Teaching Tip Tuesday – Customized Plan Book/Grade Book

by Jill Scott on June 19, 2012

For a long time I tried to use commercially produced plan books and grade books, but they frustrated me because they weren’t set up in a way that worked for me. Then one day I realized that I could make my own plan book and grade book and completely tailor them to my specific needs. That was an awesome day.

The picture above is my Plan Book for this next school year. I like to use three-ring binders because I can use a larger binder to accommodate more stuff, so that I always have everything I need.

CALENDARS:  This is the first section in my Plan Book. At the front of this section I include a two-year overview calendar and my school district’s calendar which shows holidays, work days, in-service days, etc.

Behind those calendars I include a blank, two-page per month calendar. I use that calendar to jot down things that I need to remember for planning purposes: no school days, field trips, spirit weeks, special guests, etc.

SCHEDULES: This is my next section in my binder. It’s unbelievable how many schedules we have to keep track of. In this section I have schedules for bus duty, bulletin boards, social treats,P.E./Music, and the bell schedule.

LESSON PLANS: My next section is where I keep all of my lesson plans for the year. I’ve been writing my lesson plans in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet for several years now. I will never go back to a plan book that I fill out by hand, because this way saves me oodles of time, it’s tidy, and I big fat, puffy heart LOVE being able to cut, copy and paste.

Every week I open up the spread sheet from the previous week, “save as” with a new file name (the week and date), and simply update what needs to be updated. It’s also very helpful to be able to look at the previous week’s plans when planning for the next week.

MISCELLANEOUS: In this section I keep things that I don’t know what to do with. For example, classroom volunteers, PTO contacts, check lists, Subfinder information, Committee Members, etc.

STUDENT DATA: This is where I keep student lunch numbers, log on information, assessment information, and anything else that I might need to refer to while planning for differentiating instruction.

This is my hard copy grade book which is also a binder. You might be horrified to know that I actually went for two years without having a hard copy grade book. I would grade things, enter them into PowerSchool, and then they were “out of my life.” Multiple computer issues with our district’s computer system, wherein I lost grades that I had input, forced me to keep a hard copy grade book. I don’t do any grade calculations in this grade book. It is just a record of assignments collected and their scores. I let PowerSchool calculate the grades based on the weights that I assign. Then at the end of each quarter I print a hard copy to keep with my written hard copy.

I don’t like the commercially produced grade books for several reasons. First of all, I don’t like having to write and rewrite the students’ names in the grade book. Secondly, I have big, bubbly handwriting that cannot be contained by the itty bitty boxes in a standard grade book. I  created the page you see above, and I type in my students’ names at the beginning of the year. Then all I have to do is photocopy however many pages of the form I need. I copy front and back to save paper and cut down on bulk in my grade book.

I used the binder Plan Book and Grade Book all last year, and I love them so much, I will never go back! What do you use for a Plan Book and Grade Book?

UPDATE: Several people have requested a copy of my templates. I have uploaded those files to my Teachers Pay Teachers store, and you may access them for FREE. Simply click here to be taken to my TPT store where you can download those FREE files.

  • Sharon

    This is beautiful! I love it! Thanks for sharing. I still toggle between doing things electronically or the old fashion hand written way. The way you have shown really is a nice balance of both!

    • http://www.controllingmychaos.com Jill Scott

      Thank you, Sharon!

    • lauraparkerblog

      I know, right? Adorable! Jill is a master of cute and organized. :)

  • Sharon

    Please explain how you did the adorable covers for your binders!
    do you have editable printables we could print off?

    • http://www.controllingmychaos.com Jill Scott

      Sharon, I made my Plan Book cover in Photoshop Elements using digital scrapbooking supplies. I made my Grade Book by cutting a piece of scrapbook paper to fit and affixing sticker letters for a title. I will e-mail the templates to you for the forms themselves.

  • KLNobles

    I’ve looked everywhere for the 2 page per month planning pages. Did you print your own?

    • http://www.controllingmychaos.com Jill Scott

      I found mine at Staples with their planner inserts. I’m going to keep my eyes open when school supplies are put out, because some of the student planners are set up this way and it is based on the school year, and not the calendar year. The one I’m using right now is made by Day Runner and it is for their full-size, 8-1/2 x 11″ planner.

  • Jschear

    This is wonderful!   Would you be wiling to provide printables of these templates?

    • http://www.controllingmychaos.com Jill Scott

      I would be happy to! Coming right up.

  • Ashley Kathleen

    I love this!! What a great idea.. I am looking to make a version for myself for September & I may use yours as a guide! :-)

    • http://www.controllingmychaos.com Jill Scott

      Absolutely, Ashley! I’ll e-mail it to you.

  • Shellbell7345

    I would love printables of these also!!

    • http://www.controllingmychaos.com Jill Scott

      Coming right up!

    • lauraparkerblog

      Hi everyone! Jill has added her email to the end of the post. If you’d like printables, just email her about it! Thanks for being interested– Jill’s stuff is a real find!

      • Lauren

        hi there! I clicked on the link on this post and it doesn’t seem to be available anymore. Do you know how I could access these templates? Thank you

  • Smartin

    I use something very similar – it makes life so easy!

  • Mickiswing

    You always have the best organizational ideas!  The best for me, that is.  I like the way you think!  I’ll be emailing you for copies for sure.  Thank you!

    • http://www.controllingmychaos.com Jill Scott

      Why thank you!

  • Tbeyer

    This is so awesome.  I would also be interested in copies of your lesson plan and grade books.  Thank you for making such a wonderful and timesaving tool.  Here’s my email address: tbeyer@sidney.k12.mt.us

    • http://www.controllingmychaos.com Jill Scott

      You bet.

  • Kelly Wade

    I would love a copy to tweak. My email is kelly.wade@fayar.net.

  • Mglg1

    I would love a copy to tweak!! My email is mglg1@sbcglobal.net

  • Thejenkinsfive

    I would also love a copy of this. I am student teaching in the third grade in August and this would be FANTASTIC to use. Thank you in advance

    • lauraparkerblog

      Hi everyone, I think if I am correct, Jill would like you to email her personally for the printouts- She gave the email in the post. I think that is easier for her to respond to– right, Jill?

  • Mel

    This is great! Would you be willing to send copies to my email? I would love to use them as a jumping off point! mwenz08@gmail.com

  • Cindy terrazas
  • Terrie Shortsleeve

    Okay, where did you get that adorable two-year overview calendar.  I can’t find anything like it anywhere!  Help!

  • http://www.facebook.com/shanell.lee.3 Shanell Lee

    I love your plan book organization.

    I’m your newest follower. Please check out my blog if you
    get a chance. Calling Plays in 2nd Grade.

    Thanks, Shanell

  • Megan

    I’d love to know where you found the 2 year calendar! It’s so pretty!

  • Christin Ashman

    I found this awesome site where you can customize and print monthy calendars that are spread over two pages.  http://www.vertex42.com/calendars/monthly-planner.html

  • maryrose

    This is awesome. Would you please email me a copy of pages so I can use them. I tried the link but it was unavailable. Thanks in advance. maryrose4@optonline.net

  • http://www.facebook.com/melindaandbilly.norman MelindaandBilly Norman

    I’d like a copy of the template for the lesson plans, please!

  • http://www.facebook.com/amie.harrison.5 Amie Harrison

    I would LOVE a copy of this! My email is amie_harrison2000@yahoo.com Thank!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=519723434 Katherine Nobles

    Yes, I know I’m late. Perpetually. But one question and one request. You use both of these books separately, not combined in one binder? And, if you’re still willing to send the printables, my email is nobleskl@pwcs.edu

  • querns

    I tried going to the TPT store, but it says it is no longer available. Would you be willing to send them to me? s.querns@gmail.com
    Thank you!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=8347101 Melinda Casas

    Hi, could I please have the grade book printable? Thank you! melindacasas@gmail.com

  • Melissa

    I would love a copy too! DickinsonM@chbss.org

  • Diana Hutchens

    I love the yearly calendar! Would you email me a copy?

  • Jany

    Love the two year calendar can u email oe plz

  • Sandy


  • Julie

    Could you email me the templates also. I wasn’t able to access them from TPT. Thanks so much! wave07@msn.com

  • steven

    can you send me a printable gradebook by email, sdurham44@gmail.com

  • David

    Try PlanbookEdu.com instead

  • Ashley

    Hello! Where can I get a copy of the class list grade book with the school house on it? I did click where it says here but it brought up an excel page. Could you e-mail me one at allstarpitcher53@yahoo.com thank you!!

  • Danae Hicks

    Nothing happens when I click on the word here. Could you possible email me the templates at flashback5dh@gmail.com I start school Monday and PowerSchool is throwing me for a loop lol.

  • Jacqueline Metcalf

    May I get the templates to do the gradebooks/plan book/attendance book I love the idea and I would be glad to use something do useful please send the templates too metcalf.jacqueline@hcboe.us

  • Patti

    Thank you for the great organizing ideas! I was looking to set up my grade book differently this year instead of having loose papers in my grade book. I started using and online lesson plan book which I absolutely love! It is called planbook.com and it costs $12. It allows me to import my planbook from last year and then I will modify as I go.

    Thanks for making the templates free!

  • Sahmed

    Can I get this amazing plan book documents sent to my email please? Here is my email: 52.sahmed@nhaschools.com

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