Have you ever had to clear your classroom quickly when a student is acting aggressively? Have you ever sent the other students out of the room to remove the audience? If you have, you'll agree that the rest of the class deserves the opportunity to focus on meaningful work while the situation back in the classroom is handled. That's when the Lemonade Cart can save the day!
The Lemonade Cart is simply a supply of emergency plans that are stored on a portable cart. It gets its name from the old saying, "When life hands you lemons . . . make lemonade." The cart is fully stocked with motivating activities, sharpened pencils, educational games, and anything else that will ensure that the students make the most of their time away from the classroom. And of course, it is restocked after each use.
Students benefit from practicing how to leave the classroom quickly when a classmate becomes aggressive. Just like a fire drill, have a signal that tells the students that it's time to leave. Have a destination in mind and a back-up location or two. This will limit confusion and save instructional time. But above all things, praise the students for leaving the room appropriately. This practice will help things go smoothly when a real emergency occurs.
The Lemonade Cart even benefits the aggressive child back in the classroom. Its use allows the teacher to focus solely on de‐escalation techniques instead of worrying about the rest of the class.
Jill T. Chapman
Saxe Gotha Elem School, SC
Lexington 1 School District
Reprinted with permission from the South Carolina Council for Children with Behavior Disorders. The original appeared in the Spring 2009 SC-CCBD's newsletter at www.scccbd.com/newsletter_archives.htm