I struggle every school year to find the perfect teacher planner. I scour the internet looking at all the layouts, covers, and customizations, only to end up paying WAY too much for a planner that doesn’t perfectly fit my needs. In the past I have used one from Target, Erin Condren, and Happy Planner. This year, I tackled making a custom teacher planner so that I could design it to be EXACTLY how I wanted. Here’s how I made it happen! I’ve included affiliate links to the products I used to customize, print, and bind my teacher planner.
I’m very picky when it comes to my planner cover. I know that truly it doesn’t matter – but in my mind, I’m going to be looking at this everyday for the next 180 days so I want it to be perfect! Of course, I searched and searched for teacher planner cover designs, digital papers, etc. and finally found one I loved on etsy. I actually used the plain layout meant for the back of the planner as my cover. I did this so that I could add my name and own design to the bottom using powerpoint.
My biggest suggestion is to be creative – use any designs you like, regardless if it’s meant to be a teacher planner cover or not! Pictured below are some of mine. I also used this same method to create other notebooks for my classroom using my 90’s-themed binder covers.
To laminate the planner cover, I used 5 mil lamination. This is thicker than normal lamination (which is 3 mil) so it’s much sturdier. I used my personal scotch laminator and it worked perfectly! Click the picture to head to Amazon and see the laminating sheets I used.
Next, I needed to figure out how I was binding my teacher planner together. The options I came up with included: a three-ring binder, binding it at an office supply store, and the Happy Planner Paper Punch. I went with the third option, but they all would work just as well! For me, it’s important to have the ability to constantly take pages out and add new pages in, and the Happy Planner Punch gave me that option. I feel like the punch has it’s paid for itself already! I ordered mine on Amazon, but you can get one from pretty much any craft store. It’s important to note that they do come in different sizes (just like the Happy Planner). I got the BIG size, with 11 holes because I like full size planners. Use whichever one suits your needs!
This paper punch works with planner discs. I used my discs from an old Happy Planner, but you can buy the discs in lots of different colors from amazon as well! *Note that the discs come in different sizes too, depending on how many pages you will have in your planner.
3. Monthly Dividers
After I made my covers, and figured out how I was binding my teacher planner together, I started on the montly dividers. I created covers and printed each one on cardstock so that it was sturdy. You could laminate these as well, I just chose not to! I simply printed in color, then hole punched the left side of each page.
Then, I added tabs to each monthly divider so that I could easily flip through. I used Avery Self-Adhesive Tabs (shown in the picture below). Note that these come white and completely blank! I printed the names of each month on the tabs, as well as inserted a colored background.
After printing, I stuck the tabs to my monthly divider pages. I stacked the pages up as I put the dividers on so that I could make sure everything was aligned and that they didn’t overlap. Here’s what it looked like after I attached all the tabs!
4. Inside Planner Pages
Last, but most importantly, I created the actual pages that would complete my custom teacher planner. I used a mix of editable pages from this editable teacher binder, and my own pages. This just goes to show that if you have a vision, or a color scheme for your teacher planner – you can make it happen! You just have to be willing to put in some time to customize. For example, this “year at a glance” page was just a plain page, but I added a background to match my cover and changed all the colors to match my color scheme.
Similarly, I knew I wanted a weekly layout, and I wanted lots of room to write my tasks and to-do lists each week. This part is TOTALLY preference! Some people love a vertical layout, some teachers just use their weekly lesson plan layout – it totally depends on what you like. That’s the beauty of creating your own custom teacher planner! Pictured below is the weekly layout that I came up with (shoutout to HP Instant Ink too, because I printed alllll my pages and never once ran out of ink! You can read all about my love for HP Instant Ink here):
And that’s it! I used the same weekly layout for every month of the school year. Some months have different colors (for December I changed the colors to red & green, etc.) but the layout remained consistent throughout! I love the fact that I can take out pages throughout the year, and add in new ones as I see fit. I will add a gradebook section to the back as well once I have my class roster!