Color-Coding Abounds at the WAYK House One of my favourite things so far as a WAYK intern is the color-coded organization of the WAYK house. Months before we arrived in Atka, each member of the WAYK team was assigned a color. Now, in the WAYK house, we each have our own set of dishes in our individual colors. Our bedding and towels are also in our colors and we have color-coded bins to keep our stuff organized in different places of the apartment. I am aqua/light blue, Robyn is purple, Sam is green, Susanna is blue, and Evan is red. While nobody is patrolling about looking for dirty dish crimes, it is a helpful reminder for us to be courteous to our team members and help clean up. Should a dish or towel become abandoned, everyone would know who left it laying around. Knowing this helps us quickly create a language immersion moment. “Whose cup is that?” is a question always on the tip of everyone’s tongue, in one of the five languages of the house, and a comprehensible response is just seconds away.

Color-coded Dinnerware at the WAYK HouseThe color-coded system is particularly helpful in scheduling the summer language program. With such a short period of time and so much going on in a Summer Language Intensive, it is very important that we are able to keep track of all the projects, specific tasks, and responsibilities we have on the go. One of the goals of the program is to teach not only WAYK techniques for learning and teaching languages, but also how to run and organize language programs, create effective teams, and utilize each moment as efficiently as possible.

Erin's Aqua Bed at the WAYK House!The scheduling system we are using needs to coordinate short-term and long-term tasks with upcoming and on-the-side projects, across daily, weekly, and monthly schedules. Here is where the color coding really comes into play. Each participant has an assigned Post-it color. This includes the WAYK interns, local youth employees, fluent speakers, and an “everyone” color (white). Post-its in your own color are tasks that have been assigned to you to complete, lead, or be responsible for seeing through. If there is a white post-it with the task written in your color ink, or your color Post-it attached to the back, then you are in charge of making sure it gets done. The colors are bold, and announce loud and clear from across the room who is In charge of which task and who should be where during any given time of the day. If a participant is unclear about what they are supposed to be doing, a quick look at the color-coded schedule wall will tell them where to go and what to do.

The hope is that the all the Summer Language Intensive program participants will take these strategies home to use, not only in language programs, but so that we can be more effective in our daily lives and future community responsibilities. As someone who struggles with following a schedule, this is a particularly helpful skill for me to practise. I am already planning on replicating this color coding system when I return home to Canada for school in the fall.

On a side note, I discovered once I arrived that my half gloves are striped with every color from the WAYK team. I have dubbed them my WAYK gloves. It’s the best.

Erin's WAYK Gloves

Post authored by Erin.

Written by Evan Gardner