By: Donna Giachetti
I have a confession: I love stationery products. Post-It® notes, paper clips, three-ring binders, hanging file folders… and oak tag in every color of the rainbow. (Do they still call it “oak tag” or am I out of touch with today’s paper terminology?)
When I came to Educational Innovations, I was thrilled to learn that our Educator-in-Chief, Tami O’Connor, is also a hardcore stationery devotee. She told me that her husband—a wise man—quickly learned that the best way to her heart is via color-coordinated pens, binder clips, and memo pads.
Tami told me a story of her days as a middle school science teacher that always stuck with me. Every year, in anticipation of the traditional Meet the Teacher night at school, Tami would make up a list of things that she wished she could get for her classroom. (And no, her science supplies list didn’t include stationery!)
She would write down each item on its own sticky note. If she had a coupon for the item, she’d staple that to the note, too. And when possible, she’d print out photos of a few of the experiments her students could carry out with some of her wishes. (After all, a picture is worth a thousand words, right?)
We’re talking about very simple, inexpensive supplies that she knew would make it easier for her to conduct more hands-on labs with her students, without worrying about emptying out her classroom (or home) budget.
♦ D-cell batteries
♦ Plastic egg cartons
♦ Elmer’s glue (large bottle)
♦ Potting soil
♦ Cotton balls
♦ Hand sanitizing gel
♦ Colored pencils
♦ Plastic sandwich bags
♦ A box of Borax (sodium borate)
♦ 100 wooden popsicle craft sticks
♦ Assorted balloons
♦ A gallon of white vinegar
♦ Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
♦ Antibacterial wipes
♦ Window cleaning solution
♦ Disposable pipets
♦ Plastic spoons
♦ Bottles of food coloring
♦ Plastic magnifiers
♦ Clear plastic cups
And here comes the fun part!
On the afternoon before Meet the Teacher night, Tami would arrange the notes into a colorful “tree” on her classroom door. When parents came to visit her room, she would explain that each note represented an inexpensive component needed for future science projects. Parents willing to help would simply remove a note, buy the item(s) described, and send in their purchase back to school (with the note stuck to it) by the beginning of the following week. Any item left on the tree—and there were never many—would be purchased by Tami herself.
The result? Every year she was able to conduct even more special experiments and labs with her students. Truly a win-win situation for teachers and students alike.
Her creative idea got me thinking. Why not create a science supplies wish list for your classroom? (Or for that matter, for your family?) If the tree shape isn’t your thing, don’t worry. The web is filled with Sticky-Note-Art-Creation apps. Take a look at some of these beauties!
And my personal favorite:
If you’d like to make your own sticky note art, try this link: http://solutions.3m.com/wps/portal/3M/en_WW/Post_It/Global/Solutions/PixelArt/st/
And by the way… I couldn’t resist looking up the term “oak tag.” Results are mixed. If you’re over 50, you probably know what I’m talking about. If you’re younger, you might call it “poster board” or “tag board” (which I’d daresay are both incorrect, since oak tag is actually more like a thick card stock rather than an inflexible cardboard plank). Can we settle on “card stock” for now?