Encourage your students to make new friends and celebrate diversity with a simple lunchtime program. October 30 marks the Tenth Anniversary of Mix It Up At Lunch Day. The initiative was developed by the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance program. Join the 2,500 schools planning to mark the day!
In Teaching Tolerance surveys, students identified the cafeteria as the place where divisions are most clearly drawn. Mix It Up At Lunch Day encourages students to break out of their usual groups and get to know other kids. That’s all there is to it!
The simple act of breaking bread with other students can have profound implications. Many differences can seem not-so-different if people only have contact with a group they consider “other.” Suddenly, the individuals inside the group become just what they are—individuals. Experience is a powerful educator.
SPLC offers many resources for schools looking to make a big deal out of Mix It Up At Lunch Day. Click here for tips on how to seat students. A few simple ideas:
- Publicize Mix It Up At Lunch Day with free tools ranging from clip art for posters to press releases.
- Set up a faculty committee (don’t worry, this is easy!) that can follow the Six Key Steps for a successful event.
- Rearrange the tables in the cafeteria—students’ visual reminder that today is different.
- Use tickets, buttons, paper slips—anything—to randomly mix students.
- At tables, have discussion prompts written on boards or sheets to help students make conversation.
- Teaching Tolerance has suggested Mix It Up At Lunch activities for all grades K-12. You can use the activities outside Mix It Up At Lunch Day, as well.
Happy Mix It Up At Lunch Day!