If you are debating whether or not to buy a personalized planner for the school year, this is your sign to DO IT! For the past three years I have designed my own school planner and it has been completely worth it! I have looked around at probably a dozen different companies and Plum Paper is by far my favorite. I love Plum Paper because they give you the freedom to customize their templates and make your planner exactly the way you want it. There are several things that I kept in mind as I was customizing and creating my planner, and you should too!
Make sure your planner is big enough!
I write ALL of my teaching plans inside my planner, so I intentionally got the 8.5”x11” size, so that I will have enough room. I also made sure that the lines will be big enough for my ridiculously large handwriting! (I can’t help it!!)
2. Provide extra space for primary subjects
In fourth grade, I teach every subject, which is a lot to keep track of! Math, Literacy, Science, Social Studies, SEL (Social Emotional Learning), and Health. Every day I have Literacy and Math blocks, which means that I will have over an hour of planning to do for both of those subjects. That being said, I need more space in my planner for those two subjects. As you can see in the picture previews of my planner, I provided double the amount of space for Literacy and Math. That way, my plans will not be squished for those subjects.
3. Put your subjects in rows & days of the week in columns
Back when I was originally searching for my first planner, I had a very hard time finding companies that would allow me to put the days of the week in columns and my subjects in horizontal rows across the page. In my opinion, this setup is ideal because it is easier to read. In this format, you can easily see what needs to be taught each day. It also makes lesson planning more streamlined as you can see what each day will entail. Take a look at my preview pictures to see my exact arrangement!
4. Add in a POSITIVITY section!
I have a section in my planner that is labeled “positivity.” In this section, I write down three things that I am thankful for at the end of each week. That way, I can end my week on a positive note and begin the next week with gratitude. This section of my planner ensures that I will find moments of gratitude and joy every week. If you try it, I bet you will love it too!
5. Use Add-ons!
When you create your planner, there are typically multiple “add ons” that you can add to your planner to make it work for you. For my planner, I added on teacher calendar stickers, which say things like, “Spring Break,” “Substitute,” “Field Trip,” or other common teacher calendar phrases. Last year, I added on “To-Do” pages at the end of my planner, so I could easily create to-do lists in the same place as my planning. I ended up not using the to-do lists as much as I had envisioned, so this year I didn’t add them on. The beauty of add-ons is that you get to choose what works best for you, and from year to year you will find which organization strategies and styles that you like best.
6. Make sure your planner fits your style!
When your planner fits your style, you naturally get very excited about writing in it! I love the colors, organization, and prints that Plum Paper has, but there are other companies that have cute, functional styles too. Choose prints, colors, and templates that make YOU happy, especially because you will have this planner for the entire school year!
If you design your own teacher planner, let me know by sending me a message over on Instagram @always.upper.elementary or tag me in your pictures! I would love to see what you create! :)
Also, make sure to follow me on Teachers Pay Teachers at this link! You will be the first to know about my sales, freebies, and newest products.