Giving your students a student planner is a great way to ensure that they have the tools to learn how to plan, are equipped with key information about your school and important dates, and are supported with learning tools, objectives, and advice on how to deal with the myriad of stresses and problems that students face on a daily basis. Schools and teachers can spend huge amounts of time carefully considering what to include in the planners themselves, as well as how to present them to students – which is why it can be deflating to learn that many students view the planners as just another piece of homework, or, worse, don’t even bother to use them at all. Why does this happen? What can we do about it?
What is a planner?
…is a question that every student will ask themselves. The first time that a student is presented with a planner can be a critical moment! Perception of the planner, its purpose and how it is to be used is critical! Planners aren’t supposed to be there to monitor students, they’re supposed to be there to support them! Before we go on, it’s really important to consider what a couple of the key benefits of a school planner are:
Learning planning as a life skill.
As much as we might try to get away from it, the administrative minutiae of daily life is central to our routines, as well as how we perceive and measure progress in our lives. What do we need to do today, in order to be where we want tomorrow? Planning covers almost everything we do, from what time to wake up in order to get to work on time, to booking the car in for an MOT so we can get to the airport to go on the holiday we’ve planned! Trying to do anything with a hint of complexity? You’ll need a plan for that…
Lessening our memory burden.
People we might view as ‘disorganised’ or ‘scatter-brained’ often are struggling with being overloaded. Modern life (sadly) requires us to be aware of, thinking about and constantly considering a huge amount of things; from mental timetabling to to-do lists, with even those lists themselves often containing sub-lists that are prioritised in case we can’t get through them all. Our brains, as marvellous and fascinating as they are, are not good at trying to focus on many different things simultaneously. After all, if we could remember everything, we’d never need to write anything down!
“So, that’s all great, how do I convince them to use them?”
This is where perception comes in. On the day where the school planner is issued to students, think about adopting some of these strategies to make sure they get the most out of it!
Go through the planner, explain the different sections and how to use them.
Give examples of how to take notes effectively, how to timetable, how to plan!
Use a teacher planner yourself. Lead by example!
Incorporate the teacher planner into the basic admin of your school – such as recording awards, charting achievement and planning homework.
A well-thought-out planner will be more useful, and so will be better used! Learn about how you can create your perfect planner yourself by using mypenstripe, and how other schools have fared by looking through some of our testimonials.
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.