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How to Set Up Your Teacher Planning Binder: Your Essential Classroom Management Tool

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Show Notes:

Do your eyes light up when you walk through the office supply aisle at Target? As teachers, the colorful flair pens, sticky notes, and art supplies are basically our love language. So, when someone puts a really pretty planner in front of us, that just makes our whole day, right?

I love pretty things that help me stay organized just as much as you, but somewhere along the way, we were never actually taught all of the different sections that we need to include in our teacher planner to actually make it functional for us.

A lot of the planners out there expect that you have taught for at least a few years, and even include things that you just won’t ever use. That’s why I’m going to teach you how to set up your teacher planning binder based on being a new teacher, and which documents I recommend you include.

Not only am I going to talk all about how to set up your teacher planning binder, but I’ll show you how this binder is an essential classroom management tool!

At this point you may be thinking, “Lori, what are you talking about? My planner doesn’t have anything to do with classroom management!”

Well my friends, I would argue that that's actually a problem. One of the reasons that we struggle with planning effectively is because we've been taught that when we think about classroom management, we think about how we manage our students. 

I don't think we realize that managing a classroom is not just about managing our students. It's about managing many different pieces of our classroom. One of those essential pieces is how we plan. It’s really the cornerstone of everything we do! So, we can actually create our teacher planning binder as a piece of our larger classroom management system. 

Truthfully, I never really thought about a teacher planning binder as a classroom management tool until some of my teachers who purchased my binder on Teachers Pay Teachers started commenting about it. Take Candace for example, who said, “thank you for this awesome planner, I learned a lot about classroom management by just printing and prepping my first teacher binder”.

When I read that review, it really got me thinking about how essential it is in terms of helping us to manage the sheer amount of paper and information that we're now going to be responsible for as educators. As you listen to this list that I walk you through in this episode, and as you hear the sections that I recommend you include in your teacher planner, I want you to take a look at any planners that you've already purchased. Then ask yourself how you can incorporate some of these sections into it or how you can modify or adapt or add to what you already have. 

The sections to include in your teacher planning binder are:

  1. Your year plans, scope & sequence plans, curriculum maps, and pacing guides
  2. Unit plans
  3. Weekly schedule
  4. Daily plans
  5. Observation lessons and individual lesson plans
  6. First name checklists
  7. A yearly calendar
  8. Meeting notes templates

I hope you’ll begin to think about your teacher planning binder as more than just a place to remind you of what's coming up. I hope you've started to realize how valuable it can be as a way of managing your mental space when it comes to planning every single week!

If you’re a R.E.A.D.Y. for School Academy member, I've already given you this resource, and the training inside the academy, to show you how you can set this up for your own classroom. 

If you're not an Academy member, and you're interested in checking out my teacher planning binder, which I update regularly each year and add new and exciting things to, you can check it out on Teachers Pay Teachers here. 

Inside this week's show, you'll learn:

  • A different way of thinking about your classroom planner, and how it is actually one of your most essential classroom management tools.
  • What I recommend that you include in your teaching planner to help you streamline your planning, and the why behind each resource.
  • Why you need to have first name student checklists on hand for so many things inside your classroom, plus a bonus checklist tip.
  • How your teacher planning binder can help you to prepare for formal classroom observations.

Links & resources mentioned inside this episode:

I hope this information is helpful as you prepare for your first, second, or third year of teaching. Until next time, remember, just because you're a beginning elementary teacher, there's no need for you to struggle like one.

πŸ’› Lori

Dr. Lori Friesen | Beginning Teacher Mentor

Creator of the R.E.A.D.Y. for School Academy, Dr. Lori Friesen has mentored thousands of beginning teachers across the country through her workshops and courses. Host of the popular podcast, Beginning Teacher Talk, and creator of the innovative literacy program for 1st and 2nd grade, Dogs Help Kids Read and Succeed, Dr. Lori is dedicated to serving educators and inspiring learners. Learn more at and at

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