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A Foods Lab Tip from Michele - Check Out

Here’s a suggestion that worked well for me when students were working in the foods lab. Maybe it will work for you too. About 8-10 minutes before the end of a foods lab, students needed to have me “check out” their kitchen. However, I would only come to their kitchen if all group members were in the kitchen when they called me over. The reason I did this was so everyone could pitch in if there was anything I “caught” that needed to be done. (i.e., wipe off the stove top, organize the silverware drawer, or nest the mixing bowls) Doing this gave the TEAM the responsibility of making sure all of the work was done before they left for the day. It also avoided letting one or two of the group members “wander” the room near the end of class and neglect their responsibilities as a team member. Even if all of their assigned tasks were done, each student needed to be sure their group was finished, helping other team members if needed.

I did not deduct points from a group if I caught something that needed to be done as long as they finished the task appropriately. However, students knew they would lose points if I ever found anything put away dirty. I knew that I couldn’t check everything in a short period of time, but I tried to make sure things were clean, neat, and put away in the correct cupboards and drawers. I also told student that I if I had a complaint from the next group working in the kitchen regarding the previous group’s clean up, they would lose points. Groups that failed to check out at the end of class would lose their teamwork points. Sometimes, this resulted in a lower clean up grade as well as overall grade if I found tasks not done to my standards.

Requiring all students to be present for check out reinforced the duty of being a team player, kept all students accountable and engaged until the very end of class, maintained the standard for organized and sanitary kitchens, gave students a chance to fix anything they missed, resulted in less complaints from the next group using the kitchen and gave me one last opportunity to see each student before they left the class. This allowed me to give them immediate feedback, usually praise (but not always) regarding their teamwork and how spotless they left the kitchen.

Are there any helpful lab tips you have you would like to share with other FACS teachers?

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