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Friday, October 17, 2014

Lunch Groups aka why teachers should interact socially with small groups of students every day

This is my third year of holding lunch groups here at RAMS.  It started as a way for some of my shyer Lego Club kids to have a place to come where they could make friends.  It ended up being a place where LOTS of sixth graders wanted to come and play, socialize and when reminded to eat a little lunch ; ) Then I opened the CAD lab and allowed kids to come and do their work and or play video games. and I found myself with two full rooms of kids having lunch.

The next year a group of seventh graders asked if they could come during lunch.  I said "why not" thinking I could still do my grading as well as work on curriculum when kids are in the room. When I started to get some eighth graders interested in coming during lunch I decided to make my rooms open to every lunch and recess/skills.  

I am in my third year of sharing my planning time with students and I think it has made a huge difference in my own teaching.  The reasons they come to my room may be different: doing school work, creating extra credit projects, playing Pokemon or Learn to Fly, but the common factor involves getting to know one another better. I can sit with them as they show me their extra credit project or a stop motion movie they made at home or even learn about their family from their Spanish project.  We have conversations about Star Trek, Doctor Who, and even our favorite candy.  We share stories about our pets, the sports we play, the books we have read. We even have conversations about the important things that middle schoolers face beyond grades and homework.  

I think I am very lucky to be a part of the Arts/FLA team here at RAMS as our planning time is set during the lunch periods.  It has given me an opportunity to get to know my students on a more personal level...
for example...
it is hard to fit our mutual love of Star Trek and candy corn into the curriculum : )