacher Tip #93
EFFECTIVE LUNCHROOM STRATEGIES PART IV
CLAP THEM QUIET
One fun prompt for facilitating quiet is to clap to a certain beat and have kids mimic the beat. You don’t have to introduce this. Just do it. All you need is one student to mimic, which there will be. Give attention to that student by saying “You got it.” More students will follow suit as you do another beat. Make sure all other adults know to do this as well. You can add snapping, stomping, and chanting as the year goes on.
Kid Whisperer Nation Teacher Tip #94
EFFECTIVE LUNCHROOM STRATEGIES PART V
CHANGE THE ENVIRONMENT
The single most important and effective action you can take to improve your lunchroom is to make sure every student gets a handshake or other safe physical contact every time they walk into the cafeteria. Some pleasant conversation is helpful as well. If a student gets no such love and the first thing they hear is an angry lunch lady telling them to hurry up and take a lunch, the rest of the staff is being put into a very difficult situation.
Kid Whisperer Nation Teacher Tip #95
EFFECTIVE LUNCHROOM STRATEGIES PART VI
Most lunch staff members have a tendency to constantly walk around in an attempt to “oversee” students. This is a mistake. Feel free to do this on occasion, but spend a majority of your time sitting down at lunch tables with students. This allows you to build relationships with kids instead of setting you up as a guard or overseer. When you sit at a table, you usually completely neutralize negative behaviors at that table as well as at the tables adjacent to yours. Only spend a few minutes at each table. Hop from table to tables as if at a wedding. You can get enough of a bird’s eye view from the standing position while you are in transit from table to table.