New Thing #242: A New Planner

PlannerThere's pretty much only one thing on my mind this time of year. School.

Well, that's not entirely true.

There's college football, and pro football, and two of my daughters' birthdays, and the baseball homestretch...

But as far as what's distracting me from trying New Things at this moment - it's school.

For the first six months of '365 New Things In 2013' I managed to avoid talking too much about school.

I'm not sure how...but as we approach the last weekend in August and get ready for September, well, either the New Things well is going to run dry, or you're going to get a healthy dose of what I'm trying that's new at school.

Every new school year brings something new to the equation. This year there's a little more new than most years...but prime among them is a change in the schedule.

What this means for me - in addition to a change to my day-to-day schedule - is I need to change how I plan my day.

I inherited from my mentor teachers in my student teaching year a self-created planning sheet that I've never had to change because 1) I got a job teaching in the very classroom where I student taught, and 2) the schedule hasn't changed all that much in that time.

So for my first time as a teacher (not counting one time where I used a pre-published plan book) I have to develop my own planning sheet.

I was at a loss about how to start, then a friend of mine showed me how he used Excel for his scheduling.

He lent me his template to tweak, and said I could let him know if I had questions.

It couldn't have been any easier.

I divided up the pages into the days of the week, added the slots I needed to plan, and then I filled in the lined space with white color and added the border lines around the cells where I needed breaks. I copied the pages to make them one page, double-sided, and then I put them in my binder.

I love it.

This is one of those weird things that teachers get excited about that is probably not as interesting to other people - each year I love starting with the blank plan book and starting to fill it in with the dates for the year ahead and then each day's plan.

As for Excel - for a long time I thought it was all about changing the size of all of the cells. Turns out, it's really about manipulating the cells as they exist for the way you want to use them.

I'm taking all of this success as a sign that it will be a good school year ahead.