How many of you have decided to join me in reading Free For All? What do you think of the book so far?
I learned facts and statistics just from reading the introduction. My yellow highlighter is by my bed…wait a moment, my toddler has absconded with it… At first I thought it would be heavy reading, but it really isn’t. But I have only gotten through the introduction and the first chapter.
The first chapter covers when Dr. Poppendieck, the author, volunteers in a school cafeteria for a week. If you ever doubted how much work lunch ladies do, you should read this chapter (it’s no surprise that she puts it in the first chapter). For me it wasn’t new information: I see lunch ladies working hard all day, every day. Although I don’t know the machinations of what happens behind the counters, I see enough of the lunch line to know two very important things: 1) It’s a tough job 2) Lunch ladies care about the kids. Period.
Dr. Poppendieck goes on to talk about Breakfast in the Classroom, which she witnessed firsthand. I have not seen it yet, but according to recent news reports it’s coming. I don’t believe having breakfast in the classroom will mess up the morning routine greatly and I really want the kids to eat something first thing in the morning. Dr. Poppendieck explained in the book that there were positive benefits like reduced visits to the nurse in the morning, decreased tardiness, and reduced disciplinary action in the morning (p. 36). The teachers were unanimous is their concerns about the quality of the food (exactly as I blogged about last week). I’m excited to see how this will play out in my real life…
Dr. Poppendieck also covers a little bit about the offer vs serve approach (p. 40), which I’m sure she will go into in more depth later into the book. It is mandated in high schools (came about in the 1970’s to reduce waste, which makes me laugh) and that is how kids can choose to eat pizza and fries every day and still have a federally reimbursable meal.
I like how Dr. Poppendieck says “I knew so little to begin with…” — that’s exactly how I feel and why I’m excited to read the book. She’s taking me down a road that was new to her once too. This should be interesting!
The winner of December’s Titanium Spork Award is Dana Woldow! She won by a landslide! Ms. Woldow is a mom on a mission in San Francisco. Read up about her on CNN.com, on greatschools.com and an essay contributed on The Lunch Tray last fall. Thank you so much for what you have done for children!
Please comment below for your nominations for January’s Titanium Spork Award!