Planning is critical for school teachers to organize their time, daily classroom responsibilities, tasks, duties, and important information. A teacher planner is essential to a teacher’s classroom management toolkit to help create a well-run classroom environment and keeps teachers motivated so they can inspire students.
However, a teacher planner is much more than a standard planner with a calendar to organize time efficiently, and they come in various formats to accommodate a teacher’s preference. School teachers can choose between traditional bound printed teacher planners, digital planners, and app-based teacher planners. Printable planners feature the traditional bound teacher planners you buy in the store or custom-printed teacher planners. However, some teachers prefer creating DIY teacher planners from printable pages and worksheets. Using a 3-ring binder instead of spiral-bound notebooks allows them more flexibility.
Although teacher planners feature sections, most teachers need to plan and organize their day based on the grade level they teach, classroom assignments, and personal preferences. This teacher planner organization tips guide is to help you organize, manage and select the best teacher planner that fits your needs, whether you are a high school teacher, teaching an elementary classroom or Kindergarten.
Key sections of a teacher planner
The perfect teacher lesson planner may vary from teacher to teacher. Still, there are key sections all teacher planners should have, whether a DIY teacher planner in a 3-ring binder or an Erin Condren teacher planner.
Primary teacher planner sections
The primary sections any teacher planner should have are:
- class list and birthdays
- class schedules
- a teacher lesson planner
- student information with parent contact information
- assessments and grading
- communication log
- passwords and logins
- medical information
- seating chart or graph pages
- substitute information
Additional teacher planner sections
In addition, advanced teacher planners sections could include:
- weekly planning pages, in addition to the daily schedule
- monthly calendars with the school year
- yearly calendar with important dates
- common Core standards for your state
- subject sections
- small group lesson plans
- individual student programs
- blank pages for notes and to-do lists
More sections for teacher binders
With a teacher planner binder, a teacher can add additional detailed daily and weekly schedules and classroom forms that printed teacher planners don’t contain.
- lesson planner with lesson plans
- grade book
- classroom forms
- track attendance and store class rosters
- pacing guides
- pockets to hold important information
- checklists and day-to-day to-do list
- curriculum map
- section to note classroom ideas
- guide to classroom management strategy
Some components may have too much information to fit everything you need. You can create a separate binder for these sections; you will then have a teacher planner binder, a lesson plans binder, a substitute binder, and a student data binder. Then add the lesson plans for an entire week to this teacher planner binder.
Creating a weekly/daily lesson plan
A crucial section in a teacher’s lesson planner is the section for daily and weekly lesson plans. If your planning schedule worked in the past, it is good to use it for planning next year, but here are some lesson planning organization tips to consider
Lesson planners help teachers stay organized.
The first step is to book weekly planning time for the next week’s lessons. A valuable organizational tip is not to leave your classroom on Friday after school before you’ve completed your lesson plans for the next week. Some teachers don’t mind planning the school day early in the morning, but for others, it could be too stressful, and they prefer being organized for the entire week.
Planning ahead allows teachers to think in advance, prepare materials, and gather resources needed for the coming week. Good time management gives teachers the scope to anticipate student needs and adapt accordingly. They can plan and expand lesson objectives and assessments to cover areas where students struggle. With good time management, there is enough time to review and refine lessons.
Align lesson plans with school district standards and curriculum
Organized lesson planners help teachers ensure they prepare lessons aligned with school and district standards and curriculum. Consistent with school standards, teachers teach meaningful content resulting in well-prepared students for standardized tests and future academic opportunities.
Tracking and planning assessments with teacher planners
Using teacher planners helps teachers create interesting and engaging ways to assess students throughout the year. A teacher can plan quizzes, projects, essays, and other tests for student assessments. By planning ahead, you can schedule the assessments considering the curriculum’s pacing guide and availability of resources.
Another obvious but important tip is to allocate sufficient time for grading and giving students feedback. The teacher planner helps track student progress by jotting down the date given, results, and the follow-up actions needed and scheduling meetings to follow up on individualized progress.
Color coding and note-taking teacher planner tips
Incorporating these color coding tips, note-taking techniques, and easy organization ideas will streamline the teacher’s work and save them time, so they can focus on providing high-quality instructions to their students. In addition, by staying organized and on track with the teacher planner, teachers have all the necessary teaching sources and information they need to teach their students.
Color coding tips for organizing content
Color coding and note-taking techniques are effective and fun ways to organize teacher planners. Using color coding is more than differentiating between sections; it makes the teacher a happy planner because everything is easily identified and organized.
Use different colors to categorize information like assignments, assessments, to-do lists, and deadlines. Highlight important information to draw your attention to things to do; you can also highlight completed tasks giving a sense of accomplishment, especially if the daily tasks list is long.
Stickers, sticky notes, and inspirational messages and quotes are great ways to personalize your teacher planner.
Note-taking techniques and tips
Including the date and time of each item in the teacher planner helps keep track of deadlines and schedules.
Abbreviations take up less space in your teacher planner, leaving room for more notes. Shorthand is a powerful tool for jotting down meeting notes or quick reminders. In addition, you can create your own shorthand version.
Cross-referencing makes it possible to connect related information. For example, use cross-referencing instead of wasting valuable time paging through the teacher’s lesson planner in search of the assignment corresponding to the assessment.
Regular reviews, updates, and adjustments ensure the teacher planner stays relevant and accurate for every week of school.
Easy use of technology in teacher planning
Technology is ultimately a valuable tool for teachers to simplify and streamline the planning and classroom organization process. Incorporating technologies into their daily and weekly planning helps teachers stay organized, improve their time management, and offer access to online teaching resources. In addition, technology is a powerful resource and teaching tool to help personalize learning, engage students, and provide data-driven feedback.
App-based digital teacher planners and software save teachers time and effort in creating and managing lesson plans, tracking assessments, and storing important data and resources.
Online grade books
Online grade books allow teachers to track student grades, provide feedback, and analyze performance. In addition, using digital tools saves time because they often provide instant feedback and calculate data faster than humans.
Online resource libraries and databases contain a wealth of information available to teachers and students. These education materials include lesson plans, classroom activities, and student assignments.
One of the most valuable classroom organization tips is incorporating education technology into the primary classroom. Interactive whiteboards, virtual field trips, and gamified learning activities are excellent educational technology to incorporate into lesson plans.
Data analysis tools
Data analysis tools help teachers gain insight into student performance and informal instructional decisions.
Smartphones and tablets are perfect for accessing teacher planning organization tips, tools, and resources on the go.
Best Practices for Teacher Planner Organization Tips
Determine what is most important and focus your time and attention on those tasks. Prioritize tasks based on their level of urgency, impact on students, and personal comfort.
Remember to book time – my time – for yourself each week, whether it’s a 15-minute classroom break, a few minutes before the class starts, or taking a quick walk.
Use a Systematic Approach
Adopt a consistent and organized approach to planning and record-keeping. Utilize a teacher planner or digital tool to keep track of schedules, lessons, assessments, and other important information.
Streamline with Technology
Use technology to streamline the planning process, such as apps and digital resources. Balance the use of technology with traditional methods to find the best approach for your needs.
Communicate with Parents and Colleagues
Regularly communicate with parents to keep them informed of student progress and needs. Seek support from colleagues and resources to stay organized and up-to-date.
Review and Adjust Regularly
Regularly review your plans and adjust as needed to ensure that you meet your goals. Seek feedback from students, colleagues, and other stakeholders to identify areas for improvement.
By following these beginner’s tips for teacher planner organization, you can ensure that you are effectively planning and organizing your teaching, leading to improved student outcomes and a more manageable workload.