Every teacher needs a good lesson planner to keep their classroom organized. Without one, it’s nearly impossible to keep everything organized and avoid letting important items fall through the cracks.
The good news is there are many different styles and choices available to fit every individual teacher’s needs and preferences. This does make it a bit harder to choose -- there are a lot of different products to wade through.
We are here to help cut the list down to save you time. We’ve selected four of our favorite brands that our teacher panel recommends as their favorite for keeping track of lesson plans. We’ve also included a guide for what features you should insist upon in your planner in case you want to go shopping offline.
Best Teacher Planners - Our Top 4
Erin Condren is well known among educators, so it should be no surprise we are recommending their planners as the Best Overall choice. You get the best of both worlds -- a sturdy planner strong enough to handle the day-to-day abuse all planners for teachers can get, along with enough customization options to make it your very own.
There are nearly 100 styles to choose from so you should find one to fit your personality or color taste. If you tire of your cover, don’t fret -- you can remove it and choose another. Way cool!
Erin Condren teacher planners come in both school year or full-year styles. There are also choices based on lesson blocks, extra pages to keep track of ALL the thoughts you need to during the day, seating charts -- I could go on and on but you need to see it for yourself.
bloom Planners might not be as well known as Erin Condren, but we have a few Friends of Fractus that encouraged us to include them in our roundup.
These educators use them and love them! The teacher planner ticks off all the boxes -- they have both monthly and weekly calendars. There are section tabs to easily find what you are looking for quickly. You’ll also find pockets and extra note pages to keep track of reminders, ideas -- whatever you need!
Most of these planners only include 7 lesson blocks per day. This is fine for many classrooms. If customization isn’t a huge issue for you, you should check out the styles available.
If you are just looking for a planner -- so you don’t need a grade or attendance book included -- this inexpensive choice maybe exactly what you are looking for. It has many of the features you’d expect from one of the best planners for teachers.
The Elan Lesson Planner comes in a pre-printed academic year format. That’s nice because it’s less work for you setting it up. You can get them in 6, 7 or 8 period formats. All of them include a weekly pages format -- the week stretches across 2 pages. We link to the 7-period one because it’s the one our advisers used and it also comes with a convenient pocket.
We have heard in the past there were some issues with quality-control but the company was quick to stand behind their product and respond accordingly. At this price point, custom service isn’t always a given.
This academic-year planner is built with teachers in mind. It comes with not only tabbed-months, but also weekly overviews to help keep you organized.
One feature that sets this planner apart as among the best is the three-year reference calendar to help you plan farther into the future. You’ll also find ample extras that are par for the course in a planner. Class birthdays and contacts, seating charts, class records and a pocket all come standard. These planner features are important to help you stay organized. It’s not all just about the teacher lesson plans!
Some people have complained about the thickness (or lack-thereof) of the paper used in this planner. Our one adviser said she didn’t notice. If that matters to you, you might want to look at one of the other choices.
Academic Planner Buying Guide
There isn’t a perfect lesson planner that will satisfy all the requirements of every teacher. There are certain elements that a teacher planner should have to be in consideration. We aren’t talking about person preference like color -- you’ll have to decide on the colors on your own.
Classroom Planner Size
It may seem unimportant until you start using it or need to carry it around. If it is too large, it may be cumbersome and won’t fit easily in the tote bag or briefcase. Too small and you can’t get the writing done in the allocated space. You need room for lesson plans for the whole school year. Tools with weekly pages will usually be a little bigger than others.
The quality of the cover, pages, and tabs must be able to withstand daily usage.
A plastic back cover keeps the outside of the teacher planner neat, but it has another purpose. If you don’t like making quick notes or to-do lists in your quality planner, then write on the plastic back cover. It’s easy to wipe clean after you’re done with the notes or have rewritten them in the appropriate place.
Alternatively, create a To-Do List section in the front of the teacher planner.
Labeled tabs make it easy to find the right section quickly and to turn to the appropriate page. Make sure the tabs will withstand prolonged usage.
Year Planner with Pockets
There’s always the odd pieces of paper or notes you want to keep with your favorite planner for teachers. Pockets or pouches on the inside of the front cover or pocket dividers keep these notes together and handy for when you need it.
Month and Year Planner Sections
It’s useful to have the year at a glance and have with a separate monthly calendar in the same teacher planner.
At the beginning of the year write important dates in the monthly calendars:
- Birthdays (Alternatively use stickers for the birthdays and stick it at the top of the calendar page)
- Public holidays
- Teacher instituted day
- Fire drill days
- Personal appointments
- Personal time
To keep the teacher planner tidy, use sticky notes for unconfirmed dates.
Teacher Essentials for Record Keeping
With all the record keeping teachers need to do, it is practical to have separate pages or sections for the each.
- An attendance register, with absentees, marked clearly.
- Separate grade section or included in the class roster page.
- Section for important dates (think: test dates) if you’re not using the year planner or monthly calendar for it.
- Pages to organize student information
- Parent Communication log. Jot down short notes about the telephonic conversation you had with a parent.
- Books and movies list recommended to you
- Ideas sections for practical things like lunch ideas
- Daily To-Do List for the morning and after school in preparation for the next day
Weekly Lesson Planner
The lesson planner section should have enough space for the objective, activities, and assessment for each lesson of the day. You need to have weekly planning pages to help with the week-to-week lesson planning.
To save time in rewriting the class schedules, create templates on labels of repetitive items like subjects and class periods. Then stick these in the appropriate places in the weekly lesson planner.
This list contains suggested items of what a good teacher planner should contain. Some items will be essential for the one teacher and not so important for another. Each teacher has their system; if your system works for you, then stick with it.
Planning is an essential part of being a good teacher. Most teachers spend about 2 hours per day planning. Therefore, an organized teacher planner will make planning so much easier for a teacher.