I’ve searched all over looking for the perfect Planning Notebook, or Teacher Planning Binder, until I finally decided to create my own. I found a few blog posts from Pinterest that had free files that I was able to download and manipulate for my use. I’ll provide those links. I also created a few of my own templates and I’ll be providing those as well.
I tinkered with the idea of laminating all my pages in my Teacher Planning Binder before deciding to print my lessons on sticky notes. I have included the tutorial here and I also provided free templates to make it easy on you to create your own. I live in West Virginia, and over the winter, school is cancelled, on a two-hour delay and or released two-to-three hours early. I became very frustrated my first year of teaching because I was unable to finish all of my planned lessons and it became quite a burden trying to keep up with what I had taught to which classes. Therefore, the idea of printing my lessons on sticky notes was born, so I can easily move them around on my calendar and keep up with where I left off.
I started by creating a weekly planning guide for the entire semester. I’ve been teaching the same relative information for two years now so I have a good idea of what I need to teach and when I need to teach it. By no means am I a veteran teacher but I’ve found this method to be the most effective for me. What I love most about this binder set up, is how easy it is to make changes or additions. I suggest saving all of your files to your computer so you can easily just delete and add as necessary and then print and go.
I knew how I wanted to break up my lessons for each day, so I made a list and then printed them on sticky notes. To do this, simply subscribe to my blog to receive this free template and go ahead and visit my earlier post here.
You can edit it in Word and add graphics if you choose. First, print a blank template. Second, edit the template with your lessons. Third, place blank sticky notes in line with the first template your printed. Finally, place the template (with sticky notes) in your printer and print. HINT: Ensure you place the paper backwards so that when the printer feeds the sticky notes through, they won’t peel up. Now you’re all ready to insert your sticky notes into your designated calendar! YAY!!
Now that you have your lessons printed on sticky notes, you need to stick them somewhere. Choose from any calendar layout, but this is the one (by Cathy and Jill at The Curriculum Corner) I originally chose and what you see pictured in the second photo. I also created one for myself.
Just subscribe to my blog to receive the entire Teacher Planning Book Printables for free for a limited time! I really like these calendar options because they go by week AND they provide room for notes on each day. You can adjust this by classes or by grades if you’re a secondary teacher. I teach six educational groups every day so I like to have easy access to leave notes and make quick changes depending on how quickly and efficiently each class is picking up on the material. I also leave reflection notes for myself, so that when I’m planning the next year, I can look back at each lesson and remember if it was effective or if there were any problems.
You probably noticed in my earlier photo that I have two pages of folded paper in between my two weeks showing. I have a To Do List and Notes sheet folded inside every two weeks.You can find these free printables here on Teachers Pay Teachers (StudentSavy has several awesome products). I made a few for you To-Do lists for you to choose from as well.
I fold them over so I can still quickly view my two-week lesson plan but I like that they’re easily accessible. I use my To Do List to make notes of what copies I need to make, any parent phone calls I need to make, or anything I need to look up before class. I originally tried to laminate my To Do List but I kind of enjoy leaving my lists for the next year, so that I can reflect over the summer to determine if there’s an easier way to plan better, especially if I often ran into problems making copies. For any of you working in a school system that only allots a certain number of copies per semester, this is a good place to document WHEN you ran out of copies. That way you can decide if there are any printables you can place on the whiteboard or email instead of print out.
After my weekly lesson plans, I use a divider and have all of my Planning Extras. For my class, this includes my weekly Writing Lessons, which I explain in this post, and my weekly vocabulary words and tests.
I print 3 letters to my students on one piece of paper and then cut them before handing them out on class in order to save on paper. I usually put my vocabulary words on the board on Monday and have the students copy them down, along with their definitions. If you notice, I chose words that are commonly found in the directions section of most standardized tests. I’ve discovered that many students fail to answer questions correctly simply because they don’t know what the question is asking and this help eliminate some of the confusion. If you’d like a copy of the words or tests, just email me and I’ll send them to you. I usually complete 8 weeks worth of vocabulary tests per semester. Also notice that I switch up the way I ask the questions so that my students learn to answer different question types. \
In the last section of my planning binder, I have my seating chart, which I discussed how I create mine by printing photos on sticky notes in this post, and the few items that I print out for each student at the beginning of each semester. At my school, our students spend time on PLATO lab so I created a sheet that allows them to keep track of their own progress. This tracker is maintained by each student and when they complete a section, they color it in according to the color-code listed at the bottom. I like to keep track of when they complete each section so that if a parent inquires about their child or wants to know why their child seems to be struggling, I can quickly pull out these trackers and many times, their lack of effort is a good indication of why they’re struggling in class. It’s a very useful accountability tool!
I also include a copy of my editing marks for each student, so that when I return written assignments, they understand what mistakes they made and how to fix them. I only provide my students one copy for the semester and even though they quickly memorize the symbols, most of them are able to keep up with these sheets for the entire year. If you don’t like this version, you can easily find different layouts on Pinterest or Google to meet your needs. I like this style because I have my students glue them into the Language Arts binders.
I have my assignment check sheets in the back as well. This sheet has made my life SOOO much easier. I have a zero tolerance policy on refusing to turn in work, either in class or homework. If a student doesn’t turn in their work, they must complete a Pink Slip. They have three days to turn in the work (with points deducted of course) before I consider it a failure to submit work and I contact their parents. I’m ruthless with insisting on the students showing me some kind of effort. I may still have students fail, but at the end of the semester, we all know (including parents) what the problem was and the simple fix necessary to turn that F around. It’s a great accountability tool for myself, the student and the parents.
I have several other general forms to get you started on creating your very own teacher planning binder. I offer this 20 page editable packet FREE. All you need to do is subscribe with your email and you’ll be on your way to an organized teaching year (or semester) in no time.
Thanks for stopping by! Do you have any specific forms you just can’t live without? Let me know below in the comment section. I look forward to hearing from you.