Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Jenn's Perfect Planner Quest

...and the quest continues. There's been some interest (among my loyal friends who would say I looked pretty even if I didn't) in the planner I designed for our school.

One of the *small* things I don't like about Good News Planners after using them several years (they are one of the best Catholic planners out there, though!) is that when I have it open to the week and folded in half to save space on my desk, I have to keep flipping it upside down and back again to see all the subjects of any particular day. This has been a small thing, until I decided I need a space for Sat/Sun activities and left-over school, wanted more list space (they're the ones who taught me how much I love the list space) and other druthers.

One of the things that has kept me from making my own teacher planner that DOES contain everything I want, is that I really DON'T like 3-ring binders. I have them, I use them. However, I don't like how they sit on the shelf (or with other books leaning on them and I don't like that you can't fold them in half and still have the page you want open - you're only choice in having them smaller on your desk is to close them (and then find your place again.)

But Lady of Virtue with her sewing tutorial on covers and idea of a half-page binder with a handle piqued my interest. I could easily grab it to go room to room. I can take it with me when a kid hasn't gotten their work done to check what they need....hmmmm. Kim's home journal is sooo pretty! So I bought a 5 1/2" x 8 1/2" from Office Depot for about $8 (I wanted the 2" binder so I could fit lots of junk in it.)

I took some template advice from Donnna Young, put the headers in a pretty font, and tried several different template versions (week-at-a-glance on a 2-page spread, 1 day per page) printing them out and filling out a particularly full week of actual lesson plans from last year. I ended up liking the spacing of 1/2 a week on a 2-page spread.

2 days prints out on one piece of paper and folds to fit in my half-sheet binder as one day per page. I'm not sure you can read the snapshot above. The center is the school planner with subjects in bold, kids initials, then room to write (in the English section I have abreviations for the various categories, [grammar, writing (either handwriting or reports), Latin, Spelling, Typing or Reading, Memory items like poetry] and a list for spelling words or things I need to keep track of.

Along the side of the page are places for us to decide meals for the day (so we remember to get the meat out of the freezer and we don't have complaints about kids wanting to fix something different for lunch), Mama's Routines (things I never remember to do that would really help me if I did like setting my clothes out for the next day), Morning Chores & Afternoon Chores, Individual kids chores based on the day (since some kids rotate and some don't). Below is the view of that same page on the bottom.

I've got a section for GRADES that has a grading cheat sheet and a place to record grades based on the specifics of our school done in an excel spreadsheet.

The next section is our ROUTINES. This is specifically for our school routines.

Some of this seems a little silly to make the effort to put into print, but I forget what I think would be good for the kids to do (and we end up forgeting to do any mapwork until I come across it 3 months after the fact). In the heat of battle, I can't keep creative ideas in mind -- so I need them somewhere easily accessible. I also have any scheduling things in this section.

In this section we have our

Faith - The next section contains ideas I'd like to incorporate for the year. Liturgical Year ideas from A Year With God and A Treasure Chest of Traditions for Catholic Families and all the saint ideas for each day from Elizabeth Foss' 4Real Learning forums - GREAT STUFF (if I can just get it incorporated). I always figure, if I do some of it, I'm better off than if I hadn't done any.



So we can do meal planning while we're out.


All my contact from outlook and an extra copy of contacts from groups or meetings. OFTEN, I'll be out and need to call some obscure person I never call for a particular reason.

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