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Thursday, September 15, 2005

Charging Lunch (and the Teachable Moment)

We are likely to have a Board policy which will limit the number of days a student may "charge" lunch for only one day. This really should not pose any student or family a problem, although we know that "should" and "do" are often two different things. Just as you and I put gas in the car when the needle approached empty rather when the tank is bone dry, the prudent thing for a family to do is regularly add money to the lunch account when it begins to get low. That way, if something happens and the plan doesn't go exactly as expected, they have a buffer of a few days before their child reaches a zero balance.

I realize this concept would not occur to some folks. After all, I am one who believes that the time to add "toothpaste" to the grocery list is when you pull the last unused one from under the counter, not when I realize I can't squeeze any more out of the very last tube in the house. That way, getting toothpaste never becomes a crisis. Buying toothpaste sometime within the next month will do instead of having to go to the store before I can brush my teeth again.

We can help students avoid the situation of having to charge lunches by doing two easy things:

1) Use analogies such as what I have listed above.

2) Stress to students that when they realize they are out of money, get that thought out of their head and on to paper ASAP. The student planner is the tool for that.

We need to teach students to handle routines rather than hop from crisis to crisis. Very few of us had anybody teach us these kinds of things as children, and as we grown up in the world that has become increasingly complex, far too many adults are eaten alive by the little details that tugs at their lives day after day. What do we think the world will be like for the children in our classrooms now? Less complex? Not a chance! We have the opportunity to do teach them the basic organizational skills that will spell major differences in what they are able to accomplish and their ability to avoid the plague of stress years down the road.

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