Sunday, August 21, 2016

Orff Organization

I have had my Orff instruments labeled for many years, but students are often confused with the names. If I ask for alto xylophones to raise their hands, alto metallophones often raise their hands as well. They see the first word "alto" is the same and don't bother reading the second word. Kids are lazy! I am tired of correcting this mistake, so I made some new labels to help prevent confusion and to integrate some color theory! (I am also responsible for teaching visual art.)

I have created labels that are color-coded. All instruments with wooden bars are assigned a warm color (red, orange, yellow, or pink). All instruments with metal bars are assigned a cool color (blues, greens, and purples). Now, when asking for certain instruments or groups, I can call out a specific color or a color family. There are large labels that I placed on the front of the instruments and smaller labels that are on the edge of the instruments near the mallet holes.

I also created a chart to show our entire instrumentarium from highest to lowest pitch. You see the soprano metallophone and soprano xylophone posters side-by-side because they have the same range of pitches. The alto and bass xylophones and metallophones are also at the same levels. (We do not yet have a bass metallophone, but I put it on the chart anyway because I have high hopes to acquire one soon!) The posters feature a picture of the instrument, the type of bars it has, and the relative pitch level.

Before we move from the carpet to the instruments, I always review our procedures to keep the students and instruments safe. I also review proper playing technique. I decided to create posters of these rules to help our visual learners. There are 6 rules: 1) Step Around, 2) Lift With 2 Hands, 3) Aim For the Center, 4) Alternate, 5) Bounce Your Mallets, 6) Wait For the Teacher.

My students recognized the new labels and posters right away and they seem to be a great reference during class. If you think these labels will help your students as well, you may find them on my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

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