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How do you set up your classroom? What can you tell me about how often you use instruments? What do you do to make them accessible? Thanks so much.

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I see every kid every day for 15 or 20 minutes and I have instrument day once a week. The first semester, I bring in instruments and let them see it and hear it, and sometimes I let them try it depending on what it is and how old they are. After Christmas, I have a lot of kid percussion instruments and I set them out. Younger kids such as PreK and K learn how to use them properly. I play music with a solid, steady beat and tell them to either play with the beat, or with the words/rhythm. I pause the music every minute or so and they pass, so they get to try different instruments. The 1st - 4th grades work on part independence with ostinatos. I teach them 2 or 3 different ostinatos and divide them by instrument or instrument type. If we have time after with 1st or 2nd grades, we go back to fun music. The students sit in chairs, so when they leave, the instrument goes under their chair for the next class. If I had longer classes, I’d let the students pick their instrument and put them away. I keep the instruments in boxes in a cabinet, so I pull them out and put them away, but my first class gets to choose their instrument out of the boxes and my last class puts the instruments back in the boxes.

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I am blessed with a big rectangle room. I have a numbered rug in front of the smartboard on one half, which leaves me the other half for Orff instruments, unpitched percussion stations, drum circles, folk dance set up, whatever! My first job was a closet sized room, so a rectangle feels fantastic. This year, I’m working on not having elaborately different set ups, so if I want to do Orff with the upper grades in the morning, they all do a similar lesson. That way I don’t have to switch pentatonic keys, move stuff around too much, etc. On days when I can’t avoid it, I just ask the kids for help moving stuff around. Rectangles are great, I will always wish for more space and storage, but it gives me lots of possibilities.

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