Colored Cups Reduce Noise
Our school uses a colored cup system to keep voices at an appropriate level in the cafeteria. Three stacked plastic cups — green, yellow, and red — are placed at the end of every table. Start with the green cup on top. When a teacher (or any adult) felt a table was becoming too noisy, the yellow cup was placed on top serving as a warning to those students. If the noise level continued to be inappropriate at the table, then the cup was changed to red and that table had silent lunch for the remaining portion of the period.
This system works well for our students, because it places responsibility for the noise level on the students. Before implementing the plan, discussions were held with all students to share the importance of voice level, model examples of appropriate cafeteria voice levels, and explain the cup process. The cups are very inexpensive and last the whole year.