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Music Rug Brings Students Together at Buck Lake Elementary School

By: Amanda Karioth Thompson, COCA | February 14, 2018

King Solomon’s legendary flying carpet must have been a stunner. Made of gold and silk, it was fabled to be 60 miles long. Rumor has it, the entire court could hitch a ride. Though magic carpets feature prominently in ancient texts and folklore, Buck Lake Elementary School has their own, real-life version that is just as enchanting.

“I’ve been teaching for 25 years and I’ve always wanted a music rug. This is the first time I’ve been able to buy a rug for my class,” beamed Barbara Hartsfield, Buck Lake’s music teacher. Hartsfield recently applied for and received an Arts Education Grant from the Council on Culture & Arts. With the grant funds supplied by Kia of Tallahassee, she was able to purchase the rug of her dreams.

While it’s not made of gold or silk, it’s a definite improvement on what she was using. “I had a hand-me-down ABC style rug which was busy and smaller. It had nothing to do with music, it was just for kids to sit on. This music rug is actually something that I can use to teach.”

With brightly colored symbols printed in squares along the border, students are already learning from this new classroom fixture. They can easily identify whole, half and quarter notes and point to the symbols on the rug related to rhythm. There are even markings indicating dynamics or the relative loudness of music. When Hartsfield stands on one of the squares, the students correctly whisper “piano.” When she moves to another square, they yell out “fortississimo” in booming voices.

“The rug helps with both teaching and classroom management,” explained Hartsfield. “Each square has a symbol all the way around and those are the students’ assigned seats. If you let the kids sit by their best friend, they talk. If the kids are talking they’re not listening and they’re not learning. Assigned seats help to keep your lesson going. You have to keep the flow; you have to keep things moving.”

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