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Colored Cups Reduce Noise


October 19, 2005

Our school used a colored cup system to keep voices at an appropriate level in the cafeteria. Three stacked plastic cups were placed at the end of every table. The cups were green, yellow, and red. 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 worked well for our students. It placed the responsibility for the noise level on the students at each table. 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 can last a whole year.

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