Custom Teacher Planner!

This summer I was fortunate enough to get a position teaching at a local Catholic Co-op/School. It's a hybrid thing, similar to a University Model School, and more involved than your typical homeschool co-op even though technically all students are still homeschooled for legal purposes. However, we did get the distinction this year of having our report cards count as evidence of adequate progress for state homeschool documentation!

Anyway, I'll be teaching and my older kids will be attending, 3 days a week except some holidays. I'm super excited about it! But upon deciding to take the job I realized one HUGE (well, to me) problem...

I had already set up my homeschool planner with full-time homeschooling in mind. Eek! I had already marked out our off-weeks and scheduled science and everything. 

And there are no teacher planners out there for less than $40 that I like. Most are too cheap-looking or have teeny tiny boxes and even my favorite planners would not really be set up for a 3-day-a-week schedule teaching all subjects at the 8th grade level. 

So, like any office-supply-junkie, I decided to make my own!

I really wanted to use the nice metal binding and covers of the 8.5" x 11" Plum Paper Teacher Planner that I had originally gotten. And while I was at it I realized the divider tabs and monthly views, which I had already labeled with Catholic feast days, could be reused as well. Here you can see the monthly view with feast days marked....

First I made a year-at-a-glance page marking all of the school days, holidays, and days when things were due for me as a teacher or as a parent. Each quarter is a different color because we're using Seton Home Study Curriculum and they run on a quarterly grading system. 

{ Speaking of Seton, I'm actually feeling unsure about using it, but I have the freedom to stray a bit from it in my teaching when I want to so it should be fine. At least their math and language arts materials are very solid and rigorous. }

Then I set about drafting a Daily Lesson Plan sheet on Pages (I have a Mac). It's really pretty simple to do. Just make a table and then tweak it to look the way you want. There is no way to do sideways writing on the left hand column though so I just used text boxes over the table and flipped them 90 degrees.

Since we only meet 3x a week for 36 weeks I realized I could easily commit a whole page to each day of lessons. Which is good, because I really wanted to jot down homework assignments so I'd know what the students were assigned in addition to what we'd covered in class. 

On the left hand side you can see I have the subjects and times of the classes, a section blocked out for lunch/recess. In the middle are the boxes with dotted lines for actual planning. On the right hand side are the Homework boxes with due date spots at the bottom. Some assignments will be due the next class period but many will be longer term reports or projects. 

You can see in the picture below the additional perk of keeping the metal spiral's sized to fit Erin Condren accessories, including the bookmark I got awhile back when they were running a coupon deal. 

And I also kept the original Plum Paper pocket in the back, which happens to have an Erin Condren pen-holder attached to it. <3

Back to the real workhorses of the planner.

I made gradebooks to track students' daily and test grades for each subject, aligning it with Seton's grading system which is pretty good and simple.

I printed out the custom daily lesson plan pages, calendar, and grade book pages, as well as a few other little pages I wanted included on 28 lb paper (which seems to be the closest to what Plum Paper uses themselves and their paper feels smooth like butter!).

Then I took all the pages to Staples. They hole punched it for a spiral binding for me for $0.69. I uncoiled my Plum Paper Planner with the help of some needle-nosed pliers and a YouTube instruction video. Then I stacked up the dividers I wanted to keep, added my newly punched pages between them, and binder-clipped the whole thing. Then came the slightly-trickier part of re-coiling everything! I ended up ditching the binder-clips and just moved pages over a few at a time once I had the first 2-3 holes in the metal coil.

I popped on the alternate, more generic, cover which didn't say HOMESCHOOL on it and called it good. I'm very much in love with my new planner and have been enjoying planning out my first week :) I may even see if I can re-use this metal coil next year for a new year's planner. Not sure how often I can bend the coil out and back before the metal snaps on me but it seems like it has a bit more wear left in it after this time at least.

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