Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Our ECSE Classroom's Schedule: Part Four - Snack Time (10:00 am or 10:20am - 10:20 or 10:40am)

Welcome back!  It is 10:00 (or 10:20 depending on if we get outside time or not) in the routine of school day.  Are you hungry yet?  I hope so...it’s snack time! 

Here are our snack prep area and snack tables. 

Click here to view a video example of how snack preparation works in our classroom. 

Yep, all our students help with snack jobs.  Impressive, huh?!   

Originally, we added snack prep jobs to solve behavior management issues.  Before snack jobs came about, it took an entire staff person away from large group to set the tables for snack.  The absent adult made it difficult for some kids to sit and perform at large group without prompts and supports from staff. And then...we revamped and added in snack jobs as suggested by our amazing OT, Miss Debbie!
So here is a closer look at how they all work.  First, during large group one staff person cleans off the tables and lays out the placemats. 
This one is used for when we have special guests like parents or observers. Other ones have staff and student photographs on them.

The mats are $1.97 placemats I picked up at Walmart and cut in half and then traced a cup and tray outline on them with a permanent marker so that the kids could practice one-to-one correspondence as they set the table and know exactly were to place the trays and cups. The trays and cups are also purchased from Walmart.  The trays are $0.98 and the cups are 2 for $0.88.  You can find them in the kitchen section. 


We decided on using trays rather than just napkins or plates as they are a precursor to the larger lunch trays that students use in the cafeteria when they move on to kindergarten.

Note: The staff person that sprays the tables and sets the placemats out does so after the student she supports at large group earns three tokens for good behavior (sitting up tall, listening to the teacher and doing your work) and gets to go play educational games on the iPad for 5 minutes using a sand timer from Watching Time Pass. 

(The tokens are earned and then stored on a DVD cover.)

Following the time on the iPad, the staff person is done prepping the tables and they both go back to group as a layered grouping feature best meets the needs of the student and uses staff time efficiently.  Here is the back of the DVD token system.  It is the student's picture schedule.  It says "Time for circle time!".  Other picture icons are stored on a Velcro strip inside the DVD case. It's so compact...a motivating system and schedule all-in-one!

Note that each placemat is color-coded with colored tape from Discount School Supply to match colored tape on the back of each chair. 

This helps get the mats out quick and strategically so that students that need extra adult help are sitting by adults and kids who have a hard time sitting by certain peers are sitting by those that will be good role models.  Color coding the snack mats also gives us an opportunity for layered grouping.  One of our kiddos in the afternoon class, who has a hard time sitting for all of large group, dismisses a little early to match the mats to the color on each chair.  A great way to give him the movement he needs without disrupting his peers!

As the students get dismissed for snack, they are prompted to line up on a black square to wash their hands. 

These black construction paper squares have been contact papered to the tile to support kids in not crowding each other at the sink.  We use other black shapes for lining up to go outside and lining up to go in the hallway.  Just another way to imbed learning about shapes throughout our school day!

As each student steps up to wash their hands, they have the opportunity to look for their assigned snack job on the magnetic board mounted behind the sink.  
Notice some students look for their photo while others look for their name or even last name.  Then, after washing their hands and finding their job, they walk to the right of the sink to get the supplies needed to complete their job. 

One student gets the trays from the top drawer, one gets the plastic basket of cups off the top of the drawer system, and another gets the plastic basket of napkins.  Then, two other students get out the food for the orange and purple tables from the orange and purple drawers. (The drawers are just clear tubs that have been lined with purple and orange construction paper.) One student gets the water pitchers out of our mini-fridge just to the right of the sink. One or two students place the artificial flowers on the table to match a di-cut flower that is packing taped to each table.  I say one or two students as this is one of our easiest jobs so if we have some pretty young or lower-level students, we will simply have their job be matching one vase of flowers to di-cut flower packing taped to the table. 

Notice the artificial flowers are in an old aluminum can so that we don’t risk a glass or ceramic vase getting broken. 

Whew...snack prep is done.   Time for snack.

Not a lot to say about actual snack time other than we try to support our kids in using language at snack so we have little snack language boards to support requesting and conversation. 

We also have a thank you board posted for students to read for information and thank the friend or staff person that brought snack for the day. 

Some of our students would prefer to breeze right through snack time so they can go outside.  To support appropriate eating and snack conversation, we often set out a 10 or 5 minute sand timer from watching time pass so the kids can manage their time wisely. 

When the sand is all gone, each child is in charge of going to the table to dump and put away their snack items. 

This is a great precursor to lunch time in the cafeteria as the students get promoted and move on to kindergarten.  

With that, I promote you to outside play!!  Join me next time for the inside scoop on outside time!    

Best wishes, 


  1. I love the visual that you have with the outside thermometer. I was wondering if you could email me this visual?
    Thank you,
    my email is brandkristina@hotmail.com

  2. I love the visuals you added to the outside thermometer too. Could you email it to me?

    1. I just sent it! Sorry for my delay! In the future if you find something you need off my blog it is usually faster if you email the request directly.

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