A bell is rung. The students know to stop what they are doing and look at the adult who rung the bell. It means someone wants to give a message.
However, our transition into lunch is not started with the sound of the bell. Instead, a delegated student shuts the lights off. Quietly, students begin cleaning up their work. Those who have cleaned up head to the file folder and line up to get their "Mad Minutes."
Mad Minutes are single sheets of math fact papers. We do 3-minute timed tests of various levels to get sharper at our math facts every day.
After Mad Minutes, one of our File Clerks (a classroom job) collects the students papers in a single file line. Then, the students join the "circle" in the middle of the classroom. The Community Meeting begins. You can read more about Community Meeting Here.
Each table has a designated person to get each item: tablecloth, candle, napkin basket. After the students get their tables ready, they stand by their spots and wait for a teacher to dismiss them to wash their hands. Then, they go to the kitchen if they are buying a hot lunch and to the lunch box shelf if they have packed. Everyone uses the same black tray in the classroom, and lunchbox items are placed on the floor instead of "in your face." Candles are lit, and students know to only speak to those at your table and not across the classroom.
After twenty or so minutes, it is time for silent eating. A time where you can finish eating without the distraction or interruption of maintaining conversation. Once the student is dismissed, they go into our "lab," and begin taking care of their mess. If they are packed, all lunch items must be returned back home. This is for families to be aware of what their child is eating. If they bought a lunch, they put the necessary items where they go: silverware container, liquids (poured out milk and water), recycling, trash, compost and a basin to wash their plates. All students wash their plates before they go to the kitchen for a pre-wash cycle.
Then, the student returns to their table and makes sure they do not have any crumbs. They put their cloth napkin back into the basket, and get ready to go outside where the outside teacher is waiting for them.
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They enjoy their recess. Teachers are nearby to assist if peer issues come up. Following recess, the outside teacher calls the class back (by saying, "Eagles!") and everyone lines up. They line because they know if they don't hear the teacher right away or practice observing their classmates lining up, they might have to practice this skill tomorrow for recess so they can be ready to line up in case of an emergency. The students are in a line and teachers begin calling their groups and taking their group inside. Once inside, students return to a whisper volume because there are other classes going on. They get their shoes off, wash their hands, and get ready for silent reading or book club time.
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