Recorder Karate Progress with Pipe Cleaners
I’m doing recorder karate with three grades and I ran out of space and ideas about how to show progress for all three grades. I normally try my best to create a visual display so that students can track their progress and show off to others how well they’re doing (see what I USUALLY do at this post)! But I was out of room and out of ideas. There’s one corner of my room where I teach recorder and project visuals/music/etc with my digital projector. I decided to try something new with the little bit of space I had left.
So, what I’m using to make this visual are just fun little fluffed out pipe cleaners that you can get at Hobby Lobby or Michael’s. I’ve stapled them to my bulletin board in the color order for recorder karate. I have these little velcro backed name cards for each student. When a kid earns their white belt they put their name up on the wall. When they earn their next belt they move their name up the progression to yellow and so on. I stapled the pipe cleaners to the board and then used colored paper images of recorders and song titles to cover up where the end of the pipe cleaner is stapled to the board/where two colors of pipe cleaner meet. I used two pipe cleaners for each teacher/each color in this grade so that I could then put student names on their respective spots and have enough room for each class.
Here’s what I like and what I DON’T LIKE! I like the color, I like how it fills the extra space round the projection area, and I love how the color is right next to the name of the song the kid needs to play to advance to a new belt. It’s been great to say “Go check the board and see what’s next.” However, this specific bulletin board isn’t good at holding staples. The pipe cleaners are forever coming off even when I double and triple staple their ends to the board. I’ve also tried stapling the pipe cleaners in the middle of the pipe cleaner to secure it better to the wall but that doesn’t work well because it bends the metal inside the core of the cleaner and makes it hard to staple. I think that if I bought the kind of pipe cleaner without metal in the middle it might work better and if I used a different bulletin board that might work better too. The student name cards stick to the pipe cleaners alright, but it’s not great. This isn’t quite as effective as sticking the name cards to felt rectangles (like I do in my other displays). The names keep falling off the pipe cleaners because I can’t push too hard to stick them on (because if I do the pipe cleaner comes unstapled and names fall off).
So, the verdict is… it looks cool but it’s not practical. I’m forever putting kids names back up on the wall. BUT, I still like how it looks. Next year I’m going to find a better way to put up kid names somewhere else in the room and keep this display (but sans kid names). I like that it shows the progression of color and the names of the songs. I think that I can leave the pipe cleaners and song titles up (and just not put kid names on it) and it would be a great border and reminder for kids. I’ll just have to find another place/way to display recorder progress. But I think I have some ideas for that…. Forever planning for new/now/next!