Careful now.

I saw this in a pile of forgotten masters while walking by the copier. It was love.

Check out the clear hierarchy. The single, legible font. The single style for emphasis. Margins tightly aligned. The second lines indenting just as they should. Spacing is evenly distributed. The kids know exactly where to look, where to go for their next question, and where to find important information.

I stood there, the clear design drawing me in, the world slowing to a crawl behind me. I took it, scanned it, and decided that, look, unless you know how to translate all these techniques from the handwritten page to the printed page, stand by your handwriting.

Computers make light work of worksheets for teachers, but whether they’re any good for students depends entirely on the skill of the designer.


Build Your Handouts

I'm Dan and this is my blog. I'm a former high school math teacher and current head of teaching at Desmos. He / him. More here.


  1. This makes me think a lot about the early years of my former career (civil engineering). When I entered the profession in 1988, about 90 percent of our plans were drawn by hand, by draftsmen and women on drafting boards using ink pens, etc. When I departed the profession ten years later, more than 90 percent of our plans were drawn using CAD (only very minimal stuff was drawn by hand, and those were usually just preliminary sketches that would later be redrawn using AutoCAD).

    With very similar parallels to your comments about the math notes (above), it was always quite obvious which of our technicians had worked in the “old days” by drafting by hand, and which technicians had only started their work after the CAD revolution. The old school draftsmen who made the transition to CAD were the ones whose drawings made sense, and communicated varying levels of importance via line weight, line type, and so on. Their drawings were well composed and worth saving. On the other hand, far too many folks who had only drawn using the computer drew plans where every single line had the same weight, details and callouts were squeezed into tiny places that should have never had notes squeezed into them.