Monthly Archives: October 2014

How I use the Erin Condren Teacher Planner in Middle School



How I use the Erin Condren Planner in Middle School-180 Days to HappyWow…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!

Erin Condren Teacher Planner

Erin Condren Teacher Planner

Erin Condren Teacher Planner

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!!

Erin Condren Teacher Planner

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….

Erin Condren Teacher Planner

Week 1: My trial week

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….

Erin Condren Teacher Planner

Week 3: I got it!!!

Erin Condren Teacher Planner

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!!!

Erin Condren Teacher Planner


Erin Condren Teacher Planner

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?

Erin Condren Teacher Planner

Holidays & Dates to Remember- Helpful for planning breaks and long-term planning

Erin Condren Teacher Planner

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.

Erin Condren Teacher Planner

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?

Erin Condren Teacher Planner

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?

Erin Condren Teacher Planner Erin Condren Teacher Planner

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!!!

Appreciate-October-Growth-Area.pdf (1806 downloads)

How do you re-purpose pages in your teacher planner? Any other middle school teacher’s using the TP and/or LP?

Sunday Scoop: October 5

Sunday Scoop Button

I was doing my usual morning peruse of Instagram and stumbled across another teacher who mentioned the Sunday Scoop Linky Party. I have never seen it,but the graphic and premise was enough to get me blogging this lazy Sunday morning…so here’ the scoop on my week!

Sunday Scoop 10-5




October Currently

I am Linking up for Farley, of Oh Boy 4th Grade’s enormously successful link up of  October Currently! I hope you enjoy reading mine, and others as much as I do!



I can’t believe it’s October!!! Now, I’m not a fan of Halloween but I do enjoy the decorations and admiring everyone else’s love of 10/31…I guess I just enjoy festivies? I thought it would be fun to finally jump on this fun bandwagon and share what I’m currently up to, so here’s my Currently: October!

Listening: I have come to find that mornings are my FAVORITE time of the day. It’s like the calm before the storm and the time when our thoughts are the most clear. In fact, I wrote a post with 5 tips to getting the most out of your day and there’s a strong emphasis on making your morning work for YOU! Enjoying the quiet is also somewhat of a momentarily thrill for a mom and teacher, so I have learned to embrace every moment I can!

Loving: Interestingly enough, in the Metro Atlanta area many schools go on a “balanced calendar”. This calendar gives us substantial breaks during the school year and it’s usually right around the time you’re ready to give up take a vacation. Our first one is Fall Break, in October and this is a whole week!!! Some people, namely parents, think it’s silly and unnecessary but honestly I don’t know how I ever worked from September through December!!!! Cheers to our Fall Break 🙂

Thinking: Earlier in the year I shared pictures of my classroom and I mentioned I’d be moving…well it’s happening! While I’m excited to get into a smaller (imagine that) and newer classroom (yay to a mounted projector), I’m reallllyyyyyy nervous about computer connectivity and having everything ready for our first day back from break. I can’t believe I even thought this, but I’m really thinking I’ll have to go to school at least one day over the break to make sure I’m prepared. How fun does that sound?

Thinking: I don’t know too many people who wouldn’t like a vacation? I’m so ready for a weekend or maybe just a day away. I had planned to attend a wedding in the Dominican Republic in May, but that was recently postponed so now I’m trying to think of places to visit in the spring…or sooner! Ideas?

Needing: Yeah…that one’s pretty self-explanatory. I know I have super powers, but I don’t think blogging and getting dressed can happen simultaneously.


Trick or Treat: Since I don’t have  TPT store, I didn’t think I had a treat to give away, but I do!!!! I’ll call it a trick and a treat. Here at 180 Days to Happy, we encourage you to grow in a certain area monthly. This month’s area is Appreciate! In my classroom, a trick for classroom management is to really tell my student’s I appreciate them! This little token of appreciation could be a pat on the back, kudos for a job well done, or maybe to be my “assistant” for the day! I think people misjudge middle school students as grown ups, but really they love all the things elementary students do…with a twist!


Here’s my treat!!!! Download this month’s organizer and join our journey on 180 Days to Happy  Appreciate-October-Growth-Area.pdf (1806 downloads) . ENJOY!!!

Appreciate: October Growth Area


WOW!!!! Time flies!!!! We are now moving into month 3 and I hope you’re enjoying and growing as much as I am!!!!! It’s October, which means it’s time for a brand new growth area. Just in case you’re new to 180 Days to Happy, let’s talk about how this  process works.

When we began this journey, I talked about what 180 Days to Happy is. I explained how important it is to set goals, how important self-reflection is, and I even told you how to get organized and gave you $10 to get started so you can continue to progress! Now let’s review how it  ties together and rediscover how  this site will support you as we move through the next month of  180 Days to Happy!

First, Decide what your Personal Truths are. Be honest with yourself and tell your truths. For me, I think of this as my personal 10 Commandments. I won’t list them all, but some of mine are

  1. Give more than you take.
  2. Don’t second guess yourself.
  3. Take a step toward the goal, big or small.

See how that works, these are things that no matter what, I will aim to do through my actions and words. Nothing too lengthy, but I know that these are the things I will continue to live by. This is an exercise in just writing things down and believing in yourself. Don’t second-guess yourself when developing your personal truths, just do it!

Next, pick a growth area. This won’t be hard because we’ll do that for you! Each month we will focus on one area of our life that we will work on in order to build our happiness on solid ground. Our first month’s area is Organize. This may mean anything to you, but it’s about setting things in order!

Thirdly, set goals. Perhaps it’s your classroom as you enter this upcoming year, beginning this school year with a new system of doing things, or maybe it’s something at home that you’ve been meaning to get to but just keep putting it off. Set a goal and write it down. In fact, I admonish you to pick three goals and make them something that will truly begin your day in a more organized way!

Lastly, reflect. As we move through each month, you’ll need to stop and really think about the progress you’re making. Had a bad week? It’s ok!!! Stop, reflect and make a plan! We, as a group, will be here to support each other and make it a supportive act as we reflect and redirect our energy.

This month’s growth area printable is a collaboration between Suzanne of  Create, Educate, Inspire and 180 Days to Happy. As we focus on Appreciation, I encourage you to think beyond the thank you’s and really dig deep to encourage a continuum of growth and appreciation. Don’t forget, this is a process!!! Although we give you the tools, this is your individual journey, so use your teacher skills and differentiate, accelerate, and use various depth of knowledge procedures to increase your growth.  Get  started by downloading our monthly growth area printable  below,  print, and get started!!!! I’ll be back to share my My Action Plan, but review September  and August for ideas!!! Congrats and welcome to Appreciate:October Growth Area!

Appreciate-October-Growth-Area.pdf (1806 downloads)