What do Kids Get Out of Mix?

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So you’ve decided to Mix It Up at Lunch—either for the first time or as a returning participant. And you ask yourself, “Why Mix It Up? What do kids get out of this?”

By turning to some of our model schools—schools that have carried out effective Mix It Up campaigns throughout the year—you’ll find many answers to those questions.

A Pennsylvania middle school told Teaching Tolerance: “The kids usually go into it saying, ‘I don’t want to meet new people,’ or ‘This is stupid.’ This quickly changes when they realize everyone feels the same anxiety. They begin talking with other students and enjoy learning about one another.”

Other schools tell us Mix It Up at Lunch Day allows even the most bashful students to step out of their comfort zones.

An Ohio middle school educator reported, “A little girl came up to me crying that she had made friends and was able to sit with other students and have fun at lunch for the first time.” His school holds Mix It Up at Lunch events regularly throughout the school year. The result? “No student sits alone at lunch, and students sit with other groups regularly. We have even had groups of students get up and sit with any student sitting alone.”

Even a rocky first-time Mix event—reluctant students, negative comments—just makes the reasons for holding Mix It Up events clearer. As a Maryland elementary educator told us, “It just shows me more education about the day needs to occur.”

Letting students lead Mix publicity efforts is a powerful strategy. Students respond better to peer-to-peer communication. A high school in Virginia attributed its Mix It Up success to “the fact that students created the ideas, advertised, provided the music, did the cafeteria setup and took ownership.”

Sometimes, the impact on one student drives home the power of Mix It Up at Lunch Day. Consider this, from a middle school in New York: “We have a student who typically does not speak to anyone. She does not speak in class and prefers to sit alone during lunch and/or free time. It was an absolutely moving experience that she opened up and participated in our event.”

Mix It Up at Lunch Day is Oct. 30!
Questions about Mix It Up? Ideas for Mix It Up organizers at other schools? Other thoughts? We welcome feedback–and can respond to questions–on Facebook or Twitter. You can also browse our free Mix It Up resources online.