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January 31, 2013

Meet Michelle—and Her Arc Notebook

We’ve been teasing you for awhile now with references to the great Arc Notebook, and now it’s high time we go into detail.

Loyal blog followers have already met many teachers and their Flexy-Friends, Jocelyn and her binder, and Keith and his clipboard. But so far, we’ve neglected to shine a good spotlight on the Arc.

Given that the Arc is one of our favorite tools (though pricier than other options), the time has come to show off its stuff!

Meet Michelle H., a special education coordinator in Washington, DC. Michelle is in the process of shifting from paper-based to digital organization, and the Arc is proving to be the perfect transition tool for her. The Arc allows her to use a combination of electronic and paper-based tools—a necessity for those of us who work in schools and don’t always have ready access to our technology.

Let’s walk tab-by-tab through Michelle’s Arc.

  • The Cover. Michelle chose purple leather, a great combination of professional and fun!

Michelle's Arc 1

Now, let’s open it up. . .

  • Tab 1. Printed Daily Outlook calendar—a clean copy before the day begins and a well-loved one after it ends!

Michelle Arc 2

Michelle Arc 3

  • Tab 2—Upcoming To-Do List. Michelle keeps her short and long-term To-Do list combined in Microsoft OneNote.

Michelle Arc 4

  • Tab 3—Action Items. This is where Michelle puts Meeting Notes or anything else that’s hard copy that she needs to process later.
  • Tab 4—Regular Notebook Paper. Michelle uses this for classroom observations or other meeting notes.

Michelle Arc 5

 Tab 5—Reference documents in sheet protectors.  Here Michelle stores multiple copies of items she frequently uses, such as the school’s Code of Character, observation rubrics, and more.

Michelle Arc 6

Michelle, we so appreciate you sharing your ENTIRE system with us, particularly as you are in transition from paper to digital!

 Other reasons we like the Arc by Staples more than any other commercial planner:

  • You can customize it in all sorts of ways.
  • It’s sold at various price points. Go vinyl for about 12 bucks or upgrade to leather for a few more bucks.
  • It comes in a variety of sizes. We like the 8.5 X 11 version for easy printing of electronic tools.
  • You can add lots of neato accessories . . . pencil pouches, tabs, and folders!

 But there are a few challenges:

  • The specialized hole punch is not cheap. Forty dollars seems like a lot of money for a single-use device. However, the Arc is still way less expensive than its cousin over at Levenger, the Circa.
  • The Arc can become less than portable pretty quickly if you stuff it too full.

Together Teacher Discussion Question: Anyone else have an Arc they love? What’s in YOUR Arc?

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  • Kerrin

    I just purchased my first disc notebook (Martha Stewart). I LOVE it! I was always trying to make other plan books work for me, but I wanted to be able to build my own. The binding comb wasn’t a good option because I couldn’t easily add/remove pages. AHHH… What a game changer! I now can print out my digital plans and have a paper copy to write on. So awesome!

  • Kerrin – thanks for the recommendation. I can’t wait to check out this new system.

  • bel

    I’m considering the ARC as I’ve seen positive reviews. The one thing that is stopping me that I am unable to find sheet protectors but ended up finding this article. Where dis Michelle find hers or would you just “hole punch” regular ones? Thanks!

    • Hi Bel, Sorry for the delay. I wanted to confer with both Michelle and Staples. It appears Staples has pulled the sheet protectors off the market. We checked online and in their stores and we couldn’t find them anywhere. I’m doubtful the Arc hole punch would go through regular sheet protectors, but you could try. . . Big bummer. Maia

      • Curtis Kadow

        Hello! Was in a Staples today to pick up an Arc notebook and ta-da, they had sheet protectors!

    • Shannon

      I recently combined by plabook, gradebook and teacher binder into one Arc notebook and I love it! Can print out my lessons and my Google calendar etc. Love that things can be moved around and reorganized, especilly when I want to sync my handwritten weekly gradebook with my online gradebook. I just do the week’s data entry and print out a nice tidy copy from my online gradebook and file the handwritten copy in case I need to look at notes later.
      I was just researching the sheet protector issue and found this demo. Will try this weekend…looks like it might be the solution! 🙂

      http://www.paperboutiquewithlinda.com/2013/04/how-to-make-custom-sized-page.html?m=1

  • Mary Howard

    I’m an instructional coach that works in a digital environment. This year, I have class and PLC visits to do. I need to use paper/pen for notes since my iPad or MacBook is generally hooked to a projector during meetings.
    I found your site and love your calendar ideas. I just created some for my Disc notebook. It’s a Martha Stewart brand that I got at Staples. I am using regular sheet protectors and pocket dividers. My Arc brand punch works fine on them – one at a time. I did have to trim the left edge some before punching, so they wouldn’t be too wide for my notebook. I’m attaching pdfs of the things I created. Other than those, I also created a Project sheet. I keep it in a page protector and write on it with an Sanford pen that I can erase. Great for me! Might be of use to someone else, too! Feel free to use if they work for you –teachers are in it together!

    • Marcy

      I have punched regular sheet protectors and vinyl tabbed pockets for my levenger and Arc notebooks with the levenger punch. If the quality of the sheet protector is thin, I add a layer of scotch tape before I punch it. That seems to create the perfect thickness. I love it!

      • Marcy, That seems like a wise, and inexpensive, way to keep the system together! Thanks for sharing! MHM

  • Bobbi Mathias

    janesagenda.com has great pages, pre-printed and punched for ARC and Martha Stewart. Price is great, shipping is awesomely fast.

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