Breakfast in the classroom every day

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by yellowdaisies, Jun 24, 2013.

  1. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    Jun 24, 2013

    I've found out that starting in the fall, my school will be serving breakfast in the classroom every day. All of my students will be eating it because they all get free breakfast and lunch.

    This year, students have been able to eat their breakfast before school at the cafeteria, and then we have second chance breakfast at recess for those who miss "first chance." Eating inside the classroom will be a major change for us. Breakfast is supposed to take place during the first 15 minutes of the school day.

    Does anyone have experience with this? How do you manage it? Does it work to have them begin doing morning work as they finish? What about the mess? I'm glad that the kids will ALL be getting breakfast before learning begins (this is certainly NOT the case now!), but I hope this doesn't make our days start off horribly... :dizzy:
     
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  3. Zelda~*

    Zelda~* Devotee

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    Breakfast is actually pretty much no trouble at our school. :)

    The kids take their breakfast from the milk crate to their seats and eat. Kids who don't want breakfast can read or color. It lasts about 15 minutes--they do their morning check-in during this time as well.

    Mess--it varies. Sometimes there's a milk spill, and the kids clean it up. Muffins are a little messy. I don't let the kids pour milk on cereal as the school doesn't give us spoons---so they eat it dry and sip their milk. That cuts down on some mess.

    It's not bad, don't worry. :D
     
  4. kamahl75

    kamahl75 New Member

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    I have not experienced this since I have not gotten a teaching position yet, but I wish every school did this. It would break my heart wondering which students were able to eat before school and which were not. I plan on providing food every day regardless, but it would be awesome if schools did not leave those students out who are not able to make it to the breakfast provided before class begins. I imagine you will do just fine when the students fall into a routine concerning eating their breakfast and moving straight into what you have planned for the day.
     
  5. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    Thank you, that does help because I was pretty worried! We definitely will have cereal with milk and spoons pretty much every day.

    What is your morning check-in? Turning in homework and such? Forgive me if that's a silly question. :blush:
     
  6. Zelda~*

    Zelda~* Devotee

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    No worries! :)

    In my room it's just them turning in their parent/teacher communication folders and doing an "emotional" check-in (I teach K-2 ED) where they write the date and circle how they are feeling.
     
  7. Lobo

    Lobo Rookie

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    We do breakfast in the classroom and it's a great social time for us. I think it gets kids to calm down and get ready for the day.
     
  8. bison

    bison Habitué

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    I've also seen this done very successfully and agree that it seems to calm everyone down. There's always a clean-up routine, and sometimes even laminated place mats that they use to reduce mess. I don't have more advice except that you can do it!
     
  9. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    We did breakfast in the classroom last year. Some teachers had the students do morning work during breakfast. Due to our schedule, we had 10 minutes to get them inside and eat before we had to be at specials, so I just let them talk while they ate. We picked up our little breakfast crates before school, and when they came in I just let them go pick up their own. If they didn't want it, they didn't have to eat it. I also made them clean everything up before specials. They poured leftover milk down the sink and put everything into a large trashbag before lining up. One of my teammates let them leave it on their desk and continue eating after specials, but I felt like I just couldn't use up the instructional time as that was during our reading block. We put the trash bag outside for the janitor to pick up (so it wouldn't smell up the room during the day) and sent the breakfast tote back to the cafeteria with a kid.

    The thing that really irked me is the cafeteria wouldn't take extra food/milk back, even if it was unopened and returned right away. I can't imagine how much money we wasted because they were unwilling to open up the tote and put the extra milk away. I thought of volunteering to do it myself, but I thought that would seem snarky. I saved things like breakfast bars to give out as rewards and I tried to pawn extra milk off on kids who would drink more than one.
     
  10. Miss84

    Miss84 Comrade

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    We did it-which also meant kids were in the classroom at 7:30!! I like the concept/idea of it, but it was a headache cutting off breakfast, cleaning up, and transitioning to the start of the day. I always had kids pick over the food and we never had enough for each child, it was on a first-come, first-serve basis.
     
  11. MJH

    MJH Companion

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    High Sugar Content

    The only part I don't like is that our cafeteria serves breakfast food with high sugar content in it. They do prepackaged food 90% of the time. Some days between choc. milk and the prepackage food the sugar can be up to 51 grams of sugar. That's a lot of sugar for a 5 year old to have for breakfast.
     
  12. sunshine*inc

    sunshine*inc Cohort

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    Jun 25, 2013

    A friend's friend is supposed to start doing that next year, too. I think she works in the LAUSD school district. We weren't sure why they're moving breakfast from the cafeteria before school to the classroom during instructional time.
     
  13. AZmamaC

    AZmamaC New Member

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    The school I student taught at had breakfast in the classroom. I thought it was strange at first, but now I think it's awesome! I would lay out the food on the counter, students would choose one of each item, and then sit down. The process went very smoothly! The students who had already eaten or that weren't hungry would grab a morning paper to work on.
     
  14. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    I'm glad to hear so many positive things about it - thank you! :) I definitely am glad that ALL of my students will be getting breakfast before we start our Language Arts block (which is first thing in the morning.) I've had a lot of instances this year with kids' stomachs hurting, feeling tired because of missing breakfast - and I don't know how many I haven't known about! My goldfish crackers only go so far.

    I hope that it is a positive, relaxing, and nice community building way to start our day!

    Waterfall - our school is the same way about returning food. When we go on a field trip we have to trash ALL the extras, even unopened, packaged items. I always thought maybe it was some kind of law.
     
  15. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    My school does breakfast in the classroom. I have 5th graders so it's a bit a difference in age than what you have. Our routine is that when you walk in you grab your breakfast from the bin and eat it while unpacking/doing morning chore stuff. My main rule is that you have to sit when you eat, no wandering around the room with your milk and breakfast bar. Of my 20 students I had 14 on free lunch and it worked pretty well. I will add though that we have a full 20 minutes between the time we pick the kids up from the playground to when morning announcements come on followed by our instructional day. Morning meeting is part of that time, but if necessary I let them eat during morning meeting. So anyway I mention this just to point out I wasn't in a huge time crunch situation.
     
  16. KinderCowgirl

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    My only problem with it is the kids that come in late. So even though we start eating at 8:00 and most of the kids are done by 8:15, some come in at times after that and we have to offer it to them. It just feels like it's never over and you can't really clean up. The morning work inevitably doesn't get done by half the kiddos because some of them eat so slowly and at some point we have to get started with our day.

    If you are worried about the milk/cereal thing-you may want to collect the leftover milk in a pitcher and then dump that out separately-instead of it pooling in the trash bags (we didn't have a sink in the rooms). Also, kids would stash things like apples in their desk and we wouldn't find it until weeks later-so I day one I have to make sure that rule is clear--no food in your desks! ;)
     
  17. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I have never been at a school that does it, though it sounds like a good idea. I too would be worried about the logistics of it like you are. I would imagine, though, that most kids would be busy with their food, so you would only be worrying about those not eating, and the ones finishing early. At least you know they will be sitting there with full tummies afterwards, which is nice. Will you have to open your door earlier then?
     
  18. Pencil Monkey

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    I used to work in a school that did a grab and go breakfast every morning. The kids got breakfast off a cart in the hall and brought it in with them. I was also in a portable that year. The kids would leave crumbs or partially eaten breakfast in their desks and it would get gross. The thing drove me nuts about it was that they would not give teachers clean up supplies so I had to deal with the smell of rotting milk in the trash some days.
     
  19. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    I'm going to try not to be a Negative Nelly here (there's been a lot of that going around lately!) but we do breakfast in the classroom and I don't like it because -

    1. If the students don't finish their food some of them will hide leftover breakfast in their desk. I find milk, graham crackers, cereal, bits of sausage, etc. (Solution: I explain to the kids all year that we get mice and bugs because they are attracted to the food in the desks. I also take time off recess, send notes home to parents when children do this. I also explain to them that it can make them sick because if they leave a bagel bite in their desk and go to recess, a bug may crawl all over it, then when child returns and eats, they're putting germs in their tummy)

    2. At least once a week someone spills ALL their milk and cereal on the floor and desk (Solution: I try to establish a routine of "your food MUST stay in the middle of your desk, not on the edges." Unless it's a repeat offender who has done it from carelessness, I try not to make a big deal of it. Instead I scoop up all the soggy cereal, then give the child a sponge and soap and have them clean up the carpet.)

    3. Crumbs on the desks and floor Solution: I've taught the kids to eat on top of the bag that the breakfast comes in, then to pick the bag up as a whole and toss it. I still end up with a lot of crumbs, but it would be even more without that process)

    4. Spilled milk and juice on the desk (Solution: I require the kids to drink with their straw. When spills happen, I don't make a big deal because if I yell and punish for it, then they'll do it and not tell me and I'll end up with gross, sticky, bug-attracting desks. So all year I repeat, "If you spill something, you'll only get in trouble if you don't tell Ms. Catz." Then when they DO spill, I just have the kid come over and say "I need a paper towel and/or wipe".

    5. If a student is late to school, everyone else may be on the carpet for whole group or starting centers and you have a child that comes in 1hr late and they're got to sit down and eat (I don't really have a solution for this. I normally just say, "Sit at your desk and eat while listening to the whole group lesson" or if we're doing reading groups I tell the chil to bring their food over and they have 5 minutes to eat. If they're supposed to be doing centers, I find they eat pretty fast without prompting because they want to have their fun time)
     
  20. Pisces_Fish

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    My school has a major overcrowding problem so we have a main cafeteria and a modular cafeteria. There's no way to accommodate all the kids so we also have our kids eat breakfast in the rooms. I'd say about 85% of our kids get free or reduced meals, so that's a lot of breakfasts!

    When I first heard about breakfast in the classrooms I was worried but it ended up not being so bad. They get a disposable tray (the one thing I really cringe about - so much tossed Styrofoam!!) and eat at their desks.

    To prevent lots of 2nd trips to the cafe, I had a rule: if you forget your spoon, syrup, straw, etc..."too bad, so sad" I did not allow them to go back. They learned quickly not to forget! I did have to keep lots of paper towels and baby wipes handy, but the spills and messes weren't too bad. My kids knew they had to complete morning work and eat breakfast at the same time. I was frequently heard saying, "One bite of breakfast, a little bit of morning work, another bite of breakfast ;)"

    Our custodians make a quick sweep of the campus and grab any trash we had outside our doors. Some days I would need to put it outside, but a lot of times I could just leave the bins full until the end of the day. It really depended on what they served - for example, I hated the smell of egg biscuits so I would empty the trash on those days.
     
  21. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    One classroom I was in frequently when I was subbing handled breakfast really well. The school provided paper placemats like restaurants use and that made cleanup really easy. Breakfast often included cereal, so she had a colander in the sink to strain the cereal. Later, a student emptied it and it was cleaned with one of those sponge wands that have dish detergent in the handle. Breakfast had to be over by the time announcements were over. I like the idea of having baby wipes and I'd buy real paper towels.
     
  22. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    We started breakfast 4 years ago in the classroom. I admit that I wasn't too excited about this at first, now I actually like it. We now have strict policies about no chocolate milk or other unhealthy items so that has helped. I have found that a few things have helped to make it work in the classroom.

    I have them get started with breakfast as they do their morning work. This worked well in 3rd grade and still does in 5th grade. I think it could work well in 1st grade once they get into a routine. Expect the first few days to be a bit difficult before they get use to the routine.

    I bring one roll of real paper towels from home ($1). There are not a lot of spills, but if I had to solely rely on those brown "wannabe" paper towels for large spills, it might ruin my morning a bit. I only use my roll of white paper towels for larger spills, and I use the school's brown "paper towels" for small ones. I usually can go well over 1 month with my white roll.

    I choose to use the breakfast time with morning work. I don't let them socialize, but that is my personal choice. I can understand allowing it to be social or academic during this time.
     
  23. jteachette

    jteachette Comrade

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    We have breakfast in the classroom too,and it has worked well.
    I'd like to address the problem with kids coming in late though.
    We stop serving 20 minutes after breakfast starts. If you come in an hour late you are not going to get breakfast. We serve a lot of hot foods and it isn't safe to serve them later than that. It isn't even
    safe to serve milk that has been sitting out that long
    Our students learn after missing breakfast once(yes ,once)to show up on time.
     
  24. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    :thumb: Unfortunately our school serves breakfast until 10 a.m. (nearly three hours after school starts). I think it's because the majority of our kids receive free and reduced meals.

    Is your school like that?
     
  25. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

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    I doubt the health department allows them to take back food and drink, especially perishable items like milk. Who's to say returned food and drink are still fresh and sanitary?
     
  26. jteachette

    jteachette Comrade

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    Yes, over 90% free or reduced price lunch. Everyone has a free
    Breakfast.
     
  27. FourSquare

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    Our whole district does it the first 15 min of class. I have mixed feelings. It's just a normal routine now so it's not a big deal mess-wise. There are trash captains, recycle captains, etc.
     
  28. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    It's not opened...how could it possibly be "unsanitary." I know that's not the reason because at the beginning of the year they would take it back and put it away if you brought your breakfast tote back within 30 minutes. At lunch if the kids don't open their milk they'll tell them to put it back. Later, they sent out an e-mail that it was just taking them too long to go through and empty all of the totes out, so extra milk needed to be poured down the sink and extra food thrown away. If it was something actually cooked, of course it makes sense that you can't really keep it...but I'm talking about things like nutrigrain bars still in their packaging.
     
  29. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

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    Well, our cafeteria won't take back anything once it's been taken and they say it's for health reasons. Wrapped or not.
     
  30. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I bet they can't take the food back because it has already been sold. There are probably lots of policies in place to prevent resale and any sort of misappropriation of funds.
     
  31. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Ours won't take them back, either (although we blessedly don't have breakfast in our classrooms). They say it's because so many of our kids (almost 100%) are on free/reduced lunch/breakfast. Many of them are also on the summer food program. I can't help but wonder how much is actually wasted...
     
  32. DHE

    DHE Connoisseur

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    We don't have breakfast in our classrooms and I don't think that I would like it. But I am not going to knock it because I haven't tried it. I wanted to comment on the leftover milk. At our school, students who don't drink their milk during breakfast, leave it on the milk cooler. One day, our cafeteria manager told me that it is against regulations to give it to the students again. So they use it to cook with to cut down on the waste.
     
  33. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    No. We will be serving breakfast during the first 15 minutes of what has been instructional time this year. I don't think they would be able to extend the teachers' contracted hours to add time for breakfast at this point.

    Thank you all SO much for the helpful tips! I didn't even think of the kids who come in late! I've got some chronically tardy kids this year...I hope not next year...:dizzy: But it's already annoying as it is with them walking in late, so I guess next year it will just be annoying with food. lol.

    I am going to keep all of these suggestions in mind as I find out what works for us! But I'm very glad to hear that it may not be as bad as I've been fearing. :)
     
  34. Teachling

    Teachling Groupie

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    Yes that's exactly it! This is another task that falls on the teacher. We have to track who eats, who refuses and who is absent so we can report the # BIC for that day. We've been doing BIC for a couple of years and I'm sorry to be the nay sayer but it is such a whipping on so many levels.

    For one thing, based on what I've read so far it seems our breakfast is not as good as some of what you guys have. Ours it's prepackaged -- nothing is fresh except when they include things like apples. It reminds me of what you buy in a roach coach --- seriously. There's been instances of spoiled milk or open cartons that are issued. The way it's issued in our school is that you have students pick up two coolers, red for 'hot' or main breakfast and blue for cold(drinks).

    Time --- it takes up time from our morning. I marvel at the posters that are able to do breakfast and morning work at the same time. The way are schedule is we run out of time before we have to switched. The only instance that would work would be if you are self contained so you have flexibility with time. Our schedules are very jammed packed and this is an imposition on instructional time.

    Mess -- pretty much the same as someone posted I.e. major spills, finding pieces of food a few weeks and sometimes months later (seriously). There's just so micro managing you can do and keep up with the daily schedule. Oh and I forgot to mention that I do bring my own cleaning supplies and equipment. They nickel and dime us to death so much that they don't even provide paper towels. Kids have to use a hand dryer to dry their hands. I won't go into the distraction this causes when we are testing. There's also the issue of the flimsy garbage bags we are provided with --- enough said.

    Food - I have to question the nutrition value. The quality of package food can't be good plus kids tend to not always eat it unless its got sugar or lots of fat like sausage biscuits and corn dogs.

    So basically for us, there's more negatives than positives concerning the benefits of this program.

    I love my students and I love to teach but I shouldn't have to be held responsible for them having breakfast. I can tell you that most of the teachers in my school feel they same way I do for all the reasons I've mentioned.
     
  35. queenie

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    We started having breakfast in the classroom this year and I don't like it for these reasons:

    1) Mess
    2) Cuts into instructional time
    3) Kids who already had breakfast at home eat again because their friends are eating or because it's something they like
    4) It's NOT free for most students at my school

    I will say it's not as bad as I had anticipated, but I still don't like it. Doesn't make sense to me. Why not just let kids who come in late get the grab & go? Now everyone comes in and just sits in the cafeteria for 15 minutes in the morning with nothing to do before being dismissed to class only to come back to the cafeteria in 30 minutes for breakfast to be eaten in the classroom...?
     
  36. Teachling

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    Queenie that's a good point regarding kids that eat at home and then eat again at school for the sake of following what other students are doing. Also the cafeteria is used as a location to hold students who come in before the bell rings. So yes, the same scenario they sit in the cafeteria for about 30 minutes doing nothing and then they come in to class to eat breakfast for 20 min. when the official bell rings.
     
  37. EiffelTower

    EiffelTower Comrade

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    I used to work at school where the kids had breakfast in the classroom, too. They were provided with food that was relatively easy to eat and clean up so we didn't have to deal with messes too often. I had a student run the whole system by checking off the names of those students that were eating breakfast and everyone else ate at their seats while doing morning work before the morning announcements. Once the announcements were over, all trash should be thrown away and the trash bag was placed outside so it could be picked up. When I first heard about this, I thought it would be a nightmare to deal with, but it actually wasn't too bad.
     
  38. queenie

    queenie Groupie

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    It sounds much easier in schools where the kids just pick up their breakfast and take it to class. For us, the tardy bell rings at 8:00. At 8:15 I have to walk the whole class back to the cafeteria, log into the computer program, scan the kids in who are eating, and then log off. The kids juggle their mandatory 3 items down the hallway and back to class where they eat (the ones who aren't eating read since they are the minority and it's difficult to expect anything more out of the ones who are eating), then a child collects all the trash and puts in a trash can in the hallway. The messiest items (beside the drinks) seem to be crumbly things like biscuits or muffins...

    Oh, I forgot to include in my list of reasons why I don't like breakfast in the room the fact that the kids eat on their nasty desks. Yuck!
     
  39. Teachling

    Teachling Groupie

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    Queenie your process seems worse than ours. I don't have to take them to the cafeteria instead a couple of students are designated to pick up the coolers from the cafeteria and bring them to the classroom when the bell rings or if possible five minutes before.
     
  40. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    YIKES I hope that's not how we have to do it at my school! What a headache! :dizzy:
     
  41. hatima

    hatima Devotee

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    Jun 26, 2013

    I agree. Most of the breakfasts I have seen in the classroom is soo high in sugar that the kids crash well before lunch. :(
     

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