From baked breads, sweet desserts, and savory snacks to quick breakfasts, easy lunches, and full-course dinners, students in your family and consumer sciences classrooms are putting their culinary skills into practice every day.
Culinary skills take plenty of time and practice to master, which means that when students are in the kitchen, time is precious. With the following kitchen organization tips from veteran family and consumer sciences teacher Marla Prusa, you can make sure your FCS kitchen is prepped, and students will have more time to focus on making the most of their ingredients.
1. Focus on prep to ensure a smooth kitchen operation
You can make class time run more efficiently for both you and your students with some prep work. But your time is precious, so think about how you can find volunteers to help. Do you have a student who could come in during their study hall to help you prep? Or are there parent or grandparent volunteers who could come in to help (with the promise of some fresh-baked muffins at the end of class)?
Before class, set out, or have your volunteer set out, the ingredients, utensils, and learning materials that are needed at each workstation or have them within easy reach for each student. If your kitchen space isn’t large enough to have workstations, label cabinets and other storage spaces so students can easily find what they need. You can also hang up a wall organizer to store learning materials.
To keep lessons organized, create a calendar for each class at the beginning of the year and sketch out how many days you will spend on each unit or lesson. Plan your classes in more detail a week ahead of time, so that you have all the ingredients, utensils, and learning materials ready for each class and your students will have what they need to get started right away. Doing this will make classes run much more smoothly and cut down on having to rush.
2. Streamline cleanup to save time and stay healthy
It’s tough to keep a kitchen organized when there’s a mess to clean up. But that’s where your students come in. Create a checklist for each workstation, and at the end of each class, have students wipe down counters, cabinets, and appliances as well as sweep the floor if needed. If your classroom doesn’t have a dishwasher, show students how to properly wash and dry dishes, cutlery, and cookware and how to safely store everything away.
Since cleanliness is important to food preparation, take the opportunity to share information about sanitation, the role it plays in food safety, and why it’s important to keep a kitchen clean. Start by illustrating where bacteria can hide and how cross-contamination can cause food-borne illness and a costly discardment of food.
Having a good understanding of why it is important to keep themselves, their equipment, and their food preparation areas clean will help students avoid mistakes and accidents in the kitchen.
3. Use color-coded supplies to organize your kitchen space
Bring order to your classroom with color-coded kitchen supplies. Color-coding significantly helps with classroom management and makes it much easier for you and students to reorganize after the cooking is done.
Break your class into groups, assign each group a color, and give them color-coded supplies to use. This will help them be responsible for the utensils, cutlery, and other supplies they use during class. The use of color-coded kitchen supplies helps make it easy for students to differentiate items and keep them organized, and it ensures supplies are returned to their proper place after being used.
See the color-coded kits FCS teachers are raving about
Color-coded kitchens simplify everything from classroom management to cleanup. Explore the rainbow of options.
4. Keep all your kitchen supplies and appliances within easy reach
When you’re organizing everything in your kitchen, try to bundle like items together and use as much storage space as possible. It’s convenient to have utensils stored together inside a rotating holder to maximize storage. Clear your counter space by storing bakeware, cookware, and larger appliances on mobile tables with turntables. That way, you can easily wheel your larger appliances to areas where they are needed or move them out of the way.
Drawer dividers will help you avoid students tossing supplies in a drawer and mixing them up. There are different dividers to choose from. Spring-loaded dividers are adjustable and can be used to divide drawers front to back or side to side.
There are also sturdy and easy-to-install dividers, which you can snap to your desired length. Along with dividers, you can use utensil organizers or cutlery trays to keep supplies organized.
5. Store ingredients in clear containers and bags for quick access
As they’re working in the kitchen, students need quick and easy access to the ingredients that their recipes call for. With clear storage solutions like containers, canisters, or plastic storage bags, you and your students will easily see what you have within reach and save time digging through pantries and cabinets.
Knowing what you have on hand will also prevent food waste and will help keep your grocery budget intact, as you’ll be able to keep better track of how much ingredients you have left for your class to use.
There are many storage solutions to choose from that differ in size, quality, and functionality. Keep food fresh with a 5-piece set of stackable containers. If you need more containers, this 10-piece set or this 24-piece set includes containers that have secure latches to prevent spills and leaks. For storing ingredients, consider using a set of high-quality canisters with a secure latch and an air-tight seal. To keep food fresh in the refrigerator or when ingredients are running low and you want to open more storage space temporarily, use plastic storage bags.
Encourage students to apply organization skills themselves in the kitchen
By following these tips in your family and consumer sciences kitchen, you’ll be modeling for your students the best way to stay organized and efficient while they cook or bake.
They’ll learn the importance of prepping their kitchen space and keeping a cleaning checklist so nothing gets missed, how to organize their tools and utensils, and the best way to store ingredients for easy access.
Plus, you’ll save yourself time and create a comfortable and functional space for learning.
To save yourself even more time, download these free delicious and nutritious family and consumer science lessons that your students are sure to love.