Chelsea Intermediate School encouraged students to make new friends during a Mix it Up at Lunch Day, held Oct. 21 at the school.
Mix It Up at Lunch Day is sponsored by Teaching Tolerance and began in 2001.
Since then, it has been celebrated at schools nationwide as a way to break social barriers and show students how to meet new people, build common ground, and learn new social skills, said Rachel Newcomb, assistant principal at Chelsea.
Each student started the day by receiving a Mix It Up 2019 wristband in red, blue, yellow or green.
Upon entering the lunchroom, students were directed to sit at a table with a tablecloth in the same color as their wristband.
Students were encouraged to learn more about the people sitting at their table, whether they were familiar faces or new acquaintances.
They used conversation-starters to facilitate discussion, and staff members also went from table to table to talk with students.
“What starts in the lunchroom can spread throughout the building to nurture an inclusive and welcoming school community,” Newcomb said in a news release from the school.
When students returned to class, they reflected on the day through discussion and writing assignments.
They were also given letters to take home, challenging their families to mix it up outside of school by trying something new.
Examples include sitting with someone new at an after school activity, introducing yourself to a new neighbor, or trying a new food, restaurant or activity.
Students who tried something new outside of school and submitted a form describing the how they “mixed it up” by Nov. 5 were entered into a raffle to win an extra recess during the school day.
Students also participated in a variety of themed days, like Pajama Day (“It’s Our Dream to be Drug and Bully Free”) and Kindness Day (during which students wore T-shirts with positive messages) around Red Ribbon Week this week, which focused on drug and bullying prevention.
For more information about Mix It Up at Lunch Day and Teaching Tolerance, visit tolerance.org/mix-it-up.