If there is one thing I love as much as Post-it notes, then it has to be envelopes. They are I feel, a seriously underrated teaching device! So, here are my top five reasons why we as teachers should worship (or at the very least use on a regular basis) the humble envelope:
1) Envelopes are a ready made way to make any lesson seem far more exciting than it really is! Put them on desks and you can be guaranteed interest, students will be literally desperate to open them and therefore by default already have a vested interest in whatever challenge is lurking inside. Packaging matters to students just like it does to us. Imagine going into your classroom to find a brightly coloured envelope on your desk. What would you want to do?
2) They are a perfect way of disguising your differentiation. Using colour coded envelopes means that you can ‘randomly’ assign tasks whilst in reality knowing exactly which students you are giving them to. Students feel like there is a variety of work being given out and therefore do not feel signalled out or different because of the task they have been given.
3) Chopping the top off them means that they can be made into fantastic pockets to stick into students’ books and filled with exciting notes, revision tips, targets etc. All of which are infinitely more exciting (and therefore more likely to be read) than a simple piece of paper stuck into a book.
4) They are a great way to make sure your carefully made resources stay firmly together. I love them for enticing students who profess not to like poetry to engage with it. Chop up lines of the poem (laminate), and put inside your envelope. Hand them out their envelopes and challenge them to rearrange in a way that makes sense.
5) Last but not least; they are an essential communication tool! There are some things in my room that we don’t reveal until the last minute. A cancelled swimming trip for instance causes a domino effect of meltdowns. So the parents are informed of the date in a sealed envelope, students know there is a trip planned for some point in the week, if there’s a problem with the pool – all can be resolved without any upset. Some secrets are best kept!
So there you have it, the perfect excuse to embark on a bit of stationery shopping over the holidays. I mean, come on, what more excuse do you need? They are practically essential…