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  • Palmyra-Macedon Central School District
  • Palmyra-Macedon Intermediate School

 

 

SEPT.21, 2023— Students at Pal-Mac Intermediate School usually have some choices for what they want to eat for lunch. Now, a new system gives them a choice as to what they want to do for fun when they finish their lunch.

 

PMI recently introduced its “Lunch Zones,” a system that allows students a choice of five different activities to enjoy after or while they eat.

 

The zones are:

  • Silent Movie Zone: This area is for students who want to watch a movie while eating lunch. We have “silent disco” headphones ready to go and students can enjoy different movie features throughout the year.
  • Quiet Zone: This area is for students who want to read, work on a project they bring with them, etc. It is for individual students to work independently during and after eating.
  • Chromebook Zone: This area is for students who want to use their Chromebooks to play educational games after they finish eating. They bring their charged Chromebooks with them to lunch, leave them on a table near the entrance, eat at tables against the wall, and then can get their Chromebooks when they are finished eating.
  • Social Zone: Students may talk with their friends at their table quietly.
  • Window Zone: There are narrow tables set up near the windows for students who want a view while eating. Students can quietly talk with a friend while they eat in this zone.

 

While there may be a few options on a given day, students may only choose one zone per day. And yes, they do have time to eat.

Students pose in the social zone

Students hang out in the "Social Zone"

 

“But they also have time to do some other things that they are enjoying, too,” said Intermediate School Principal Jenn Check.

 

Check says the idea for the zones came to her earlier this year after she interviewed several students about what they wanted out of their lunchroom experience. She said some students preferred to quietly decompress, while others wanted to play on their Chromebooks, or just talk with their friends. 

 

After some brainstorming, she recognized their approach shouldn’t be “one size fits all.”

 

Students wearing black headphones.

Students wearing the "silent disco" headphones as they watch a movie

 

“We had kids who were in the classroom every other day eating lunch, and then also in the cafe,” Check said. “We wanted to bring everyone back to the cafe, but we also didn't want to bring all the kids back knowing that a lot of children need a quieter work space or a quieter lunch space.”

 

She said the zones are a way for the kids to get what they need during the period while still enjoying their time together. 

 

And the students seem to enjoy the change.

 

We walked with Check as she went around the cafe talking to different students across the zones.They enthusiastically shared their thoughts on the new zones.

 

“It’s bussin!” a student responded.

 

*Note that “bussin'” is a popular slang term for “really good.”

 

Another student, Tristyn, walked up to Check during our interview and told her he loved all the options, especially the Chromebook Zone.

 

Student works on his Chromebook

Student works on his Chromebook

 

When asked, Wyatt gave his review with two arms pumped into the air with an emphatic “yeah!”

 

With the overwhelmingly positive response, Check says there aren’t any immediate plans to make changes. That doesn’t mean there aren’t newer opportunities on the horizon.

 

Check told us teachers are interested in playing educational games with students, while another wants to make art. While we were there, librarian Kristin Robinson held an informational session about some after-school reading programs.

 

“We're looking at some other ways to expand what we offer,” Check said. “But it’s been really well received.” 

 

Two students wear headphones and smile

 

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