Lunch Bunch: Make(r)Your Space A Place Kids Love for Lunch

Encouraging kids to eat lunch & tinker in your studio is crazy, extra work, chaotic & the most awesome thing you can do for them every day.

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Ok, so this one's easy.

You've got this awesome space, full of amazing tools, technologies and trinkets.

Kids go to lunch every day. Remember the school cafeteria? Was it one of your favorite places to go? In middle school? 

It wasn't ... for me.

So when kids in grades 7 & 8 figured out they could come to my room with their lunches & their friends ... to eat, tinker, explore and play ... they were all over it.

Now, every day, my room is besieged with chatty middle schoolers catching up with each other, eating, designing things in 3D, playing with some of our robots, doing homework, or just doodling on our dye-eraseable desks.

It's my lunch period. I gladly wolf down the same thing every day, a PB&J on rice cakes ... in about 47 seconds. Then I just float around the room, answering questions, helping kids design, tinker, play and explore. They know what to do, I'm just there if they get stuck. (Most of the time, the kids help each other, or, I direct another kid to do help.)

The other time this happens is my 'prep.' I've always found the concept of a 'prep' period laughable. (I know, it's a contractual thing.) My 'prep' is every moment I'm awake, starting at approximately 3am most days. So, having kids invade my studio during that time isn't inconvenient or an imposition, it's an honor. Especially for the kids who are coming in, the ones who want to, the ones who NEED to. Get what I'm sayin'?

Middle school can be a pretty rough place. Why not use your superpowers for good and provide an oasis of fun, creativity and wonder during the day?

Beats the heck out of eating alone. Or in the Faculty Lounge. :) At least for me!

So, I'm gonna interview some of these kids, and find out how this helps encourage the maker spirit. Watch this space!


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Photo of Kevin Jarrett

Thanks for the comment, Chris, and yes, that's exactly what they're doing, learning and hanging out (and eating). Though I know folks in other schools that have this going on as well - Rebecca Mclelland-Crawley (@bec_chirps) in West Windsor is one - this idea didn't come from another colleague, it came from the kids. The first week of school, 8th graders said 'can we eat lunch in here'? And it all started. Recently, 7th graders (who eat at a different time) heard me talking about it and asked if they could, too. Why not? The result is that my days are way busier but also that the kids are getting access to technology and tools they previously had to wait until my class for. They're designing & 3D printing jewlery and gifts for friends and family. They're coding robots. They're building with little Bits. They're hot-gluing stuff. They're working on handmade gifts for an upcoming Bat Mizvah (cool braided cut-up t-shirts that will be sold and the proceeds donated to charity.) I have said all along that all our kids needed to be among the great innovators and inventors of their generation was a place like our Digital Shop and a little encouragement. I'm thrilled that a question from an 8th grader has organically grown into a movement that improves the daily life of kids in our middle school. Just couldn't be happier!

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