Organisation and planning is extremely important for teachers, but when you have a million and one things to do, it can be difficult. That’s why it’s vital that you have the right tools – and there is no better tool than the humble teacher planner.
Whether you’re a trainee teacher on a placement at a secondary school or a veteran teacher with decades of experience, a teacher planner is a tool you need in order to remain organised.
In this guide, we outline the top 5 ideas of what to include in a teacher planner so that you can successfully get through the academic year.
1. Time period planners
All teacher planners should include a variation of time period planners for the sake of flexibility. It’s important to have a daily planner in order to record activities, notes, reminders and lesson planning and at Penstripe, we provide planners that have allocation slots for up to 9 periods per day.
As well as having a daily planner that will help with day to day planning, another important type of planner is having a longer-term solution. Whether this be for the whole academic year or individual terms, having some sort of time period calendar is a must-have in a teacher planner.
2. Action planning section
Having an area in your planner that is designated for action planning, brainstorming, lesson planning and note-taking is crucial for keeping organised. A great way to highlight important notes is by using different bright and bold coloured pens that will grab your attention when flicking through your teacher planner.
It’s proven that writing your intentions and actions down helps with the execution of them, so having an action planning segment in a teacher planner will go some way in creating a better experience for students.
3. Area for Continuous Professional Development (CPD)
Keeping a section for Continuous Professional Development (CPD) in a teacher planner should be one of the priorities when looking for what to include. Ideas for CPD could consist of work shadowing, peer reviews and observations, mentoring and much more.
At Penstripe, we recognise the importance of CPD and personal training time and that’s why we’ve created a designated area for just that. Crafted by our expert team, we have ensured that our teacher planners help you become the best teacher you can be as well as having a positive effect on your class of students.
4. Class information
Have you ever had a medical situation arise in your classroom and been unsure of the student’s medical information? Or perhaps felt guilty about missing a pupil’s birthday? Say goodbye to those dilemmas and situations because once you include complete class information in a teacher planner, you’ll be ready with the details of your students.
Class information to include in a teacher planner:
Every parent’s contact information
Class list and their birthdays
Classroom seating chart
5. School mission statement and vision
School mission statements indicate the priorities and goals of a school community, and can have an incredible impact on student achievement. Keeping the school’s mission statement, vision and objectives in a section of your planner will help with motivation, guidance and clarity for teachers.
Implementing this idea into student planners will also produce similar results as well as giving confidence to the parents of students.
How can a teacher personalise their planner to suit their unique teaching style?
Teachers can personalise their planners by choosing a format and layout that works best for them, such as daily, weekly, or monthly views. They can also add sections specific to their needs, like reflection spaces or pages for tracking student progress. Customising the planner with stickers, colour coding, and tabs can make it more visually appealing and easier to navigate.
What are some additional sections that can be incorporated into a teacher planner to enhance organisation and planning?
Additional sections to consider include:
- Meeting notes
- To-do lists
- Curriculum mapping
- Assessment data tracking
- Professional development goals and records
- Parent communication logs
- Student intervention and support documentation
- School event and extracurricular activity planning
Can teacher planners be adapted for use in special education settings or for teachers with diverse student populations?
Yes, teacher planners can be adapted for special education settings and diverse student populations by including sections specific to individualised education plans (IEPs), behaviour management strategies, and accommodations or modifications for different learning needs. Teachers can also customise their planners to track progress toward individual student goals and document communication with support staff and parents.
How can a teacher planner assist in tracking student progress and assessment data?
A teacher planner can include sections or pages dedicated to tracking assessment data and student progress. Teachers can record grades, test scores, or other assessment results, as well as monitor individual student growth over time. These records can help inform future instruction, interventions, and support for students.
What strategies can teachers employ to make the most of their teacher planner and stay organised throughout the school year?
Some strategies include:
- Regularly updating the planner with important dates, deadlines, and tasks
- Using colour coding or symbols to categorise and prioritise tasks
- Designating time each week to review and update the planner
- Keeping the planner accessible and visible in the classroom or workspace
- Incorporating a consistent planning routine to maintain organisation
How can teachers effectively manage and balance their work-life responsibilities using a teacher planner?
Teachers can use their planner to set boundaries between work and personal life by allocating specific time slots for work tasks, personal activities, and self-care. By clearly outlining and scheduling work and personal commitments, teachers can ensure they maintain a healthy balance and avoid burnout.
Are there any digital or app-based alternatives to physical teacher planners, and what are the pros and cons of each?
Digital alternatives include apps and software like Google Calendar, Trello, and Microsoft Teams. Pros of digital planners include easy access across multiple devices, automatic syncing and updating, and easy collaboration with colleagues. Cons may include a lack of personalisation, potential technological issues, and the need for internet access.
How can teacher planners be utilised for collaboration and communication among teaching teams or departments?
Teacher planners can include sections for shared goals, resources, and strategies among teaching teams. They can also be used to record notes from team meetings, track collaborative projects, and document shared professional development opportunities. Digital planners can be especially useful for collaboration, as they allow for real-time updates and communication among team members.
What are some tips for using a teacher planner to plan and execute engaging, student-centred lessons?
- Mapping out lesson objectives and activities in advance
- Using the planner to brainstorm and organise ideas for differentiation and student choice
- Incorporating a variety of instructional strategies and resources
- Planning for assessments and student reflection opportunities
- Allocating time for regular review and adjustment of lesson plans based on student needs and progress
How often should a teacher update their planner and what are some best practices for maintaining its accuracy and usefulness?
Teachers should update their planner regularly, ideally on a daily or weekly basis. Best practices include setting aside dedicated time for planner updates, reviewing and adjusting plans as needed, and keeping the planner visible and easily accessible. It’s also helpful to establish a routine for checking off completed tasks and adding new ones, as well as reflecting on progress toward goals and making necessary adjustments. Consistent use and maintenance of the planner will ensure it remains accurate and useful throughout the school year.
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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.