The handwritten note…going old school in 2014!

Screenshot 2014-01-02 17.15.15In the fast paced day to day-ness of our world, it is easy to take the easy route of telling some one that they did a great job, or that you appreciate what they’ve done for your campus.

The words are always welcome.  However, there is nothing as powerful as tangible words on the page.  I’ve appreciated and saved emails, but inevitably they are deleted. (darn space constraints!) Compare that with handwritten notes.  I have kept almost all that I’ve received…from as far back as college! There is just something about the time and effort that it takes to write a note…just seems more thoughtful than a tweet or an email. It’s personal. It’s private, intended to be seem by you, the writer, and them, the receiver.

I know it may seem odd for someone with degree in technology who blogs on its impact in her life on  to encourage the writing of actual ink-on-paper notes…but truly, it makes a difference. It’s free. It’s valuable. It’s something I commit to doing more of in 2014!

Luckily, the genius of Melina Miller (@mmiler7571) even helped me figure how I can make it happen. When I was a teacher, I made a check list of all my students names and tracked the positive parent contact I made each semester. I mailed/sent home a minimum of 3 happy notes per child, per semester. The relationships that were built on that alone were priceless. It also guaranteed I didn’t forget someone or send too many “easy” notes. Keeping a checklist meant I kept it consistent.

At my previous campus, I used these to give shout outs, but never seemed to do it as consistently.

Screenshot 2014-01-02 16.57.06

Melinda uses self stick notes that I also scored at Walmart for a $1 (woot woot!). Perfectly sized for a genuine, happy, note of appreciation. The fact that they are techie themed is just happiness to my heart! But still, how could I guarantee I didn’t miss someone?


2014-01-02 16.18.29

Why change what had worked in the past? In my Erin Condren planner I made a checklist of all my teachers with the months left for the semester and will check them off each month. 2014-01-02 16.34.01The handwritten note in a world full of different ways to communicate may seem like a lost art. According to the U.S. Postal Service’s annual survey, the average home only received a personal letter once every seven weeks in 2010, down from once every two weeks in 1987. And The Wall Street Journal recently lamented the “lost art of the handwritten note.” As an added bonus, studies show that those who express gratitude also benefit by experiencing better health and sleep, less anxiety, and more life satisfaction. They benefit giver and receiver alike. And…to my pocket weary educators…they’re free! (Well, unless you need cuter notes…then they it’ll cost ya!)


Write on!



(This post was orginally published at Technically yours, Teamann.)


  1. Kris said:

    I know it’s not important whether it is in handwriting or printing, but I do believe this to be a valuable reason that we teach handwriting and penmanship in school. What a great blog post! Thanks!

    January 3, 2014
    • Thanks for reading & commenting! 🙂

      January 6, 2014
      • Barry said:

        Thank you so much for your post. With the fast pace of the school day and the microwave nature of our lives, taking a few moments to write a note would absolutely be a win-win. It would slow us down enough to reflect, and be appreciated by those being recognized. Thanks again for sharing.

        January 7, 2014
  2. Fabulous post, Amber! It seems as handwritten communication becomes more rare, it’s also becoming more meaningful!

    Here’s another way to keep track of who needs your attention: a deck of notecards. You can keep them in order, leave a note for whoever’s on top, and move their card to the bottom. You can also write the date on the card, so you’ll have a record of when you left a note.

    I think there are better mediums for constructive or negative feedback (e.g. face-to-face), but for encouragement, nothing beats handwritten notes! Great post.

    January 3, 2014
    • That’s a great strategy!! Thanks for reading & commenting!

      January 6, 2014
  3. You are so right – handwritten notes are so lovely to receive but also make you feel good in the sending!

    January 4, 2014
    • A win-win! 🙂 Thanks for reading & commenting!

      January 6, 2014
  4. Haidi Appel said:

    So true! I write at least one personal postcard to each student every year and MAIL it to their home. Each employee receives a birthday card to their home. Cards are sent for other reasons as well especially thank you notes. I joke that it is my goal to keep the US Post Office in business. Nothing beats the handwritten letter or note.

    January 5, 2014
    • That is so impressive, Haidi! Thank you for reading & sharing!

      January 6, 2014
  5. TJ Shay said:


    This is such a timely post! I was just discussing my favorite piece of software, Stationery Studio, with some friends and there was a concern that handwriting was going by the wayside. Your post was a breath of fresh air! My elementary school owns a site-license of this and it encourages kids to write by hand. Teachers use it too!

    Thanks for your post! I enjoy following you on Twitter.

    January 6, 2014
    • I’ll check that out! Thanks, TJ!

      January 6, 2014
  6. I enjoyed your blog about old school posts. I am a 36 year veteran of public education in a small rural district of Oklahoma. Whether the posts are on paper, via internet or merely making your presence felt at something you wouldn’t normally attend, kids notice and so do their parents. The fact that you make an effort tells those families how you feel about them and sometimes its not about school. Taking an interest in your kids outside of the school setting sends a very powerful message to them that you care. Nothings more old school in this modern day and age than face to face contact and correspondence with the kids that make your day worthwhile. It’s what I get up to do everyday. Kids are my “fix” for the day. I’m a kid junky! Have a blessed day!

    January 7, 2014
  7. I agree with you! Handwritten notes are always special because they are so personal. I still write handwritten thank you notes anytime I receive a gift. I did the same thing as a teacher (with notes to students and parents) and as a principal (with notes to teachers). In a class last semester in my doctoral program a professor challenged us to write personal notes to our staff members/ colleagues and I began to keep track of my notes in my current position. It is a great habit for leaders to cultivate!

    January 7, 2014
  8. murquhart said:

    Leading is about building relationships with people. What a great way to encourage relationships building on a staff then to recognize achievements and efforts with hand written notes. I know that throughout my teaching career I have kept cards and thank you notes I have received and I cherish those still. I think that taking that personal time to hand write an acknowledgment will translate into a staff who feels supported and encouraged to continue to maintain or improve their great efforts.

    January 8, 2014

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