Back to School Lunch Procedures

When it’s back to school time, teaching students how to use their school lunch time appropriately often falls to the classroom teacher since they have the most captive audience opportunities.  It is pretty difficult to teach an entire lunch room of multiple classes procedures or even review them with the sheer number of students. So how can a teacher prepare their students for lunch procedures?

Here are three ideas on making learning back to school lunch procedures or teaching brand new procedures to kindergartners less painful and even successful. I’ll go over using a video, a social story and an activity to make this part of your back to school experience helpful. I think it won’t hurt to make friends this way with those that run the lunch room {wink} by having well-trained students, but  it’ll also help give you good ways to work on procedures that are meaningful the first day or days of school.

Teach Junkie: Back to School Lunch Procedures

These are in place or in addition to creating traditional charts and reading trade books on the subject.

Lunch Procedures – Create a Video

As a kindergarten teacher myself, I rely heavily on finding active ways to teach my kindergartners my expectations starting day one. This challenge is super-charged by the sheer number of procedures I have to teach in a day for them to start out successfully. A line? What’s that? Oh, you mean we should get in a “drive thru”… got it. I think using a video helps to break up the day by showing a five minute example of what it looks like.

Back to School - Lunch Procedures Teach Junkie

You know – the basics. We sit and wait to be called up, get hand sanitizer and then our milk. Let them know what to expect.

I have tried to put a video together using students from last year modeling good behaviors and then recording their voices over it. However, I didn’t end up with a finished product due to the time it took. If I only had more patience for editing. Gotta make it short and sweet in order for it to be effective. I do think this could be highly effective for any grade.

School Lunch – Social Story

Back to School - Lunch Procedures Teach Junkie

This one is the winner for me and my classroom on day one. I used it repeatedly until they could read along with me because they had it memorized the first week of school. Until last year, I even snuck my students down to practice and modeled and we practiced. Yeah… so that didn’t seem to make an impact for at least half the class. When the sounds and {gentle} chaos of lunch begins, they totally couldn’t relate our quiet practice to anything that was now going on.

Enter a social story. I like using these for teaching procedures now since it was so successful in this case. I even used one to teach how to use our classroom bathrooms. {Sure did!}

Teach Junkie: Back to School Lunch Procedures - Write a Social Story

A modified social story, and I could be using this term totally incorrect if any sped teacher wants to correct me, is my way of telling my students what to expect through bibliotherapy. Yep. Let ’em live the experience through a book. They already have this skill down so why not capitalize on it? I turned mine into a sing-songy version so I could help keep their attention and I took some ridiculous pictures to add humor. (To the tune of “Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush“)

Lunch Procedures – Activity

Back to School - Lunch Procedures Teach Junkie

Reinforce what you have talked about and share those expectations with parents. Let your students create a lunch box and differentiate this for your class. This teacherpreneuer has some great ideas for how you can do that and I think it’s a great way to get in some cutting {eep} and gluing {gasp} the first week. Simple project, opens the lines of communication to home and gives us another opportunity to discuss and review expectations for school lunch procedures. {Free download}

Teach Junkie: Back to School Lunch Procedures - Cafeteria Expectations Craft

Those are my top tips of how to make back to school lunch procedures go more smoothly. Hope they can help you as you get your students back into gear (or in a Kindergarten teacher’s world – just into shape) so that you don’t feel like you are herding cats at least for one part of your day. What are your tips for making school lunch times go smoothly the first week?

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Leslie {aka the original Teach Junkie} loves learning new things to make teaching easier and more effective. She enjoys featuring creative classroom fun when she's not designing teacher shirts, making kindergarten lesson plans or planning her family's next trip to Disney World.