Breakfast in the Classroom

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by KinderCowgirl, Dec 5, 2009.

  1. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Dec 5, 2009

    So we just found out our district is adopting a new policy in January. All the students are already offered free breakfast in the morning but instead of eating in the cafeteria-they are all suddenly going to be eating in our classrooms. This is supposedly to save money (I don't understand how) and make sure every student is eating breakfast so they'll learn better.

    I am upset by this for 2 reasons: 1. we already have issues with roaches and mice (Texas-sized critters) and 2. That's at least a 1/2 hour if not 45 minutes of instructional time lost every day as they cannot ask teachers to come in earlier-so breakfast will start later. We were told to "be creative" with that time-which I guess means still do lessons while they are eating? Not to mention-with 5-year olds, I'm going to be doing a lot of cleaning up after them every day. Argh!

    Please tell me someone does this and it's effective? There's nothing we are going to be able to do to change our higher-ups minds on this.
     
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  3. sevenplus

    sevenplus Connoisseur

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    We don't eat breakfast in the classroom every day, but for 6 weeks during the winter we do. We do allow the students to enter the classroom 10 - 15 minutes early. Also, we do not have enough seating in our cafeteria, so throughout the year we have a handful of students each day who bring breakfast to the room.

    I teach them to clean up after themselves. Yes, there is the random spill now and then, but it's not too bad overall.

    I set a timer. In the breakfast room, they get 15 minutes or less to eat. When the timer rings, they have to stop. The ones who really need breakfast (many eat at home and then again at school) learn to just sit and eat instead of talking.
     
  4. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Dec 5, 2009

    Set up a table so that the children can dispose of everything themselves. Are you using paper? Have a big garbage can for paper, and a tub to pour in liquids. Have a couple sponges for the children to use to clean their area.

    If you are using regular plates, etc, set up bins so the children can place items in the bins, and the garbage in the garbage cans.

    This is typical practice in Day Cares. You learn to flow with it. If the children can take care of most of the clean up, you should be fine. Cleaning the floor should be the biggest issue you have.

    You might change your schedule to present some teacher directed something at this time. Some ideas I have seen:
    1. Read a story
    2. Have show and tell
    3. Teach lessons using the food. How many spoons of eggs do you have? What are the food groups?
     
  5. halpey1

    halpey1 Groupie

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    My school has our kindergartners each breakfast in the rooms to start the year and then after about six weeks they begin going to the cafeteria. I always had them clean up after themselves and gave them a time limit for when they had to be done - otherwise they'd linger...
     
  6. SandyCastles

    SandyCastles Companion

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    I subbed in a district that did this. The breakfast cart would be set up in the hallways so that when the kids came in the school doors in the morning, they could grab it on their way to the classroom. We left a morning work paper that had to be completed during the breakfast time on each students desk. It was also their responsibility to unpack and be ready for the day during breakfast time as well. Some classes were more organized than others- for kindergarten, it would probably be better for them to unpack their things before digging into breakfast and milk containers. After an allotted time, I think it was 20-25 minutes, the custodian would come around and empty the breakfast trash. That was when breakfast was officially over and it was time to move on with the day. Some kids obviously finish earlier than others, so the other kids might pick up a book to read (away from the food of course) or do another short activity (literacy centers?) while the students are eating and finishing their daily morning work.
    It does seem very hectic at first, but believe it or not, it works better than expected once you get a routine. The district I subbed in has been doing this since I was a student there 20 years ago. I would just be sure to have paper towels (the good ones) on hand for spilled milk and talk to the kids about cleaning up after themselves.
     
  7. Zelda~*

    Zelda~* Devotee

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    Dec 5, 2009

    We have breakfast first thing in our rooms every morning. It really only lasts about 20 to 25 minutes. The Kindergarten teachers assign on kid per table to clean them off with wipes at the end of the meal. I believe after they kids are done eating they have them go to the book area.

    I love it. My kids come bussed from all over the county so it gives them a chance to cool down and get ready for the school day. I have coloring pages for my students, but I have a small class. To keep them in a reasonable time frame, I set a timer. :)
     
  8. texteacher

    texteacher Companion

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    Kindercowgirl, I'm guessing we're in the same district because the exact same news was just broken to the people at my school and none of us are thrilled about it. I don't get it because at my school most of our kids already eat breakfast in the cafeteria. Why waste classroom time by starting breakfast later?!
     
  9. marrbarr

    marrbarr Rookie

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    Dec 5, 2009

    You can always do a nutrition unit, graph how many kids like what foods, do shapes of foods, vocabulary for taste words, food colors and textures, make posters selling their favorite breakfasts or warning signs to stay away from... Then look for another district to transfer to.
     
  10. Hoot Owl

    Hoot Owl Aficionado

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    How' this supposed to save money?
     
  11. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    Maybe they were paying people to come in early and supervise?
     
  12. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    If they are USDA, they will get more money.
     
  13. texteacher

    texteacher Companion

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    I know at my school we aren't worried so much about the mess or the food but the fact that it is definitely going to delay instruction half an hour. It doesn't seem to make sense if most kids are already fed before coming to class.
     
  14. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    That was my question too. All our kids are already offered free breakfast in the morning. They have aides to walk around, but that's their duty time anyway. If anything I think it would cost more because now some kids eat at home and they are going to have a meal for every child in the classroom.

    I wasn't as concerned with clean-up (although we really do already have mice-old school) as with the lost time as well. It is already so hard to fit everything in as it is. And I know I could do food-related lessons and be creative like they are asking us to, but right now I'm just at the complaining stage. This was a big chunk of reading instruction that will have to be made up sometime else in the day, which means something else will be cut.

    The article they sent us from the Washington Post outlined schools where teachers came in earlier-I know they can't ask us to do that. It also talked about a stigma where some kids qualify for free breakfast and had to come earlier-we don't have that issue either-any child can get a free breakfast. The only difference is they will eat in classrooms and not in the cafeteria-and I'm still to be convinced on the benefits of that.

    Thanks for all your responses! I appreciate your thoughts.
     
  15. grade2rocks

    grade2rocks Rookie

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    We started it this last month- I hate it, as do the other primary teachers.

    My room is carpeted- there are spills of milk or juice a couple times a week- stains even though the custodian does come to clean.

    The biggest problem is that it takes extra time - extra 10-15 minutes daily even with pushing them to eat quickly. That's 50 extra minutes of instructional time completely lost.

    We are seeing an increase in the mice around the building.

    Again, someone has pushed their personal educational philosophy into policy, without any common sense.
    We have a perfectly good cafeteria- why not make all kids take breakfast and eat there?
     
  16. grade2rocks

    grade2rocks Rookie

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    We started it this last month- I hate it, as do the other primary teachers.

    My room is carpeted- there are spills of milk or juice a couple times a week- stains even though the custodian does come to clean.

    The biggest problem is that it takes extra time - extra 10-15 minutes daily even with pushing them to eat quickly. That's 50 extra minutes of instructional time completely lost weekly.

    We are seeing an increase in the mice around the building.

    Again, someone has pushed their personal educational philosophy into policy, without any common sense.
    We have a perfectly good cafeteria- why not make all kids take breakfast and eat there?
     
  17. word girl

    word girl Rookie

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    A few years ago, I had a particularly unruly class. They were constantly getting in trouble at breakfast and lunch. Every day started with an aide or assistant walking a student down to tell me what he/she had "done" at breakfast. Needless to say, it was hard to start off every day on that negative note. So I decided to implement a 'breakfast club'. I accompanied my students to breakfast in the cafeteria. I sat with them and modeled and instructed them in manners, etc. We also had conversations, set free from the structure of the classroom. It was nice. I didn't come in any earlier than my contract required, and I urged everyone to eat relatively quickly. The result was that everyone was done in 20 minutes and we all started class together, as opposed to having students trickling in over the course of a 1/2 hour.

    I sent a note home to parents explaining the situation; a few kids who didn't eat breakfast brought a 'snack'; everyone enjoyed it together.

    Strangely, other teachers were unhappy about this and complained (I was a newbie at the time). I never got what they were complaining about - I didn't extend contract time, I didn't have food in the classroom, I was instructing the students in manners and social skills, and the behavior complaints went waaaay down. I also started 'teaching' the same time they did, after breakfast was over.

    Anyway, I suspended 'the breakfast club' with regret. But I will always have fond memories of it myself.

    As for advice, I don't have any other than to ask if you can still use the cafeteria? At least then you can contain messes/spills?
     
  18. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    I used to sub in a district that did breakfast in the rooms. The school supplied a paper placemat for each child which was really nice. One teacher bought those laminated placemats (from Walmart) with the states and capitals. Most of the teachers had a colander in the sink to strain cereal from milk and that made clean up easier. they did Everyday Math and some teachers had students do math boxes during breakfast and checked answers right after. It made a nice transition.
     
  19. wrice

    wrice Habitué

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    hahaha put on another hat! teacher, mother, preacher, nurse, police officer, counselor, janitor, cheerleader; now cook, waitress, and bus boy!
     
  20. GoehringTeaches

    GoehringTeaches Comrade

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    We started our school year with our kinders eating breakfast in our rooms. It was miserable! My sink was clogged so many times from cereal and atleast once or twice a week the kids would spill. I always had morning work set out because they started eating as they trickled in on the buses. Now it's the same thing except they eat in the lunch room. They know to do their morning work as soon as they return from breakfast.
     
  21. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    We don't even have sinks in our rooms! :(

    Yesterday one of the 2nd Grade teachers was telling her kids about the change coming in January. Her student raised her hand and said "Isn't that going to take a lot of time?". Now if a 7-year old can figure that out...?
     
  22. MandaNicole01

    MandaNicole01 Habitué

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    :eek: I'd freak out! Talk about a mess...I can just see the sticky juice stuck to my floors and tables... Not to mention I'd get nothing done except opening spoons, milk, etc. Forget morning activities! Are they sending in custodial staff to clean?!

    If I were asking that question at my school they'd laugh! Our custodians aren't very good at doing anything besides sitting. Luckily I have a good evening custodian who cleans my room. Keep us posted on how this goes and how exactly it is saving money!:huh:
     
  23. word girl

    word girl Rookie

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    Do we work together:cool:

    Nothing I hate more than sticky! We had a party today and a student spilled his juice and 'forgot' to tell me. Of course, he sits by my desk :eek: So there I was crawling under the desk with handiwipes.

    And that's why I recommend students only have water to drink in the classroom :lol:
     
  24. MandaNicole01

    MandaNicole01 Habitué

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    YES! Water ONLY!:) Of course I still get the kids with the mixed fruit for snack who get the juice on the floor...but hey, I have 5 year olds!:)
     
  25. Kindergarten31

    Kindergarten31 Cohort

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    Dec 10, 2009

    We tried this at my school for a year, mainly to hustle the kids out of the cafe. in the morning. Everyone hated it. Especially us Kindergarten teachers. Kids had to pick up their breakfast at the cafeteria and take it to their classroom. They would eat it on the way, spill it or drop it, or just throw the food and trash on the ground. And we did set up procedures-didn't help. Not everyone ate breakfast, so about 10 kids were eating and 10 kids weren't. Do you start teaching or not? Chocolate milk and orange juice were spilled every day--on the carpet. Clogged sinks, even with a strainer. Kids would dump their milk and the straws would go down the drain.
    When they had french toast or pancakes the entire room would be sticky. It was a MESS. One year was more than enough-at least it wasn't a state mandate.
     
  26. becky

    becky Enthusiast

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    Dec 10, 2009

    Even though we homeschool, I have this problem- sort of.

    My Jeannie doesn't like to eat breakfast until she's been up awhile. That means she wants to eat when we should be starting. I allow this, but she does work as she eats. She might do her reading, I might intro her math with manipulatives, whatever she can do while she's eating. Like all of you, I have to encourage her to get done, because she can be a nibbler.
     
  27. MrsMikesell

    MrsMikesell Cohort

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    Dec 27, 2009

    This was proposed at a school I worked at and we looked into how much extra time would be spent on collecting breakfast garbage from each room and how much time would be spent on cleaning carpets and floors with spills. It was astronomical.

    We did not move them to the classrooms.

    Kelly :)
     
  28. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    This sounds like just one more thing for teachers to do.
     
  29. Newto3rd

    Newto3rd Companion

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    Dec 27, 2009

    We have done this at my school for 3 years now. We also started it in January. It is very easy to deal with now, but it was a mess at first. The kids come in, unpack, get breakfast, and begin their morning work.

    I used to have a poster reminding them of the routine for morning procedures. Now they know it. Of course I've only done this with 2nd and 3rd graders, but our K teachers do it everyday.

    I use a timer and anyone who isn't finished eating when it goes off gets to take 2 or 3 more bites and in the trash it goes! If you teach them to eat over a napkin or the wrapper, then it's a lot easier. I also keep a mini broom and dustpan so they're responsible for muffin or biscuit crumbs.
     

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