I am kinda funny about organization. Everything has a place, and a correct way to fit into that place. Trusting 8-year-olds to get out and put away instruments safely and neatly is REALLY hard for me. Enter the colored dots:
These marvelous little dots have made my life so much easier! Here's how it works: each mallet instrument has a colored dot on the side. (Soprano=blue, Alto=yellow, Bass=red, Glocks and specialty mallets=green) There is a dot of the same color on the mallets for those instruments. There is another dot on the shelf where that instrument is stored. The mallet cans are also color coded in the same way. Students know which mallets go with their instrument, which can to put them in, and where to put away the instrument at the end of class. I can see at a glance what is missing or misplaced and make adjustments as needed. I'm still tweaking the system for weaknesses, but so far I'm excited! No more setting up and taking down by myself! And yes, this is a great lesson for kids. They feel more responsible, and it shows in their class participation as well.
UPDATE: Love it! Everything has ended up back in the right place, and I didn't have to put everything away myself. This is HUGE, especially since my schedule this year does not allow time in between classes to rearrange everything. The older kids have to set up/take down during class time, and now I can relax and let them do it. Why didn't I do this sooner?