I started thinking about what I would want in a planner, and this is what I came up with.
* Weekly Calendars (With Lines! I cannot write in a straight line to save my life...)
* Flexibility to add more pages and move things around as I figure out what I really want/need
Really, when it comes down to it, all I want flexibility. I want to be able to change things when they aren't working. I'm tired of buying a planner and spending a year dreaming about when I get to buy a new planner because it just isn't working for me. My husband introduced me to the Arc Notebook System by Staples a couple of months ago. It's a discbound system that lets you rearrange your pages to your heart's content. You can add pages whenever you want and wherever you want. It gives me the flexibility of a three-ring binder without the annoying bulk of a binder. Plus, it lies completely flat!
I designed my own weekly spread back in May, and I've been using it to see what I *really* want in a planner. After using my own pages for a few days, I figured out what was working and wasn't working. I've redesigned my weekly spread pages, and I'll be blogging about those soon. Promise.
What I really want to blog about today is the "extras" I have made to go in my planner to keep me organized.
All of the pages in this post can be downloaded here. If you download the editable Publisher files, you'll need to also download these free fonts: HVD Comic Serif Pro and Ostrich Sans Heavy. The PDF files will preserve all of the fonts and formatting.
Address Book Pages - One thing that planning a wedding (and writing post-wedding thank you notes) taught me was that I need a better organizing system for my addresses.
Calculator Sign-Out Sheets - My school provides students with graphing calculators instead of making them purchase their own. This is largely because we are in a low socio-economic area where many families could not afford to purchase a graphing calculator for their students. I have a classroom set of calculators that serves us well. The problem arises when our students need a graphing calculator to take the ACT. In four years of teaching, I still haven't come up with a good system for tracking who has borrowed which calculator. Usually, I resort to writing calculator numbers down on post-it notes, but they can get buried in my messy desk and lost. If students seem me write down their calculator check-out in my book, they'll know that they must return it in a timely manner or I will track them down.
Birthdays - One thing I want to do a better job of this year is keeping track of birthdays. When someone takes the time to send you a birthday card, it just makes you feel special. I want to do that more this year. I overheard a student say a couple of weeks ago that only one person had wished her a happy birthday on her birthday. Her own parents hadn't even remembered her birthday. How sad is that! This was convicting to me because I only do an okay job of recognizing birthdays in my classroom. Usually the way I deal with birthdays is this: If you tell me it's your birthday, I'll give you a birthday badge sticker to wear. Sometimes, I'll even throw in a "Happy Birthday" certificate that I picked up at Dollar Tree. What about the students that are too shy to tell me it's there birthday? I need to make a plan to recognize all of my students on their birthday. I still remember my 7th grade math teacher: Mrs. Sellars. She gave each of us a pencil on our birthday. If students had a birthday that fell in the summer months, she gave them a pencil on their half-birthday. This year, I want to recognize all of my students (and coworkers) on their birthdays. To help me keep track of this, I made some birthday tracking sheets to keep in my planner.
I haven't tested these out yet (mainly because I've yet to print all of my planner pages and assemble them.) I'm thinking that the student birthdays sheet might be too small to fit all of my students. So, I might need to redesign it so it takes up 2 pages... If so, I'll share it as well!
Future Dates - I'm always running into the problem of having a date I want to put in my planner when my planner doesn't go that far. I decided that making a sheet to record dates for the next four years should help with this. Now, I have a place to record random dates I want to keep an eye on such as driver's license expirations, teacher registration expirations, and other random stuff.
Items Borrowed and Items Loaned - I perpetually have students coming to me to borrow stuff. After four years, students have learned that if you need scissors, glue, colored pencils, markers, rulers, or any crafty stuff that I'll probably have it. The problem is that these things have a tendency to not come back. I'd track down the student who borrowed it, but I often don't remember who that was. And, I often don't realize it never came back until a week or so later. This year, I'm going to keep a log of items that are borrowed so I can ensure that they are returned. Students won't be able to leave the the room with the borrowed item until it's logged in my book.
I also created a sheet for items that other people have loaned me. It's rare that I borrow something from someone, but it does happen.
Project Planner - Okay, I'm not entirely sure what I'm going to use this for. I might use it in the student council section of my notebook to help various events such as the Veterans Day Assembly or the Annual Blood Drive. I also play a large role in preparing for the Awards Assembly at the end of the year which involves lots of small to-do list items.
Tutoring Log - My school pays teachers to do after school tutoring, but there's one catch. We have to keep a log of our hours and the students we help in order to get paid. I often help students after school, but I'm terrible at keeping records. This means I rarely get any compensation for my time. This year, I am going to have a tutoring sign-in sheet for students to sign when they enter and exit my room. Then, I'll transfer the information (neatly) to my tutoring log.
To-Do Lists - I have designed half-sheet to-do lists for this next year. My thinking is that since they only take up half a sheet they can be inserted in the middle of my weekly spread. I've tried keeping my to-do items on my weekly spread, but that just ends up too messy. Plus, I usually have way more to-do items than space. This will allow me to change out the to-do list in the middle of the week if I need to. Of course, you can just print these, chop them in half, and use them as a normal to do list, too!