Get Organized with a Custom Teacher Planner!

If you've landed on this page, I'm sure you're looking for a planner or ways to stay organized for the school year. Well, this planner just got a major makeover and I'd love to share a peek inside with you.

I have used an Erin Condren teacher planner for the past two years. I really love the size, color and many things about it, but I never used the entire thing. I always had good intentions about using those lesson plan pages in the back, and would sometimes even remember to fill it out. But, it was a lot of money to spend for so much wasted space. Plus, there were things I would have loved to have in the planner that weren't offered. After searching the internet one summer for the perfect planner, I realized I would need to make one myself if I truly wanted it to have everything I need! So it began...

I wanted something I could take to and from and around school that would have EVERYTHING I could need.

Here's a little peek inside my custom teacher planner...

teacher planner with flair pensteacher planner with flair pens

There are two different versions of the custom teacher planner - one with bright colors, and one with soft colors. Each version comes with several different templates for the front cover, so you can choose your style. 

Teacher planner calendar
Every month has a two-page spread...perfect for jotting down important events or even quickly mapping out curriculum.

Weekly teacher planner and checklist
One of my favorite parts - weekly planning sheets that are perfect for jotting down to-do lists and any change in your normal schedule. If you're anything like me, I typically have sticky note lists covering my desk by Tuesday. This helps me to keep all those thoughts in one place!

note pages
Another one of my most used spots in my teacher planner are note pages! There are two different versions included - generic note pages and pages specifically for taking notes during meetings. This makes it so easy to go back and reference something from a staff or grade level meeting. You can add as many note pages as you need!


teacher planner student checklist
Editable student checklist pages are perfect for keeping track of grades, homework, returning forms - anything really!!

Editable teacher lesson plans
It also includes editable lesson plan templates. You can print these out to put in your planner, or keep them digital. I love using these as I plan to loosely map out the week, and it's a great tool to help me stay organized!

There are several other pages included in the planner not seen here - including a parent communication log, birthdays and holidays spread, teaching goals, IEP student details, password keeper, and much more. 

If you'd like to take a look, you can find both versions of the custom teacher planner in my store by clicking the photos below!
 

Or, pin this post for later to come back to it!
This custom and editable teacher planner will get you organized this school year with editable lesson plan templates, calendars, student checklists, parent teacher communication log and so much more. You'll love the functionality and ease of this simple teacher planner!


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Job Hunting Tips for Teachers

Well, I never formally announced it on the blog, but my husband and I just made a big move! We are now living in NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE!! We were both born and raised in Orlando, and just wanted to try something different for a little bit. So far, we are loving it! However, I'm still on the hunt for a teaching job up here. I wanted to share some tips that I've learned along the way...this has truly been quite the process.

If you're even thinking about moving or searching for another job, start updating your resume here and there. It is NO fun to update it all at one time. By keeping it updated, you're preparing to begin job searching at anytime. Plus, the more times you are editing it, the more likely you are to catch spelling and grammatical errors, which is a huge plus.


Transferring a teaching license is a pain, y'all! First and foremost, check out your new state's licensing requirements. It would be a huge bummer to move across the country only to find out you need a Master's degree to teach in that state, which you may not have. I suggest calling the state's Education department and explaining your situation and qualifications, just to double check that your teaching license will transfer smoothly. Once you know it will, begin getting the paperwork together right away. I had to get paperwork filled out by my prior district's offices, and it took awhile...so again, don't delay!

No one wants to see another resume in Times New Roman font. Don't get too crazy here, we definitely need to keep it professional. But by dressing it up a little bit, you're going to get future principals to notice and remember your resume, which is GOOD. I grabbed this resume template from Tori Gorosave's TPT store, she has a lot of creative yet professional templates to choose from.

Don't limit yourself to applying to just one district! Make sure you thoroughly research all of the surrounding districts in the area you're moving to. Ask around and find out which ones teachers enjoy working for. I applied for 3 different districts when we moved to Fort Myers, and am currently applying to 3 districts here in Nashville as well. Yes, it takes a.lot.of.time to fill out all of those district applications, but remember you are upping your chances for finding job opportunities this way!

Once again, I know this takes SO much time to do, but it can make the biggest difference in a principal deciding whether to contact you for an interview or not. Research the school, and try to include points about their mission and beliefs in your cover letter to show why you're a good fit for their school. Of course, be truthful! Make sure your cover letter also conveys your passion for teaching and strengths in the classroom.


I wish I could say I didn't speak from experience on this one. But one time right after I hit "Send" on an email to a principal, I realized I forgot to change the name on the email (it was the name of the last principal I'd emailed). Big OOPS. Not surprisingly, I never heard back from her. Don't make the same silly mistakes...always read through an email or cover letter before sending it. Double check that you've spelled their name correctly, the school's name correctly, etc. Even pay attention to something as silly as saying "Good morning" when you're emailing at 3:00 in the afternoon. Pay attention to those details!

I have heard some districts highly frown upon potential candidates contacting principals themselves. So please make sure you read up on the district's policies first. However, if it is encouraged, then by all means DO IT! It's a great idea to send personal emails to the principals at schools you want to work at, but even better to go in and hand deliver your resume. This sets you apart from the hundreds of resumes they're seeing on the district's website. Even though you may not hear back from some, keep in mind that they just may be holding onto your resume for when they have a new opening. This has happened to me a few times.

Let as many people as you can know that you are looking for a teaching job in your new district or city. Share it on Facebook, many people know someone who knows someone, so you are likely to find some sort of contact this way. I was able to get in contact with teachers in Nashville districts just because friends on Facebook put me in touch with them. Once we moved in, I was telling my neighbor about my job search. The very next day she knocked on my door to tell me she'd just heard about an opening up the street at her son's school that wasn't even posted yet. For goodness sake, even the guy at Home Depot had plenty of advice to give me on school districts around here once we got to talking. You truly never know the connections you will find, so talk to anyone you can!!

Perhaps the hardest tip of all. I'm sure my husband would tell you that I do my best to stay positive about my job search, but it's not always easy. It's hard to email dozens of principals and never hear back. It's hard to go and rock an interview, and then find out you didn't get the job.I've cried a few times here and there, because it can be so darn stressful and frustrating. BUT, I remember that I've gone through this before 2 years ago when we moved to Fort Myers, and guess what?! I ended up exactly where I was supposed to. There were a few jobs I didn't get that I wanted, and I was seriously stressed all summer, but I ended up getting a position at a school I loved, and working with a team of women I loved even more. So, try to stay positive, because you WILL end up exactly where you are meant to teach!

Are you job hunting right now?! Leave me a message and let me know how it's going for you...do you have any tips that I missed? Check back later this week for a post on Prepping for the Interview!


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Using Student Data Folders in the Classroom



Data...it's a huge buzzword in education lately. Having students track their own data has become something a lot of administrators want to see, and in some cases, it's even a checkmark on our teacher evaluations. I'll be honest and tell you that's why I started them with my students in the first place, but I loved the benefits I saw from using student data folders in my classroom. Please read on if you are interested in having your students track their own data...weekly...and INDEPENDENTLY!! Yes, you read that right! ;)



When I first started looking for a data folder, I had a really hard time finding something that was kid-friendly enough for my second graders. Everything seemed to be geared towards the upper grades. Eventually, I convinced myself that my brand new second graders could track their data by each Common Core standard (and that I had the time and patience to manage that), and bought a shiny new pack on TPT and created beautiful Data Folders for each student. I'll tell you that we did open them. Once. *ONCE!* ((As a side-note, the pack I bought was ah-mazing, it was just not appropriate for my second graders.)) I took it upon myself to create something that worked for us.




Tracking student data has huge benefits -- most of all being that students really begin to take ownership for their learning, they're self-motivated to do well, and as a bonus, they will be graphing EXPERTS by the end of the year!!


A look inside Student Data Folders

The first section is for setting student goals. There are plenty of options - monthly, quarterly or trimester. Students will set one academic and one personal goal and think of how they will reach that goal. I like to have students reference this page after we graph in our data folders each week, just as a refresher and reminder of what they're working towards.

Here's the meat of student data folders - where all of the graphing magic happens! I have several remade templates for you to use, but the headings and graphs are also completely editable so you can literally make it to fit your classroom needs exactly.

Another push in primary grades is math fact fluency...I wanted a fun way for students to track that. These math fact fluency pages are available in 1-10, 1-12 and 11-20. You can even print different ones to differentiate for your students!

Another great thing to keep in student data folders are writing samples. I've included monthly writing sample pages in several formats. This makes it easy to differentiate based on grade level, student needs, and as the school year goes on.

student data folders Friday reflection
The last part of the data folders are the weekly reflection. Each week takes up a half page, and students reflect on two positive things they did that week and one thing they can improve on. This is one of my favorite parts, and I love seeing what students pick out each week. This part took the most practice at the beginning -- I had a lot of kiddos who wanted to write that they did great at reading and math each week. We really practiced being specific and picking out moments they were really proud of.

For fun, here's a peek at some of my students' Friday reflections. I recently updated the Data Folders, so this is an older version you see below. (However, this version IS still included in the download.)
student data folders Friday reflection

*This was from my line leader of the previous week, who was having trouble stopping at the correct stopping points in the hall. ;) It's so cute the things they pick out!

Frequently Asked Questions

Where do you store the data folders?

I store their data folders in a hanging file crate. I didn't want the folders to get crammed inside of their desks, or to be inaccessible to them. I have hanging files with their student numbers and their data folder lives inside that hanging file. This method has really worked out perfectly for our classroom. 

How do you teach your students to use them?

At the beginning of the year, we did a lot of practicing during whole-group. I printed out a single page for each student to practice on, and we practiced together multiple times. Then, I gave them their data folders and we practiced how to find the correct page to graph on. The first few weeks it took extra time, but after that, my students could do this quickly and independently.

                              When and how do you use student data folders in your room?

On Fridays, I will pass out all of their graded tests, quizzes and assignments to them. I will list the titles and dates for them on the board, and they flip right to the correct page to graph their scores. I flip-flop between doing this during whole-group and small-group (to be honest, it depends on how much time we have! Fridays are always a little hectic.). I walk around my classroom and hear things such as
"I'm improving! My scores are going up!" 
"I'm really going to work harder on my spelling next week."
"Great job, Alan!! You worked so hard in math!"

It.is.AWESOME!! They really do get it, and it has motivated many of them more than I could have thought!

I'd love to answer any other questions you have about using student data folders in the classroom. I've loved the benefits I've seen with my students. If you think they're right for you, you can check them out by clicking below.

Student data folders product

Or, pin this post for later...
How to get student data folders started in your classroom today!


 

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