I spent the last ten years using the school-provided planner and grade book. You know the one I’m talking about. Ugly brownish-red cover, boring green grade sheets and please tell me who can plan anything in those tiny boxes? The colors alone are enough to get a girl down. I teach algebra. To special education students. I need some color and pretty things on my desk to get me through when the going gets rough!
Last year I ditched the school stuff. I found Teachers Pay Teachers several years ago but never thought to pretty up my planner. A few misses later, I found exactly what I was looking for.
April, of A Modern Teacher, creates and sells planners that are designed to fill any need a teacher could possibly have. Seriously, this woman has thought of everything. I counted 26 different patterns, each with over 600 pages that can be downloaded as PDFs or opened in PowerPoint and edited.
After much agonizing, I chose the Purple Paisley, because, well, Purple. And Paisley. Enough said. I chose several sections to include in my planner and then took at a look at her lesson planning pages. Be still my heart! Any combination I could dream up is there. Want the subjects on the top and the days on the side? You got it. More of a days on the top, subjects on the side kind of person? She’s got that too. Five classes? Fine. Eight? You bet, and everything in between. Here’s a peek at mine from last year. My school has a punch for the planners they hand out so it was a simple matter to print out what I wanted and hole punch it to fit in the planner.
I love the way this turned out. Everything I needed was in one place, keeping me organized and stylish. Go me! This year, I decided to ditch the ugly cover. Sure some teachers put stickers on it, or spell their name out in pretty puffy letters, but they fall off, or get caught on things and tear off. Too fussy for this girl. The Arc Notebook System by Staples caught my eye several months ago. It is a completely customizable system that uses discs to hold specially punched paper. The lines are clean, I can choose a pretty cover, and make it as big (or as small) as I want. But would it work? It would be an investment as I would need to buy the special whole punch to use it. Plus all the parts. The whole thing got pushed to the back of my mind until Sarah Carter blogged about it here and here. She has never steered me wrong before so I wandered over to Staples to look a little more closely. When I realized that my 30% off Staples Products coupon would work on the Arc system, I caved and bought everything I needed, including the hole punch. A Math=Love recommendation and a coupon? Well, that’s a done deal as far as I am concerned! I started printing out my planner and setting it up, but not before agonizing again. Did I want to keep the purple paisley? Or choose a different design? I get overwhelmed easily when presented with too many choices but I managed to narrow it down to just three. In the end, I decided the paisley was still my favorite so I kept it. Did I mention April includes free updates? There is a brand new calendar for the upcoming school year all fresh and ready to go. It really doesn’t get any better than this! She even gives video demos.
I spent the next week or so happily printing and organizing my new planner. I chose a clear Arc notebook cover to show off the pretty planner cover, and clear tabbed dividers to separate the sections. I bought regular 3-hole punched clear dividers and prepunched them with the Arc punch. Worked like a charm! I am in love, love, love with my new planner. Take a look and tell me if you agree!
These pages are all editable. We run on ten week quarters so I increased the number of columns so that I can fit five weeks on each page. Then I did the same thing for the Gradebook pages.
Prefer the days at the top? Need more subject areas? She has every arrangement you can think of included.
I found these great parent contact pages from Teaching with a Touch of Twang. Even better, they are a free download. Find them here. Interested in the Completed Call Logs sheet? That one’s mine and you can download it here. I assigned each class its own section and color to keep me organized. Word makes it easy to change the color of the table.
As a special education teacher, I touch base with my students regularly. It’s helpful to be able to glance at a page and see when they have study hall or lunch. I created this page too. You can get it here.
My sped department tracks students by class to help us organize them when midterm and finals roll around. Each teacher is asked to put all their IEP and 504 students on this form and send us a copy to file. Our old form was a mess, so two years ago I created a cleaner version with check boxes. It’s easy to fill out, and a great tool for teachers to ensure that students are getting their accommodations and modifications. You can download your own copy here. I also created a page to list all the students I have to test during the school year. If you are interested, it’s here.
Amazing, right?! Want to make your own planner as beautiful as mine? You can find her store here. The planners are all here. The Purple Paisley I fell in love with is here. Make sure you stop by her blog and show her some love.