If you've read my blog, browsed my instagram, seen pictures of my classroom, or checked out my teacherspayteachers store, you know that organization is my jam! Like seriously. I LOVE ORGANIZATION.
Don't say it. Don't do it. The dreaded, "It's impossible for me to be organized" It is possible. I'm here to help you out.
The biggest thing that keeps me organized at school is my teacher binder and lesson planner, and I'm about to show you why.
I know it's happened to you, a colleague or administrator walks in. They need such and such form, note, copy, or document, and they need it now. You panic. (So do I!) I know that I just had it. I search drawers, piles, binders, and books looking for a scrap of paper that I jotted the information down on. No where to be found. Ugh! This is where I use my teacher binder to keep everything organized: life saver.
My teacher binder is organized into a variety of categories with all kinds of forms that pertain to each section.
-Attendance (more on this later)
-To do lists
Each of these categories has a divider, and behind it, I keep all of the important information that deals with that particular topic: copies of IEP/504 files, notes about conversations with parents, all of the login information for the 487374 bazillion websites that I need for school, notes from the staff meetings, records of my attendance at professional development session, lesson reflections and future ideas, and pertinent student information.
I house this all in one large 3" binder. It stays in the same place so that I can always easily find it. I make it a point to keep all of this information in one spot. It saves me the anxiety of searching for required stuff (you know what I mean.) It's that simple. There are a bazillion teacher binder options, I love mine and created it in a variety of color options. However, I know that each teacher has different needs. Check out my store or browse tpt using the search function. If you don't find what you're looking for, head over to pinterest and see what you can find. There are lots of options; find one that suits your needs best! (Don't forget to check out my list of suggested teacher binders at the bottom of the post!)
My other lifesaver is my lesson planner! Before you ask, I'm not an Erin Condren teacher. I have nothing against Erin Condren planners. They work great for some people. They just don't quite suit my needs as well as I would like, so I created my own, and you can too!
My lesson planner is COMPLETELY editable. I mean change the boxes, fonts, colors, whatever. Check this out. This is the planner that I originally created. The left column includes to do, copy, print, and notes sections. The actual planning section is divided into 7 sections for each day, with a blank column to the left that you can type in your classes.
This is the planner that I altered for my personal use (which you can do with the original file). The left column is a long blank checklist. I took out the to do, copy, and print sections because I keep a to do list in a separate part of my binder, and I highlight the items within my lesson plan that need to be printed and copied. That's just my personal preference. Instead of a notes box at the box of this column, I have an events box to jot down all of the stuff we've got going on at school that week. I labeled the left hand part of the planning box with my classes so that I don't have to write it in. I'm on block schedule, so I only teach three classes per day. Two of those are the same, so I combined them, used one section as a place to list my bell ringer, and used the bottom section for notes about the day.
That's pretty personalized. I'm just saying. You can type in any of the boxes or on any of the lines shown. You can alter the layout by merging cells in the table (or splitting them), adding headers, and changing lists. This allows me to have a planner that fits my exact needs. No guesswork. No relabeling a planner I paid $50 for because the headings don't quite fit my needs (but it was cute). It's exactly what I need. And if my needs change? I change what I need to in the powerpoint file and reprint it.
I think it goes along with my love of organization, but I love lists and forms. This digital file has plenty of those.
It has two pages of notes between each month. Lots of writing space and checklists! My favorite!
It has other forms like absentee forms, student checklists, birthdays, a glance at the year, and lined and grid note pages.
This isn't just something I made for other people to use. I use this daily. It is my lifesaver. I love that it has exactly what I need. It's available in my tpt store, but hey, if it's not your cup of tea, find a planner that you like or order one. Pinterest has a million ideas! Whatever floats your boat. (I've also listed a few suggestions at the bottom of the post that you might be interested in.)
The key takeaway from all of this? Keeping your information in one spot is important. Having everything together instead of all over your room in a variety of binders or piles of papers allows you instant, stress-free, access to all of the materials and information that you need. Organization can be made easy.
If I don't have what you need, here's a list of other teacher binders and lesson planners that seem to be well liked. I'm not sponsored by any of these; I'm just trying to help you on your quest to become more organized. That being said, each of these lesson planners and teacher binders offers different options. I haven't used any of these planner or binders and can't say which one is going to best fit your needs. Just check them out and find one you like!
Erin Condren - Printed
Plum Paper Planners -Printed
Sweet Paper Trail -Digital
C Jayne Teach: Teacher Anchor -Printed
Purple Trail -Printed
Laura Unger Designs - Digital
Trew Studio - Digital
The Preppy Greek - Digital
Digital Teacher Binders
One Stop Teacher Shop
Little Lovely Leaders
A Modern Teacher
At Whit's End
Have questions about how to get organized, or need help with one particular area of organization that's giving you trouble? Let me know! I'd love to share ideas with you or help you brainstorm ways to get organized!
Do you have a teacher lifesaver that you can't live without? What is it? What makes your day, week, month, year, go smoothly? Share it below!