Cafeteria Behavioral Goal

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Sara7272, Jul 2, 2010.

  1. Sara7272

    Sara7272 Rookie

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    I was looking for some ideas. Has anyone implemented any strategy to help resolve behavioral issues in your school's cafeteria. One of my school’s goals this year is to focus on our cafeteria, which is the area where the majority of our behavior problems come from. During lunch our teachers are on their “duty free lunch” so the only staff members in the cafeteria are the custodian and one paraprofessional for 200+ kids at one time.
     
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  3. Lynnnn725

    Lynnnn725 Connoisseur

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    We have volunteers from the community who serve as lunch monitors.
     
  4. Lynnnn725

    Lynnnn725 Connoisseur

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    Let me add that our monitors "grade" each class everyday. You are graded in 3 areas: how the class left the table when dismissed (clean or not), how well the table helpers cleaned the table, and class behavior. You can receive either a POOR, FAIR, GOOD or EXCELLENT for a grade in each of those three areas.

    When your class has so many excellents, the teacher informs the office and the class is announced on the loud speaker the next day for earning so many excellents.
     
  5. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    We also have parent volunteers assist in supervision while the students are having lunch. A few teachers are on duty as well, however, our duty-free lunch is 40 minutes and the students' lunch break is an hour, so we have teachers available for the first 20 and last 20 minutes. Are your administrators able to make themselves visible in the cafeteria during this time?
     
  6. Sara7272

    Sara7272 Rookie

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    Volunteers? You are extremely lucky. Last year was the very first year I have ever had a parent willing to volunteer in my classroom, so I know getting parents to offer to come in during lunch time would be impossible. Our students' lunch time is 40 minutes long, as is our teachers' lunch time. We have one administrator, so it would be impossible for her to be in the cafeteria for those 2 hours while the school is coming in and out for lunch. Our school is over 80% poverty. The majority of our students lack social/communication skills that we as teachers tend to "assume" students come to school with already. Our school is implementing PBS this year with high hopes, but we know it is going to be a lot of work to get to where we want to be. Being that the cafeteria was the area with the most problems, we were hoping to come up with a solution. We are no longer going to have breakfast in the cafeteria. Instead I thought it would be better if we ate in the classroom. That way we could teach the basic skills (how to hold a spoon, use a napkin, wipe your mouth) as well as how to use appropriate tone, clean up after yourself, etc. I also thought that this would be able to set the tone for the day as positive and calm, rather then chaotic (as it would by being in the cafeteria with the entire school for breakfast.)
     
  7. Lynnnn725

    Lynnnn725 Connoisseur

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    I think the breakfast in the room is a good idea. The cafeteria can just start the day off chaotically (is this a word?) for some kids.

    You are lucky you get 40 mins of lunch. We only get 30.
     
  8. Touchthefuture

    Touchthefuture Comrade

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    we have like 5 expectations inthe cafe such as using inside voices, stay ing seated, walking only,etc. Everyday the class earns a point ( could be an apple for the tree or a leaf for the tree stamp), Then after the trimester is up the class can earn an ice cream dessert if they have so many stamps. It starts off motivating but fades a little as the year goes on. There is nothing like watching the class next to you get ice cream and you do not.
     
  9. Go 4th

    Go 4th Habitué

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    Our school plays music during lunch. About every 5 minutes, a song plays and students know they have to be quiet. It really has helped to cut down on problem behaviors at lunch.
     
  10. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    I don't think you can expect the kids to be 100% perfect with the staffing you have.

    When I worked at Head Start, we had to have an adult at every table. You can imagine how hard that is when you have 3-4 tables in every room, with only 2 teachers. Every staff member had to eat with the children. We even had parent volunteers. If not enough adults were present, we had to push the tables together.

    This is a solvable issue--can older kids monitor younger kids? Can you have students monitor their peers? Can you find high school kids that will help?

    Good luck.
     
  11. TeacherApr

    TeacherApr Groupie

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    This is something my school struggles with. We used to have two teachers for 3 grades (k-2; 3-5) for the first 15 min then an administrator/staff member and then they would go to lunch. Now, we are being short staffed again so our "duty free" lunch is out the window. According to the state of AZ, salaried employees do not have the right to have a 30 min lunch period.

    They used a microphone to get student's attention and to dismiss. It took awhile but seemed to work although I know the person after the teacher duty always seemed stressed.
     
  12. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    I just had an idea. How about asking a senior residential home if some of the residents would come over to supervise lunch. Many of the homes have buses and would bring the seniors, and lots of them may have been teachers. I don't know how much discipline they could implement, but at least it would be a start.
     
  13. Sara7272

    Sara7272 Rookie

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    Interesting...What type of music is played during that time?
     
  14. Sara7272

    Sara7272 Rookie

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    Thanks Blue. I like the idea of maybe having the older kids monitor/help the little guys. Perhaps we can use our peer leaders during K/1 lunch time to help out. It is tough without the staff, but because of the teacher's contract we cannot force teachers to eat lunch in the cafeteria. I always have because my Kindergarteners are just so needy, but that's just me.
     
  15. LindsayRose

    LindsayRose Rookie

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    Great topic! My school has specific cafeteria "rules". This past year, my kids had some issues as well during lunch time. The goals for my kiddos are to remain in their seat until they have permission to get up, clean up after selves, use in door voices, etc. My goal for the kids to to enjoy lunch without screaming at the top of their lungs! I decided to assign seats at lunch. I change seats every monday so the kids are changing it up. They also have indoor/outdoor recess on the line so even as 5th graders, they really enjoy this time.

    I've noticed that the ROOT of cafeteria problems are the adults in the room. We have parents who "work" (and ::COUGH COUGH:: complain) about being there for 2 hours. (they get paid)... After problems were arising I would make surprise pop in visits to check on my kids and would notice that all 3 adults would be in the corner talking, or not walking around. So who is to blame here? But that is just my story that I hope will get resolved next year.

    I plan on doing the same pop ins this year as well as changing seats. I do like how someone stated that the monitors grade the kids. I think that would be helpful and I could offer some sort of incentive each month if they did well.
     
  16. zoey'smom

    zoey'smom Cohort

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    Jul 3, 2010

    We did something similar a few years back. They made a chart that had each class. The best behaved class for the week during lunch got a sticker and icecream on Friday. The chart was going all year and at the end of the year the class who had the most stickers got a pizza party. This worked for awhile but there was one class that figured out early they would never get the pizza party so they didn't care how they behaved. The icecream was donated and I think the pizza was too. That was when our school was bigger.

    Now that we only have Kindergarten, First and Third grade in our building lunch time is not a problem. We will be lucky to have 55 kids eating lunch.
     
  17. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jul 3, 2010

    SO in over my head here.

    But could your goals include:
    -waiting in line (as opposed to cutting)
    - having your money out for the cashier
    -sitting at a table except when you're on line or on your way to the bathroom
    - using your "indoor" voice
    - throwing away your garbage
     
  18. Go 4th

    Go 4th Habitué

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    Usually classical. We tried some geared towards kids but they were learning the words and singing aloud and it was getting to be too funny! At Christmas, we have a great Christmas CD.

    It's actually pretty calming.
     
  19. JTeach619

    JTeach619 Companion

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    My school had a system where every teacher had a small poster in her class that said Smart Cookies. Each day the entire class behaved in the cafeteria the student monitor would get to color in a letter on the poster. When the entire poster was colored in they would get cookies and milk for snack in the cafeteria. They had different prizes for classes that would fill out multiple posters over time. Like the third time you filled out a poster the class would get special t-shirts that said Smart Cookies to wear on Jean Day Fridays. I forgot what the other prizes were, but you could adapt the poster to say whatever you want and change the prizes to whatever you want. :)
     
  20. cmw

    cmw Groupie

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    For the most part we had 1 teacher and an ed. aide for 150 students during lunch and the principal and 2 ed aides for 150 students at recess. I definitely think the principal needs to be on duty. Ours was basically doing a duty for 1 1/2 hours a day due to our lack of staffing. Also, our specialist teachers were assigned a duty. What about the counselor, Title 1 people, Schoolwide, Speech etc.. I've found that often people don't want to be available for lunch duty...but their schedule could be adjusted to make it so. (The principal would have to get this to happen as people will surely buck). Also could your prin. allow a bit of flex time for teachers to work in the lunch room? We did this with teachers who served detention. On the week you worked detention you were allowed to leave on ONE day when the students left . :D We also had some classes eat in their rooms and others rotated who ate in their rooms so there were not so many students in the cafeteria. Some teachers liked it and others did not.

    As an aside, our cafeteria situation boiled out of control this year with a near riot and food fights. Staff were verbally assaulted and hit with food.
    We also tried to implement PBIS last year.
    Good luck! :hugs:
     
  21. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    Jul 3, 2010

    Some years ago when I was a sub I had the opportunity to visit many schools. Some ran like a top while others were best described as zoos. Demographics had little to do with well run schools as one Jr. High in a low income area was a model of student cooperation while another a few blocks away was suspect who was really running the school - students or adults.

    After many visits one starts to realize certain attributes common to well run schools. Number one - and I think there is research to back up - is visibility. Not only are teachers highly visible but administrator as well. One school I will never forget. Students walked in hallways without supervision. Cafeteria was basically a bunch of kids chatting and eating. In the classroom students were asked if they knew what to do. They pointed at the board - assignments written - nodded, and went to work. At the end of the day I collected work, dismissed, and watched kids walk to bus lines chatting quietly and basically having a good time. No teachers were in sight.

    When I asked the teachers at lunch time how they got so much cooperation from kids in the absence of what looked like little or no supervision several clued me in. They related how they trained students at the beginning of school year:
    1) All teachers, duty or not, stepped into hallways during recess, lunch, dismissal.
    2) All teachers escorted students to cafeteria, stayed to supervise until students settled in. Teachers left their lunch to check students in cafeteria on a rotating basis.
    3) Duty or not, all teachers escorted students to playground and stayed to supervise as necessary.

    This training based on visibility lasted about three weeks according to staff. Later teachers backed off to a couple days a week and later as needed like after holidays. What I was seeing according to the teachers was the result of their efforts early on. In other words as one teacher put it the kids had tested the rules, found they couldn't get away with it and didn't try any more. Extra supervision was all voluntary. No teacher was forced.

    I know what some are thinking ... no way am I giving up my lunch and prep time to supervise. Interestingly, these teachers spend far less time phoning parents, writing referrals, involving the office, designing elaborate discipline schemes - in short, they save time in the long run just by doing a simple form of management which takes time up front but pays dividends in long run.
     
  22. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Take this with a grain of salt and find whatever hidden wisdom you may find in this rant. It is a rant that isn't necessarily directed at the op but at the idea that some of you have so little staff to the number of students....

    I'm amazed really. Our school requires all teaching staff (including paras and specials) to have lunch duty once a week. I don't think any of us mind it because we know it is necessary. I'm sure implementing something like that once you've had the time off would be quite different. We stay the full time plus recess duty on our duty days.

    When we drop off our students, we don't leave until ALL lunch staff for that area has shown up (not just one). We pitch in until they get there. Our behavior specialist and principal are both on duty everyday. We have rewards the kids buy (with behavior rewards money) that allows them to be the dessert stewards, etc. 5th graders take turns every week helping out at the pre-k and k table as part of their community service hours. They stay for our recess as well.

    Ya know...I'm not sure I would have it any other way. I know at the beginning of the year we didn't have all the kinks worked out in this new building and we didn't have enough coverage. Several teachers, including myself, volunteered extra duties to make sure the kids are safe and taken care of. It was to my BENEFIT to make sure things went smoothly. Like Loom said, it saved trips to the infirmary (which WAS happening for a few weeks until some of us stepped in), contacting parents, dealing with the aftermath during class, etc. Once we had coverage again, those who volunteered extra shifts went back to their mandatory once a week duty. I'd much rather have a safer and happier class because we took care of them.

    Also, my son has issues that require extra supervision. My husband and I were so frustrated with the idea that he wasn't being properly supervised during this time. We understood that there is less coverage for a lunch period than in a classroom but don't call us to come running and fix the problem when the school can't solve their own coverage issues.

    As a parent and as a teacher, I think it is our duty to be there for the kids when they need our supervision and our support. Yes, we need prep time. I absolutely understand that, but I have always believed that safety, above all else (including education) comes first. When a lunchroom isn't properly supervised, it is a safety concern. Safety comes before all else, including prep time. I shake my head at schools that leave a lunchroom with so little staff when it is not only unnecessary but it is unsafe.
     
  23. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Thanks for letting me vent. Now back to the regularly scheduled program. I don't have much advice except to say you are on the right track. The number one key is to have consistency. That means that the staff on duty must all have the same common rules. When we do have a breakdown, it is usually because of this (some staff on duty are from other departments and communication is not always easy though we try to pair them with people in our department).

    You always want to go through from start to finish and think of procedures. What are your procedures? Are these streamlined? Do they make sense? Are the students following them? Are they being enforced?
     
  24. shasha379

    shasha379 Devotee

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    Jul 4, 2010

    I really like this idea. I'm going to share it with my administration.
     
  25. Love to Teach

    Love to Teach Cohort

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    Jul 8, 2010

    Just a bump...any more ideas? We struggle with this problem, too!
     

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