Promotions That Pop Start the new school year with fun promotions designed to both educate and entertain. IT’S ALWAYS EXCITING TO PLAN TRADITIONAL PROMOTIONS for your students, but in addition to the Halloween- and Thanksgiving- related activities and celebrations you may have planned for the coming months, why not take a look at some lesser-known occasions to get your students in the mood for fall—and for school meals? Following is an assortment of ideas for three celebrations taking place this autumn. For a comprehensive list of promotional occasions and suggested activities, visit School Nutrition’s promotional calendar at www.schoolnutrition.org/promocalendar1213. National Apple Month What is actually a three-month celebration from September through November, National Apple Month is the perfect opportunity to present an array of apple menu options to your students, offering whole and cut fresh apples, applesauce, cider, baked goods and more. Make apples readily available as a regular fruit option, and use apple slices as toppings on items like salads. With the weather turning brisk in many areas, a warm dessert such as apple pie could be a welcome special treat! Take the idea of a full-scale apple spread a step further by holding a taste testing with different apple colors and varieties. Do your students gravitate toward the unique tastes of Gala or Granny Smith apples, or do the traditional Red Delicious and McIntosh reign supreme? Keep track of those varieties that receive the most votes and keep the results in mind when ordering apples in the future. If you participate in a farm-to-school program, you can make the taste-testing process even more fun by inviting farmers from local orchards to visit your cafeteria and make a personal presentation of their harvests to students. Ask the farmers to share details about how apples are grown and the characteristics and uses of different varieties. World Card Making Day When you hear the word “card,” your first thought might be to design greeting cards. But there are all types of cards to create and use in cafeteria activities and promotions. For example, as October 6, 2012, draws near, put plans in motion for a “mystery tray” contest. Tape a marked card to the undersides of a select number of trays and award the students who pull those trays some fun prizes, such as a notebook or a pencil. You also can work with your school’s art teacher on a project that asks students to design their own business cards. Encourage them to envision what type of job they might like to have—from fashion designer to doctor to pop star to truck driver, anything goes! Similarly, students could produce cards that showcase an identifiable personality trait or characteristic, such as being a good friend, great at math or class clown. Ask students to submit a business card to the cashier when they go through the serving line and then post their creations around the cafeteria. Of course, if it’s the traditional greeting card concept that strikes your fancy, encourage your students to create cards to send to parents, grandparents, teachers and school staff. Better yet, ask them to give a card to their favorite cafeteria employee and brighten a colleague’s day! Geography Awareness Week Observed November 11-17, 2012, Geography Awareness Week presents plenty of opportunities to both inform and entertain students. Look online or in your library’s reference materials—or borrow resources from a teacher—to identify and display details about your local city and/or state throughout the cafeteria. Team up with teachers to develop fun quizzes that test students’ knowledge of state, national or international geography. The winning students can receive fun prizes, such as a spot at the front of the lunch line for one day. Encourage classroom teachers to share the Free Rice website (www.freerice.com) with their students—or set up a computer with Internet access in the cafeteria. This site donates 10 grains of rice to the United Nations World Food Programme for each correct answer to a question. Geography subject areas include landmarks, identifying countries on a map, world capitals and flags. Ask staff or a volunteer to help students visit the site, increasing their knowledge while helping others around the world who are in need. For sponsored Geography Awareness Week materials and resources, visit http://tinyurl.com/6smctpo. Cafeteria promotions don’t need to be elaborate to be successful. With a little advance planning and creativity, you can coordinate a promotion that your students won’t stop talking about. Start by identifying a point person on your staff to take the lead in managing fun, educational cafeteria activities. Depending on your staff resources, consider rotating these planning duties among team members or designating one particularly resourceful and creative staffer as the “Coordinator of Fun”!
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