At various times during the year, my students write letters using unlined school stationery. Sometimes we type the letters and run the stationery through the printer for a totally professional product, but sometimes the letters need to be handwritten for a more personal touch. When students try to handwrite lines of text on an unlined piece of paper, the words start to move down the page (or up– or become a random zig zag pattern). By the third line of text, there is no attempt at straight lines any more, and the students are just trying to get all words onto the page before they run out of space.
I have a simple solution. In order to keep the words straight on the page, I use a trick I learned from the woman who helped me with my wedding invitations. Trace all of the lines on one piece of wide ruled notebook paper with a semi-heavy black marker.
Photocopy as many pages as you need. When students need to write straight lines on blank paper, place the photocopied lined paper underneath the unlined paper. As you press down to write, the lines are visible, so you have guidelines to keep your writing straight. My students have multiple opportunities to write on unlined paper throughout the year, so I keep the photocopied line pages and reuse them. We have an ongoing Author Letter Project, we write thank you notes to chaperones and hosts after field trips, and we have a project where students create their own letterhead and exchange personal letters with other classes in the school.
If addressing envelopes, cover the lines on a notecard with black pen and slide the notecard inside the envelope to create guidelines for writing an address neatly and evenly.
Sometimes, the envelope paper is thin enough that you do not need to make the notecard lines darker in order to see them through the front of the envelope. Hopefully, you can faintly see the notecard lines in the center of the envelope in the picture below.
This is one of my favorite teacher hacks that really improve the look of a finished writing assignment without creating too much work for me. And, this tip is not just for students. It is a great trick for anyone needing to write on unlined paper.
After completing a thorough search for the perfect holiday teacher gift, I finally selected this year’s sirsee for my children’s homeroom teachers. This is a big decision for me. I contribute to a group gift for the teachers, but I always want to add a little extra from our family. This year, I ordered personalized rubber stamps and will be giving the stamp along with some blank notecards.
There are several reasons a personalized stamp makes a good teacher gift. Teachers need to add their name to all kinds of items throughout the day. We write notes to a variety of people for hand delivery (even if it is just to the school office), and we need an identifier on it. You might think we could just use e-mail, but it is pretty difficult for a teacher to send and receive e-mails (or get to the computer) during the day and handwritten notes sent by “student post” often work better.
We have all kinds of classroom supplies that need to be labeled. Pretty much anything in my classroom is fair game for student hands. If I don’t stamp my name on it, there is a good chance it is walking out the door. My classroom library alone requires constant monitoring. Even if a student doesn’t walk away with my classroom supplies, I loan materials to other classrooms all the time. Without my name stamped all over, I would not get the materials back.
I considered several rubber stamp options, and I think all of them would make a great teacher gift any time of the year. I ended up choosing a Paperwink rubber stamp with a checkbox option. I personalized the stamps with my children’s teachers’ names and checkboxes for desk, class, and library. I received a proof within 24 hours of ordering. Delivery did take a full two weeks after approving the proof, so if you use Paperwink, order early– like today.
What teacher gifts are you considering this holiday season? If you need additional ideas, take a look at my Good Teacher Gifts Pinterest board. I also started a Crappy Teacher Gifts Pinterest board as a public service to parents. Pretty much any scented candle, lotion, or apple related item is out (in my opinion). Punny notes are bad too.
As a final note, holiday teacher gifts are not required, and we really do appreciate anything a student and/or student family might choose to give. But, there are definitely gift ideas that work better than others, and remember, a student can always write a thoughtful note that will be more meaningful than gift cards and chocolate.
I have been living in the South for awhile now, and calling cards are pretty much a requirement around here. These are the little cards that are business card size. They have your name and/or monogram on them and possibly a small motif or design too. Last year, I ordered calling cards for all of my nieces who are school aged. Has anyone else given these as gifts? What type of wording or design did you include?
Where to Find Them: All stationery stores sell a variety of these little cards. They are also available online. I have ordered a few through Finestationery, and I really like the calling cards by Fontaine Maury for adults and teens. If I am ordering super high end, I go for the good stuff at Crane.
What to Print: For young children, print the first and last name. For teens, you can print the name or a monogram. For my oldest niece, I had a babysitter business card made. The card included her name, the word babysitter, e-mail address, and phone number. For a mom with young kids, you can have the name, e-mail address, phone number, and phrase so and so’s mom printed on the card. Our Aunt B gave my son a set of cards that listed his name, monogram, and the word Spy when he was going through a secret agent phase.
Attach to birthday presents
Attach to hostess gifts
Give as baby gifts or christening gifts
Teens, distribute to moms for potential babysitting jobs
Moms, distribute at playgroups, the park, book clubs
Bloggers, distribute when people ask how to find your blog!