In a world of digital distractions, the importance of physical student planners cannot be overstated. They are instrumental in teaching organisational skills, promoting time management, recording progress and fostering academic success.
Planners serve as daily guides for students, providing them with the structure and support they need to excel. However, getting students to appreciate their importance can be a challenge. So, how do you encourage students to use a planner effectively?
In this guide, we’ll share seven practical strategies on how to improve students’ engagement with their planner, from choosing an eye-catching design to offering rewards for consistent use.
1. Explain the Benefits of a Student Planner
After handing out your planners, it’s important to communicate clearly and enthusiastically about the numerous benefits they offer. Spend time showing your students how their planners can ease their academic life by helping to manage their workload and keep track of assignments.
Explain that student planners are not just an administrative requirement, but a powerful tool for academic success. If you’re designing a personalised student planner, you could even include a custom section highlighting the advantages of proper organisation.
2. Encourage Engagement with an Eye-Catching Design
A planner that catches the eye will automatically draw students in. For best results, avoid plain, off-the-shelf designs and create your own custom student planner that uses captivating images, patterns and colours.
Bespoke student planners not only appeal to the students but can also be customised to reflect the school’s identity and ethos. With Penstripe, you can choose one of our own high-quality designs or incorporate your own artwork, logos and school colours. You can even add interactive features such as whiteboard covers, pen holders and wallets.
3. Include Useful Reference Materials
Student planners can be tailored to suit the unique requirements of your school, subjects and the age of your students. You have the option of adding bespoke pages with handy reference materials such as formula sheets, grammar tips, study guides and more.
The more relevant and helpful the planner is to the student, the more likely they are to use it. You can also create a sense of relevance and ownership by adding sections that students can fill in themselves, such as timetables, to-do lists and note pages.
4. Teach Students How to Use Their Planner Effectively
Don’t assume that everyone knows how to use a planner for students. If your pupils don’t understand how to get the most out of their planner, they won’t be inclined to use it. Dedicate some time to explaining:
- What each section of the diary is for
- Where to note down homework, activities and reminders
- How to find helpful reference materials
- How to use the study guide section, if included
- How to fill out their timetable clearly and correctly
As well as walking your students through the planner and providing practical examples, you could even have older students share their own personal methods and tips.
5. Incorporate the Planner into Daily Routines
As well as explaining how to use a student planner, you can also incorporate it into the students’ daily routine. For example, start or end each lesson with a few minutes dedicated to updating the planner with any homework or important dates. This will reinforce the importance of organisation and help your students get into the habit of using their planners consistently.
You should also review each student’s planner each week, checking that they are noting down and keeping up with assignments. This will not only remind students to use their planners, but also provide an opportunity to offer help to anyone who may be struggling with time management.
6. Implement Mandatory Parent Signatures
To ensure the student planner serves as a communication bridge between the school and home, consider implementing mandatory parent signatures. This requires parents to review and sign their child’s planner weekly, thereby encouraging students to keep their planners up-to-date and fostering parental involvement in their education. It will also help encourage a productive dialogue between parents and their children about academic responsibilities, priorities, and accomplishments.
7. Reward Students for Using Their Planner Consistently
Positive reinforcement can be a powerful motivator. Consider rewarding students who consistently use their planners, whether through praise, additional privileges, or small rewards. This can instil a positive association with planner use and motivate other students to use their planners regularly. Rewards could include:
- Verbal recognition and praise
- Small tangible rewards, such as stickers for primary school students
- Achievement postcards or certificates
- Celebration assemblies
- Points that can be exchanged for merit badges or prizes
- Additional privileges such as trips and activities
Such incentives not only celebrate students’ success but also create a positive, supportive environment that encourages ongoing planner use.
At Penstripe, we have years of experience in printing high-quality student planners, teacher planners and more. With a fantastic range of sizes, printing options and bespoke pages to choose from, we’ll work with you to create the perfect custom student planner (UK).
Get in touch with our helpful team to discuss your requirements and specifications. View our catalogue for a full breakdown of the options available, or request a sample pack to experience the quality of our planners for yourself.
Olaf Surtees has been with Penstripe for ten years; what he doesn’t know about teacher planners, student planners, and lesson planners isn’t worth knowing! He’s in charge of creating our blog content, helping teachers and administrators with helpful hints and tips, as well as our socials — see the links below to find out more.