For months students have been begging for classroom lunch--a time to eat in the classroom with the added choices of playing games, talking to friends, and making things.
Reluctant to give up my own lunch, I've given in a few times, but for now, I'm allowing lunch in the classroom most of the time.
First, simply put, everyone is happier--happy to sit with friends, play games, chat, and play.
Next, it's a lot easier to transition them from this lunch than the cafe lunch--less noise, less crankiness, and less time.
After that, it's a nice bargaining chip--"If I let you eat in the classroom, then you have to do your part by staying focused during our learning times."
And it's a much less institutional lunch time. The room becomes more like the local Starbucks than the old fashion cafeteria.
When the weather gets better I'll bring my old picnic table in so some can eat outside too.