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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Teacher Tuesday: color coding (part 3)- instrument edition

Time for Teacher Tuesday, and we're back on the topic of color coding! Will the marvels of color coding never cease?!? Methinks not. Color-coding has made all of the transitions between activities and in and out of class so much easier for my students and I this year. If you haven't already, take a look at the other posts on color-coding to see how I use color-coding to group and seat students, as well as manage behavior:

Now that the school year is in full swing, we are using more and more instruments in class. The 4th-6th graders especially are doing a lot of ensemble and composition work with Orff barred instruments and percussion. To avoid confusion and arguing over who gets what instrument (and to help me make sure I am spreading the love by giving different students opportunities in each instrument throughout the year), I have color-coded many of the instruments as well! Some of the instruments were pre-colored:

*Sigh*. Aren't they beautiful? I got these djembes last year through DonorsChoose. The students LOVE having these drums and the colors make them even more special. I don't actually have a pink group, but in some classes I have 4 students in a few of the groups (and I have 3 sets at the moment) so I use the pink ones as "extras". To be honest it didn't even occur to me until the first time I pulled them out, and the students asked me if they would be using the ones for their team color. Why yes, yes of course!! ;) I'm so glad my students understand me so well :)

The xylophones have always been the biggest headache to assign. I used washi tape to label each instrument so that each team has 1 soprano and 1 alto xylophone on which they have "dibs". I have 2 "spares" in each of those sizes that I use for groups with more students etc. It has cut down tremendously on the time I spend figuring out who should play what, and has virtually eliminated the arguments over which one is for whom.

Although I am blessed with a nice set of xylophones, I have about half as many glockenspiels. Since I don't have enough for each team to have 1, I put 2 colors on each one- one on each end of the instrument. It was a little confusing for students at first but after 1 or 2 classes they all figured it out. I try to make sure it's not always the same team using soprano vs. alto glockenspiel, but I don't worry too much about that.

I also labeled the mallets with matching washi tape so that when a stray mallet goes rolling across the floor (not that that ever happens... cough) I know who is missing one, and it prevents them from getting off-task trying to switch mallets (not that that ever happens either... why do they even do this? It makes no sense to me). I got the idea for that from this link on Pinterest:

Washi tape to color code mallets with Orff instruments. Also helps students know where to put their fingers on the mallets!

Color-coding strikes again for organization, justice, and peace throughout the land! Have you tried labeling your instruments in color groups or another organizational system? Tell me about it in the comments!

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