Love Notes

“What do you do?”

“I’m a teacher”

Next comes the obligatory response “What do you teach?”

“I’m the art teacher!”

A light goes on, “Everyone LOVES the art teacher!”

A conversation almost always follows about their art teacher. The stories they feel compelled to share are funny, nostalgic and always memorable.  It’s true. We are the “special teachers.”

Beloved art teachers you know who you are. Your desk is filled with letters and drawings. You find an occasional note on your board a student has wrote confessing their love for art, and more importantly you. Kids pound on the school bus windows just to smile and wave to their art teacher. You are the beloved ones.

All this love has it’s problems though, mainly in the form of CLUTTER.

This outpouring of love created a huge paper problem for me.

I had notes on my doors, taped to my desk and stuck on the windows. This love fest was a mess! So one day, I decided to clean up the “clutter.” I buried the notes deep in the recycling bin and wouldn’t let the students empty it that day. I walked quickly through the hallways, head down, ignoring all the “can I help!” requests as I hurried outside. These innocent little love notes were quickly turning into contraband. As I threw them in the recycling I found myself thinking, “I’m sorry, this had to be done!”

I wish I knew another way to save years of these wonderful little gifts.

The solution to my problem became a big hit in my classroom. It’s called “Cards to Remember.”

Now, when a student proudly brings me a card or drawing, I read it and tell them how wonderful they are, and then direct them to the Cards to Remember book. They add their card or drawing to the binder. I leave the binder on display so other students can look through it. I have come to terms with the fact that I can’t hang every card on the wall, but I can make kids feel as important as they make me feel. This might seem like a small organizational detail, but it is these small caring gestures that make all the difference. Don’t you think?


This is my favorite note because I miss these students so much! This one should go on my mirror instead of in the book. We all could use a little pick me up some mornings!

What are some other ways you handle all the “Love Notes'” given to you by students?

Erica Stinziani

This article was written by former AOE writer and insightful elementary art teacher Erica Stinziani.


  • I think this is a great idea, especially for elementary when you see so many students each week! I teach middle school and in the past after the year is over I take down all my notes and drawings and put them in my yearbook.  I love the binder idea though because other students can look through them! Thanks for sharing!

  • Kstroberg

    That is a great idea!  I will be using that in the fall.

    • I plan to do this in the fall as well! Erica, I have done EXACTLY what you have, buried pictures in the recycling bin under other junk, hoping the kid or their friend doesn’t rifle through the next day and find it. How do you know me so well?

  • Kerakovi

    That was me just last Friday, pushing notes deep into the recycle bin….I will use this tip next year. Thanks!

    • Linda Evans

      Yew! If I don’t want to keep it I take it home to recycle it. I’d hate to have a “special” something someone gave me blowing around the school yard. I’ve lived next to schools my whole life and the garbage does not always stay in the bins until collected.

  • What a great idea!  I was just having this conversation with another art teacher.  I received a lot more notes/art when I taught elementary than I do now that I teach middle school.  However, I’m going to have my own binder for those notes that I do get.  Thanks for sharing!

  • I will be doing this also! I have taught long enough that some of my students are graduating, so I will sometimes pull out drawings they have made and give them to their parents as a reminder of how far they have come. 

  • Oh I love this idea! I too, am guilty at the end of the year of shoving some things that have been hanging in my room all year way,way down in my recycling so my kiddos don’t see them! I feel soo guilty but I can’t possibly save everything! This is a great option! Thanks for all the great ideas and suggestions you share with us!

  • Kmason

    Thanks for the binder idea, I feel very guilty each time I recycle the drawings. This is an idea that I am using next year!

  • Jacel Elizabeth

    Last year, my first year teaching and wanted to savior it.  I had a similar idea. I had four to five sheet protectors hanging on the wall by desk. I let the student know that I would they would change. As student had me notes, and drawing I place them in the protectors. Once it got “full” place into a binder and new sheet go up. So at the end of the year I had a whole collection of them in a binder. Love the idea of keeping out the folder for student to look through it.

  • Mary Lind

    I love this idea!  Looks like we all have guilt over throwing away those notes.  I actually have one note framed and hung on my wall (I tell people it’s my best accolade ever).  Written by a 2nd grader about 20 years ago:  “Dear Mrs. Lind, You are the BEAST Art thear in the Wood!”

  • Anu Ramachandran

    Love the idea. i am going to use it. I have taken photos of my love notes in the past. Might think about adding them to the binder …Thank you

  • pattismusicclass

    Thank you for this wonderful idea! I now have a binder by my desk. It’s very hard to throw away things that come from the heart!

  • Jess

    I have them in a binder too. I keep a bulletin board for them and when the years over I move them to the binder. I have two that made it home to my fridge. One says “mrs Robinson the great’ with a drawing of an artist at the easel. And the other (my favorite) says ” Mrs Robinson queen of the world” hahahaha. Kids are great!

    I might have to do this binder idea though. Maybe with some empty page protectors to slip them in so nothing is ripped!

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  • Christina Young Law

    I teach Prek. You could only guess the amount of love notes and pictures we get daily! I am so doing this!!!