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January 9, 2015

Happy New Year + Build Your Own Planner

Happy New Year! Better late than never, right? And I’m back with the coolest thing ever. Can’t find the perfect 2015 calendar at the office supply store? Well, build your OWN. Paper-based friends, there are a LOT of planners out there on the market. We’ve reviewed some here, here, here, and here. But even when they’re customizable, very, very few work just right for teachers.

Meet Hannah T., a teacher I met at a recent workshop for a teacher residency program in Boston. I caught sight of Hannah’s self-made planner on her table. Here she is putting it proudly on display:

Hannah + Planner - EditedI asked Hannah why she went to the trouble to create and bind her own Weekly Planner. She confessed,

I couldn’t find one that fit my needs exactly. My high school used to give us planners like this that were essentially just typed up and bound templates of the school day, so it made sense to me to just make my own.

Let’s take a gander inside, shall we?

Planner Large View - Edited
Click to enlarge

And here’s a close-up:

Planner Close-Up - EditedHannah decided on her format based on her past needs:

I like having it all bound together ahead of time because it makes it easier to think ahead gradually. When I know something has to happen during a prep next week or after school, I can put it in when I think of it!

A few things I love about Hannah’s self-designed planner:

1. Teacher-specific time increments — She breaks down the day by Class Periods, which often rule a teacher’s daily life. Typical planners chunk time into 30 or 60 minute increments, which simply don’t work when the bell rings at 11:37.

2. Personalized schedule — Hannah knows she always has teacher training on Fridays, so this is where she lists her program’s assignments and meetings.

3. Strategic use of Post-it Notes — Hannah’s got a solid use of a Post-it Note in effect. She uses one each day to track her students’ merits and demerits, and even keeps a running grocery list.

4. Room for the personal — She includes slots for AM and Evening to fit in the personal stuff.

5. Spread across two pages – The binding allows her planner to spread across two pages, which makes it easy to see a whole week in one uncrowded view.

Hannah also added an annual calendar at the front of her planner for reference. To save space, she put four months on each page, but in her reflections, she noted that it didn’t leave much room to write. Next year, she’ll include only two months per page to give herself a little more space.

Full Year - EditedHannah also wants to add a folder or sheet protector to deal with all the papers she’s inevitably handed in the hallway or wants to reference on-the-go.

Surprisingly, coil-binding at FedEx Office typically runs under 5 bucks! So if you can’t find what you want, maybe Hannah’s take-it-into-your-own-hands-approach is the way to go!

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