Wow…I’ve been meaning to write this post for awhile. I ordered an Erin Condren Life Planner over the summer in an effort to organize my life and shared how much I loved it. Well, it didn’t take long to begin seeing post where teachers bragged about how amazing the Teacher planner is. I am one of those people who has to “see for herself” and dived in to order one in mid-August. I got it and begin to play with it when we had just about a month ago with 3 weeks left in the quarter. I immediately liked it, but was nervous about if I’d actually “love” it as much as I’ve fallen in love with my life planner.
I am going to share LOTS of pictures here and document some of the features of the planner from a middle school teacher point of view so here’s some background. I teach 3 preps ( 6th, 7th, and 8th grade) on a block schedule (A/B) with approximately 90-100 students/day. With those details, you may now realize how important it is to have somewhere to plan and I needed to allow for some fluidity in my plans. I didn’t need anything that would be “solid” and I don’t work with anyone else in the building so pacing is on my own with a 9-week course, and 4-6 days of testing (pre & post). Lastly, I teach a connection, or specials, class so a LOT of things are done through my class which cause us to lose class time (hello pictures, assemblies, etc.). You ready for our journey of Middle School vs. Erin Condren Teacher Planner? Let’s go!
In my teacher planner, I use the monthly planner for all of the things that are pre-set for us such as meetings, testing dates, or days off. This is a nice place to have a good quick view of what’s going on. I set this up just so I don’t have to wonder what’s coming at me and I can use it as a reference when planning for the week. At first view, the two planners are VERY much alike…down to the color scheme! I was pretty happy with this because the colors seem to reflect the theme of the month (Christmas, Halloween, Valentines Day, etc.). Good for decorating and such, but even if you’re not much of a decorator it just breaks up the monotony of a calendar. Although there are more similarities, as a teacher is concerned…that’s when we get to the good stuff!!
Here my friend’s is the GOOD stuff!!! Your lesson plan area is laid out with seven columns and five rows. PLENTY of space for most teacher’s to write their plans. It is not numbered/dated, which gives you LOTS of flexibility for planning. For instance, I’m off this week and don’t need to have plans. In a dated planner, I’d have no choice but to waste a week of space, but I just dated for my next week of classes instead! I also like that there is space under the date for anything that may occur, a meeting, or for me I jot down whether it’s an A/B day…super block schedule friendly. I do find that the split of the pages, with the spiral in place, does give you a bit of a time when writing…but you win some you lose some. My first dilemna was how to divide these boxes up. I will say this is probably easy for Lower Grades teacher’s but if you’re a middle school teacher you probably feel me. I had a hard time at first, but decided to go for it….
Week 1, I decided to split my classes so that I had my to do list at the end of the day. I have afternoon planning, so in the scheme of things it was the most “logical” thing to do in my planner mind. However, that spiral RIGGGGHHHTTT in the middle of my 7th grade planning wasn’t working for me. Overall, I was liking it and even interjected some of my planner materials into the page…I just had to “cute” it up! The next week, I decided to try something different….and ended up with this….
By week 3, I think I found my groove! I pushed everything over so my to do’s were on the left-hand side and that eliminated the problem of the coil bothering and/or impeding my planning. I also like that I can see my to-do’s at first glance, because as a visual person with them on the right-hand side it was easy to lose sight of them and not get stuff done. Now, I’m constantly looking at the to-do’s and they might be a bit more likely to be completed. I do like using the thin washi tape to divide my courses simply because it gives me a definitive place to end when writing. You can also see you have PLENTY of pages for planning!!! Again, as a visual person it’s important for me to see things and not just in regular pen. I like colors, but it’s not color coded, to help me have focal points throughout the day. Also, I do use the stickers from the back of the planner…so let’s take a look at the FUN stuff!!!
Directly after your month view you get these pages. Two full pages for “what’s going on” and another for notes. I like this since it gives me some wiggle room to jot down notes in meetings, conferences I may attend, or even just something I don’t need to write in my plans but want to write down. I also think this is especially helpful for staff meetings and parent teacher conferences…or maybe even a call log?
Holidays & Dates to Remember- Helpful for planning breaks and long-term planning
Absentee Log- I take attendance electronically, so this is useless to me….and crazy to do with teaching 180-200 kids!
This page, I feel is most definitely geared to Lower Grades teachers or those with smaller classes to keep track of absences.
Graph Pages- Again, I don’t reallllyyy have a use for these but I can see where Lower Grades, Special Education teachers or those who continuously track data will find this useful to have close-by. I could also see it being used for a parent contact or even behavior tracker?
Stickers- It comes with 2 full sheets…Excuse my used spots, but I absolutely LOVE these stickers. It’s nice to have an easy way to drop in a meeting or something like that and I definitely like having these on my weekly view to remind me of the big things that I’ve placed on my Monthly view! Plus, you can never have too many stickers, right?
All the way to the back, you’ll find a nice pocket, page protector, and vinyl zippered pocket to keep things you may need. I’ve found that I stash my meeting handouts here and I place my favorite stickers and/or pens in the zippered pocket. The page protector is a nice touch to keep your class roll, school calendar, or maybe important numbers.
So, there you have it. A middle school teacher’s view point of the Erin Condren Teacher Planner. I do like…maybe even love…the planner! It’s suckered me into actually not minding planning!!! I will say that I think this planner is designed with the Elementary School teacehr in mind and it does take some creative planning and/or modifications to make it more useful for the middle school setting. I would imagine that over time, there will be different versions of the planner and I’d love to see the cover “theme” followed through the whole planner…sorry, I’m not a fan of owls. I do like the ability to customize the cover since it adds a sense of uniqueness and that can be hard to come by at times. For $52, I do think that it serves it’s purpose and even at that price I would HIGHLY reccommend it! Imagine the many ways you could use this for a business, a sales group, or even a 9-5 with multiple responsibilities! The possibilities are endless so head click the link for $10 off and grab your teacher planner today 🙂
Already have a planner? Download our monthly organizer and let’s set some goals for October!!!
How do you re-purpose pages in your teacher planner? Any other middle school teacher’s using the TP and/or LP?