Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Kitchen Color-Coding

November 2, 2016 Update: "Special Dealwith over 100 new FACS resources reopened for Nov 2016-Oct 2017!

The one area of the FACS classroom which takes the most time and creates the most headaches would have to be the kitchens, so this is where I will start. The way I organize my kitchens revolves around one concept: color-coding. Color-coding is pervasive throughout all of my classroom management systems, as we’ll see later on, but nowhere is it more obvious than in the cooking labs.

To begin with, each kitchen is assigned a different color. This is by no means a new idea, as I’ve seen many schools organized this way. Oddly, two of the three schools I’ve taught at did not have such a system in place when I started there. The beauty of the color-coded kitchens is that you know where everything belongs, and it’s easy to communicate which station you’re referring to when giving directions.


Make it Obvious

There are several things I do to make the color-coding system in the kitchens obvious. First, each kitchen has a sign declaring that kitchen’s color – these lovely posters are available at LearningZoneExpress.com,  my favorite source of FACS posters, etc.

Mini Color Posters, #9113
(also available in different languages!)


Next, every drawer and door is labeled with its contents, and the labels are framed with that kitchen’s color. Not only do the labels aid the color coding-system, they fantastically cut down on “Where is?!” “I can’t find?!” “What drawer?!” etc.

Labels before...

One kitchen drawer

Cabinets with "extras" that don't need to be in kitchens are labeled in red.

The "purple" kitchen


Every kitchen has a “Clean Checklist” for cooking labs (more on those later), and each is framed in that kitchen’s color.



To add a little decorative touch, where possible I hung valances above the sinks using a tension rod and fabric of a corresponding color. Really cheers up the place, too!



With leftover fabric I put together some matching oven mitts.



Whenever that elusive grant money actually comes through, I order some big ticket items for the kitchens – the first order I have placed after starting at two of my schools were KitchenAid stand mixers… in colors that match the kitchens, of course!



Once the stand mixers are in place, I whip up some stand mixer covers in the right colors (not coincidentally, the fabric will match the curtains and the oven mitts!).



Despite all of this, some people still will not get it. Every once in a while a student or a teacher will return a borrowed item, and when I tell them “You can just leave it in the sink of the orange kitchen” they will ask “Which one is that?” Not kidding.


Equipment

Color-code your kitchen utensils, and no kid can say “that dirty spatula isn’t ours!” when they are in the “Green” kitchen and the spatula itself is a bright green.


Note the pencil box: I have one in each kitchen that holds the can opener and peelers
(two items kids seem to spend inordinate amounts of time searching for), as well as 
a pair of child's safety scissors for opening packages, etc.

Many schools that color-code their kitchens do so by placing a paint dot on each piece of equipment that belongs to the corresponding kitchen. This is a good start, but I prefer to be a bit more obvious and search for equipment that actually comes in that color. This makes identification much quicker and easier, and the equipment itself typically looks nicer and more attractive to the students.


Usually every summer WalMart puts out sets of measuring cups, spatulas, slotted spoons, etc in various colors. The summer before I began teaching at my current school, the colors WalMart had out were blue, green, orange, and purple – thus, those are the colors of my current kitchens. 

Luckily, Rachael Ray also helps out in this department with cookware! Three years in I was able to order colored cookware: blue, orange, and green from RR, purple from the Paula Deen line.

Always, always put the kids in charge of
washing the new dishes!

Not entirely sure why the scissors are out here...

The orange is my personal favorite.

They even look great in the cabinets!

The kids really get into this after a while. Whenever I bring in a new item I have found (colored grater, peeler, pastry brush, etc) they get pretty excited - "That's purple! That's for OUR kitchen!"



33 comments:

  1. LOVE the color coordinating! I did color coordinated towels one year- had to go to 4 different Targets to get enough. (I had 6 kitchens to color coordinate). But I LOVED the end result. I can't imagine having EVERYTHING matching... Wow! I love the idea of the colored utensils. It would be so nice to know where to give back the randomly found dirty dish to. And I love the matching fruit/veggie fabric and posters. I have seen that fabric and never buy it as I don't know what to make with it. Now I know.

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  2. p.s. the colored pots and pans- AMAZING!

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  3. Hey loving your ideas and blog. Do you think I could get a copy of the lab cleaning checklist? Please email me at brownjackie624@yahoo.com

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  4. me too please cjbryant28@yahoo.com

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    1. Sent! Sorry for the delay - I kind of went "off the grid" as the school year wrapped up. Trying to catch up here now! Hope this is helpful!

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    2. Can I have a copy of your cleaning checklist? Love the ideas! Thanks. jenns0607@yahoo.com

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    3. Done! Good luck with your school year!

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    4. I'd like one please.....cjbryant28@yahoo.com
      Thank you.....LOVE your blog !

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    5. May I please get a copy of the labels and cleaning check list as well! kimberly.boswell@berrien.k12.ga.us Thank you!

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    6. Is it possible to get a copy of the cleaning check list and kitchen drawer/door labels? megan.brown@rdpsd.ab.ca Thanks in advance!

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  5. Could I also get a copy of the lab cleaning checklist? Thanks!!! I absolutly love your blog!!! Everything is amazing! I am starting in a brand new middle school this year so I am hoping to use several of your ideas! You have truly helped me a bunch!

    vannoy.elizabeth@gmail.com

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    1. I sent a copy to your email! I'm glad you've found some useful ideas on the blog - it's pretty neat to be able to share with such a wide audience. Good luck with the new school!

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  6. Hello, I love the labeling of the lab cabinets and drawers. Would it be possible to get a copy of your labels emailed to me? Thank you. wsigler@iwest.k12.il.us

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    1. Of course! They are on the way. Labeling the outsides of cabinets and drawers saved me a lot of time and frustration. Hope they help! Thanks for stopping by!

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    2. Could I please get a copy of the drawer labels and cleaning list sent to Kimberly.boswell@berrien.k12.ga.us and also to Icthus1st@aol.com Thank you!

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    3. I am a new middle school teacher and would also love the drawer labels and cleaning list sent to lynda.ganey@gmail.com. Thank you so much! Your blog is extremely helpful.

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  7. I am a first year teacher and I have done so much already but I have so much more to do. Is it possible for you to send me your kitchen labels list to make it easier for my students to see where things go? Helges89@uwosh.edu

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    1. You betcha! I just sent them to your email, I hope they save you some time. I've changed schools a few times, so I know how long it takes to get things the way you want them! Have a great first year!

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  8. I would also be interested in your kitchen labels list. blairk@usd321.com

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  9. How do you get the labels to stick? Can you email them to me? mollie.sanford@dumasnt.org

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  10. Hi I'm a first year teacher too and I was wondering if I could have a copy of the checklist and labels too? I am starting everything from scratch and trying to color coordinate as best as you! I absolutely love the idea! My email is lovesayrah@gmail.com

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  11. Denise,
    I am a first year FACS teacher as well. I am coming out of a 6 year time off period post college where I started my family. I am headed to a school that I believe is going to need some revamping and fresh ideas. I would love copies of your labels and kitchen checklist if they are available. I checked on you TPT store but did not see them there. Thanks, felishamreed@gmail.com

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  12. I am a first year student with only 1 week to get everything together! Can you send me a copy of the labels and the Clean list? As well as anything else that you have that is useful, to Mmayes09@hotmail.com. Thank you!

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  13. I love your blog!! Can I have a copy of your clean list? Also, how many points was that worth....going along with that- how many points were your labs? Did you use a lab grading sheet?! Thanks so much! Lsudo12@jcu.edu

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  14. Just a reminder that Oriental Trading has a few different sets of assorted color containers, etc. (small & large clipboards, recipe boxes, magazine holders, drawer organizers, etc, etc.). They are NOT inexpensive & some look too small to really be of much use (read the dimensions) BUT- they do some in 6 colors: orange, green, yellow, blue, red, purple (I have 7 kitchens & there's no brown, but finding 6 colors together is a miracle!). Watch for free shipping & sometimes they have a $10 gift card if you purchase a certain amount. Also, I've gotten spray paint (thanks to Pinterest for the ideas) in the kitchen colors to spray anything I need to (haven't yet). Prior to that, there are enamel paint pens that you can mark things you can't get in different colors. I also have a large tray in each kitchen that is (mostly) the kitchen color or a coordinating design, that I got at Goodwill as I saw them (for carrying supplies). This can become an obsession at times. Also at "Dollar Tree" (the only one where everything really is only $1) they have seasonal colors & you can grab somethings there. One of the least expensive ways to get color ID is to print on colored paper & laminate.

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  15. I am a new FACS teacher this year in middle school. Love what you have created. May I please have a copy of your cabinet/drawer labels and your cleaning checklist? galileo1023@aol.com Thank you!

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  16. Your stuff is amazing! May I please have a copy of your cabinet/drawer labels and your cleaning checklist? Candice.ward@bremertonschools.org. Thank you!

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  17. I am a veteran teacher, but will be teaching Foods for the first time in a small rural school. I'd love your task cards, cleaning list, and labels and anything else you would be willing to share. Without my stepping up to go back to school, our students would not have an opportunity to learn to cook. I have to be ready to go on Jan. 12, 2016. Any help you could give is greatly appreciated. Looks like you have a lot of nice things here.

    Also, where did you go for grant money. I'd love to find a way to purchase Kitchen Aid Mixers for my 5 kitchens.

    kparks@howard-winn.k12.ia.us

    Thanks for any help you would be willing to provide. This is a new adventure for me that I'm looking forward to.

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  18. Would you be willing to send me your kitchen labels to cathy.aylward@cabarrus.k12.nc.us! this is a great idea! Thanks

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  19. I was wondering if I could also have a copy of your kitchen labels and clean list. I absolutely love your resources and am in the process of color coding my lab kitchens. jbrungard@comcast.net

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  20. Could i get a copy of your cabinet labels and the kitchen checklist? Thanks!

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  21. Hi- I meant to request some kitchen labels a few years ago- still need them! Would you send me a printable copy?
    Your kitchens are the GOLD STANDARD! Fun & I love to look at them. Thank you.
    darcie.pemberton@delanoschools.org

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