Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Agenda Organization for Teachers

I'm still hesitant to share too many posts about teaching. I created my blog five years ago to serve as a creative outlet, and I do want to keep it as an outlet. However, I guess I do have to acknowledge that teaching has become a big part of my life just like being a student used to be.  I did a couple polls a few weeks back and you guys said you wanted more posts about teaching and organization, so I thought I would start out by combining the two.  I love being organized. When life feels like it's getting crazy, being organized is the one thing that I do have control over.  

Being a middle school teacher, I feel like it's a little extra important that I am organized.  Middle school is a time when students are building life skills (like being organized), so it's important for them to have models for them to imitate behaviors from. In my class, I am constantly teaching my students organization tricks.  I occasionally will even have students stay after school with me to help get their binders organized for classes other than mine. 

Since my senior year of high school, I have kept my personal and academic life organized by using an agenda.  My agenda has always helped me keep track of important events, due dates, and to do lists to keep me focused.  During undergrad I always thought about what my teacher agenda would look like.  During student teaching I used a jumbo Lilly Pulitzer agenda. It worked well because I had to balance lesson planning, class assignments, and my social life. However, I knew I would need more space when I would manage my own classes without the help of someone else.  Last spring, my long term substitute position was only for a few months, so I created my own agenda using print outs and a binder. Amidst my job hunt this summer, I began doing research so that I could purchase my teacher agenda as soon as I was hired.  I spent about a month looking up different reviews, talking to friends that had already started teaching, and reading teaching blogs.  I had gone to several different stores to preview a few different agendas. Near the end of July, I finally decided what I wanted and it was on sale, but I had not been hired anywhere yet.  I refused to purchase a planner until I was actually hired because I didn't want to jinx myself out of a contract.  My mom purchased it for me and hid it in her home office until I was finally hired. 

I chose to use the Happy Teacher Planner. I purchased it at Michael's. They had a huge sale and promotion going on, so I got the teacher pack plus a free hard cover for less than $30. The teacher box kit came with an extra sticker set, a pen, and a bookmark with sticky notes.I also purchased an additional sticker book because I had a coupon. I prefer the hard cover for two reasons. The first reason, it's more my style. The second reason is that it protects the pages better. I've spilled water in my bag, but the hard shell kept the pages from being ruined.

These are some of the stickers that come in the extra pack, but below are the stickers that came in the kit as well as the book I purchased. 

The feature that sold me on this specific brand as opposed to others is that you can take the pages out and move them around, which is not possible with any other planner that I've found. This planner also allows for tons of flexibility and creativity.  Some people have compared it to scrap booking.  The stickers allow you to customize it to fit your needs. It could 100% be used by elementary or secondary teachers.  

I use Washi tape to separate the daily pages into the columns that I need. I use a section for eighth grade, eighth grade homework, sixth grade, sixth grade homework, and daily to do lists. There is enough room for me to even write extra notes about each section I teach.

This is what the pages look when you first get it. The dates and week numbers are blank as well, but I had already filled them in prior to this picture. 

Step two is to set up the week's outlook to fit your needs. I teach two different grades, so I dedicate a side for each grade level.

Step three is to write your plans in.  Pro tip in case you are new to teaching- always write your plans in pencil.  Things change very quickly, and you never know when you're going to have to change your plans due to weather, pacing of a topic, emergency drills, and other unexpected interruptions. 

Some of my favorite features include the front and back pockets to store important papers, the monthly calendar, notes pages before each month, the class checklists, and the monthly pages for special events/reminders.  The notes pages are nice because I am able to keep track of important notes from team meetings, department meetings, parent meetings, and faculty meetings in one spot without having to bring another notebook.  I also enjoy having the option to look at the entire month's calendar at one time.  This is where I write down any important meetings or changes to the daily schedule.

The checklists are great because you can keep your grade book and plan book all in one place.  I usually color code each assignment, so by the end of the marking period my grading sheet is quite colorful. If you need more checklists, then you can purchase the teacher expansion pack or the special whole punch to use after making copies of your grade book. 

Although I'm only half way through the year, I definitely anticipate on purchasing another Happy Planner to use for teaching next year.  It's been easy to keep track of plans, meetings, important notes, grades, passwords, etc.

What do you use to keep your daily life organized?


  1. This planner looks AWESOME! I'm in college right now and I'm going to be a teacher once I graduate (plus I'm a planner junkie) so this post was perfect! Definitely going to remember this planner!