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.