DIY Teacher Planner/Binder

Something you may not {or may} know about me, is that I am obsessed with planners. I love them. I love creating them and using them to help manage all the daily madness. And as educators a well organized planner is an essential, must-have for our line of work.

When it comes to choosing your planner for the year, you could use the teacher planner that gets passed out every year at school, but those are usually pretty darn boring if you ask me. Or you could spend more money than you would like on a fancier one that has some of what you need/like, yet other pieces that you don’t really need but are still paying for. So the solution for me has always been to create my own.

As a fun summer project, I worked on creating a planner for teachers and another for coaches {I’ll share this one next week} to support your DIY Planner style. It has all the teacher planner essentials, yet leaves you with room to build out from there. You can find this planner in my Etsy shop.

Let’s take a look:

Cover-Pic

For my planner I chose to use a Discbound notebook, which seem to be all the rage these days and for good reason! They’re sleek and sophisticated, highly customizable, fold neatly in half, and lay flat when open. Love it! Based on the Circa notebook system by Levenger, the Martha Stewart Discound notebook or the Arc notebook are much less expensive options yet just as good.

Side-by-side

On the inside I added a pad of gotta-have sticky notes, some page tabs, and a few paper clips. I also had my cover laminated to spice it up a bit!

Inside-Cover

In my Etsy shop I created a few different cover options you can choose from and are able to customize. The colors in all the covers cordinate with the colors in the calendar.

Teacher-Binder-Cover-Choices-Image

I used white tab dividers, some washi tape, and my label maker to create sections for “Calendar” and “Lesson Plans”. Two essential sections for every teacher!

tabs

Begin your calendar section with this Year at a Glance spread. Use it to note important dates for the year, goals, and/or student birthdays.

year-at-a-glance

Behind the Year at a Glance, let your two-page Monthly Calendar spreads for the year begin. These July 2013-June 2014 calendar pages will serve as your Comprehensive Calendar and it is going to be one of your most important tools in your Teacher Planner. A two-page spread is a must, since this is where you will record all of your hard deadlines, events, and meetings for both your school and home life. Yes, both! If you value getting a pizza and watching The Bachelor on Monday night, you’ve got to block that time off and work around it the best you can. Not that I watch The Bachelor or anything…

calendar

Behind each month are four lined pages for notes.

notes

In the section for your lesson plans, I created a weekly lesson plan template you can use to get all your big ideas down.

52 Weekly Planning Spreads in PDF

52 Weekly Planning Spreads in PDF

weekly-plans

Lastly, I used some sticker paper to make a label for the folder in the back. This “Inbox” is where I’ll collect any loose odds and ends that come my way.

inbox

Now that you’ve got the essentials taken care of, the rest of the planner is up to you. You might add a section for grades, meetings, general reference, whatever you need!

A few notes on printing. If you purchase this 2013-2014 Teacher Planner in my Etsy shop, you’ll receive a 159 page PDF including everything you read about above AND a customized cover. For easier viewing and printing, I would recommend using Adobe Reader which you can download for free here.

Once you open the Teacher Planner PDF in Adobe you should see this screen:

Screen Shot 2013-07-05 at 1.34.35 PM

The document is set-up for simple duplex/two sided printing. If you have a duplex printer, you’re good to go. If not, no worries. I don’t either, so on my printer I first printed the “odd pages” by adjusting the “Subset” selection in the print box. The paper I used for printing is standard letter size, 8 1/2″ x 11, 98 bright and 32 lb. from Staples.

Screen Shot 2013-07-05 at 1.37.30 PM

After the odd pages were printed I flipped them over, inserted them back into the printer, and changed the “Subset” selection to “Even pages only.” Now, here’s what you need to make sure to do: print out a few test pages BEFORE printing out the entire document!  Kind of like the old adage, “Measure twice, cut once.” Or you can take a shortcut and just head to Staples.

Alrighty then, let’s get this DIY Teacher Planner party started! I’d love to hear about your essential teacher binder sections or must-haves. Let’s get better at this together!

Thanks for reading,

ms-houser

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24 Responses to “DIY Teacher Planner/Binder”

  1. Hadley July 31, 2013 at 6:49 pm #

    Hi! I want to buy this PDF to use for my student binder. I do have a question though.
    1. If I would like to use this PDF, I would need to buy ruled paper from the Martha Stewart Refill Pages for the Discbound Notebook. Problem is, I don’t want those nasty lines. If I print it on regular paper, how do I cut the paper to fit into my Discbound Notebook? Thanks!!!!

    • Kristin Houser August 4, 2013 at 2:37 pm #

      Hi Hadley! The Discbound notebook comes in two different sizes. The PDF pages I have created are standard letter, 8.5 x 11″ and do not need to be cut to fit into the larger notebook (9-1/2″ x 11-1/2″).
      Hope this helps!
      Kristin

  2. Lydia July 31, 2013 at 8:22 pm #

    Absolutely love this planner. Did you take it to Staples to have the pages hole punched to fit the discbound notebook? Thank you!

  3. Kelli August 5, 2013 at 7:31 pm #

    I did not know Arc made a hole punch! Someone purchased an Arc binder for me and the ruled pages just didn’t work for what I wanted. Now that you have shared with me the existence of the hole punch, I can actually use the colored paper I want in the binder. Thanks so much for your insight as well as your organizational tips. I really hope to keep on top of things this year and your tips are definitely a step in the right direction!

  4. yulz October 11, 2013 at 4:08 am #

    it looks so cute ! I’m crazy over planner too especially when new year is coming. I need to get a new one. Sadly there is no shipment to my country ( brunei ) by Staples. It will be great to have the punch

  5. Pat January 27, 2014 at 9:27 pm #

    I use these notebooks too. I’m not a teacher, but have a friend who is. I shared this link with her. It’s nice to see things tailored for teachers!

  6. Carina March 25, 2014 at 11:19 pm #

    Hi hun! Thank you so much for this! I’m very interested in purchasing your pd as this looks like the perfect system for me, but i am not familir with Discbound notebooks. Could you please tell me exactly where you purchased your hardcover book?

    • Kristin Houser March 27, 2014 at 10:04 am #

      Hi Carina! I purchased my Discbound at Staples. You can order them online and have it shipped to you!

  7. Amy April 5, 2014 at 9:35 am #

    Do you like the discbound system? It looks beautiful and I am very tempted but I am worried about the punched pages coming out or the punched edge getting folded and stuck and hard to turn. Do the pages move smoothly even if you want to turn to the end of the notebook?

    • Kristin Houser April 6, 2014 at 12:12 pm #

      Hi Amy!
      I love the disc bound system. I don’t know how I went so long without it. It’s totally perfect for setting up our own planning system. The pages don’t come out at all and turn very easily.
      Kristin

  8. Maggie April 14, 2014 at 8:27 pm #

    I love your planner! Great Job! I want to make my own planner and customize it for my high school social studies courses….what software did you use? Do you use any commercial templates like those from scrapgirls.com? Any design tips for my diy? Any help in getting started would be great!

    • Kristin Houser April 15, 2014 at 3:30 pm #

      Thanks so much Maggie! I use the Adobe Creative Suite to create all my planner templates. The different programs take a bit of time to learn, but the learning is fun!
      Kristin

  9. Ann May 26, 2014 at 4:54 pm #

    Are the hole punches (staples, levenger, etc) interchangeable or do the holes differ by system?

    • Kristin Houser May 28, 2014 at 6:59 am #

      Hi Ann,
      As far as I know the hole punches are interchangeable :)
      Kristin

  10. Jean June 14, 2014 at 2:42 pm #

    I was wondering if you did something special to your printer to make the pages print so that the color completely covers the page. I don’t see how I could print the pages without any white edges?

    • Kristin Houser June 16, 2014 at 6:28 am #

      Hi! Some printers will print to “full bleed” or to the edge. You can also have them printed professionally like this. Otherwise you’ll have the white edge.

  11. Jennifer July 20, 2014 at 4:31 am #

    Hi I love your planner! I’d like to purchase but wanted to know if the weekly planning pages are truly editable? I like to type in my plans (don’t like my handwriting) then print the pages for each week. Can you let me know if they are or after I purchase could you send me just those pages in editable format? Thanks!! Jennifer

    • Kristin Houser July 21, 2014 at 1:14 pm #

      Hi Jennifer!
      Yep, the weekly planning pages in The Simplified Teaching Planning Kit are editable (the Teaching Planner printable is not editable). Meaning you can open them in Adobe Reader or Acrobat and type into the open field forms, and print your pages for the week!
      Thanks :)

  12. Heather July 24, 2014 at 8:56 am #

    Hi Kristen,
    I really love your ideas! I was wondering, is it possible to take the lesson plan page and edit it so that the days of the week are down the left hand side of the page, rather than across the top? I need more space to write out my daily lessons, and having them down the left would do the trick I think. Thanks! Heather

    • Kristin Houser July 25, 2014 at 9:52 am #

      Hi Heather! Thanks for your comment/question. I would need to rework the planner quite a bit to make those changes, and with the start of the school year I’m pressed for time. I’ll make sure to consider a version as you’ve described for future releases of the planner though!
      Thanks,
      Kristin :)

  13. Shannon August 28, 2014 at 7:52 pm #

    I love these notebooks, but I bought the 1 1/2″ rings and the pages are really hard to turn! Do I have to deal with it since I have the larger disks? Any tips or tricks? I have the Martha Stewart Binder and those discs hung, so I splurged and bought Levenger discs and it’s still hard to turn!

    • Kristin Houser September 2, 2014 at 5:05 am #

      Hi Shannon! I’ve found the larger rings harder to work with as well, if you’re notebook isn’t full enough. I currently have the 1″ rings and they’re working ok. If you don’t have enough pages right now to fill up your notebook for the 1.5 inch size, drop down to a smaller ring. You’ll still have the larger ones if you need them!
      Hope that helps, Kristin.

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    [...] Initially I thought I would use a two-page paper calendar, similar to the one I created for the Teacher Planner and build from there. However, as I thought about all of the planning and coaching meetings I [...]

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