I recently started my 3rd graders on recorders, and I'm trying out a new storage and organization system for the recorders this year that I think will make it much faster for students to find and grab their instruments at the beginning of class:
Of course, you can't be surprised at this point that my system revolves around my color-coded groups, right?!? I got the magazine holders at IKEA last summer and put some (you guessed it) duct tape to mark each color across the top. I have one set for each class, and I have put numbers on each case (with a silver fabric marker) that matches the numbers the student use in their own classrooms. I used to assign numbers to students in my own room based on my seating chart, but I quickly realized it was more important for them to remember their own number than for me to know which number was for which student. I do write down their numbers on my seating chart so I can remember it though.
With this system, the students only have 3-4 recorders to sift through in their color box, find their number, and take it to their seat. The magazine holders are the perfect size for holding the recorders too. They could easily hold up to 8 without having to cram them in I think but having smaller groups does make the process of finding individual recorders that much simpler.
If you've got recorders on the brain like me, you may want to check out my posts on organizing solutions for my recorder karate belts and recorder karate sheet music. You may also want to check out my recorder karate records sheets, which are a part of my complete music teacher organizer set.