I am the type of teacher who uses recorders with my students throughout the year. Sometimes we use the recorders every lesson for several classes in a row; sometimes we don’t. Because I use my recorders in this way, asking the children to take them home and bring them back each class does not work well for me. Many teachers keep recorders in the classroom for a variety of reasons, and storing them in a hygienic and easily accessible way is a conundrum.
Each classroom and teaching situation is different, but this is how I make it work…
I had my school custodians save the cardboard paper towel roll centers from the paper towel machines. The tubes are shorter and sturdier than the tubes from grocery store paper towels. I purchased one of the Hefty brand plastic tubs from Target for each class and stuffed the containers with the tubes until they fit snugly. I labeled each bin by writing the class information on a 4×6 card and placing it at the front of the bin between the tubes and the plastic. (This makes it easy to change out for next year.) One recorder goes in each tube, mouthpiece up. The tubes keep the recorders from touching. When I stack the bins three high, they are the perfect height for the children to retrieve and return their recorders easily. The bins for the classes using recorders on that day go on the top of the stack. When class is over I leave the lid off of the bin until the next day so the recorders completely dry before closing the lid. This avoids the need for cleaning rods and cases, which have caused many a problem for me in the past, and saves time. The children just drop the recorder in the bin and return to their seats. In the morning I close the bins, and re-stack for the next set of classes. I keep their cases and cleaning rods in milk crates on top of cabinets in the hallway. At the end of the year, students who have purchased their own recorders may take them home or leave them with me in the bin for next year.
What methods for recorder storage have worked for you? Please share your method and explain why it works best for your teaching situation. We would love to see pictures of your recorders in the storage solutions you have contrived. Your idea may be just the thing that works for someone else!