The Best-Laid Plans for Planners

Behold, the planner: that beautiful portal to a student’s personal organization, that vehicle in which a student will make note of every assignment, every deadline, and every waypoint in order to achieve ultimate academic success. Handled faithfully and with great care, a personal planner or homework planner will be the tool that each of your students relies upon and cherishes over Xbox games, a trip to a Disney theme park, and countless hours of extracurricular sports. In short, the personal planner is your students’ academic salvation, and they will use it judiciously and without fail.

Wait. What? Let’s go back to the real world here for a second. Whether your students are provided with planners or are supposed to supply their own, the fact is that some students will use their planners wisely and others sporadically at best. In fact, an instruction period devoted entirely to best-use practices with student planners should be a prerequisite. Pass the test, get your planner. Fail the test…Well, then you’re in for a rough academic year.

It seems to me that no upper grades student should be without a rugged, easy-to-use student planner and the ability to use it to its fullest potential. Sure, as an upper grades teacher you might provide weekly homework assignment sheets, but this is certainly a time in a student’s academic career when self-reliance and personal organization need to be developed in preparation for what is to come.

Do you (or does your school) provide a planner for your students to use? Is there an alternative method you have in place for students to keep track of their work?

Please share your stories and insights with the class (i.e. the blog readers).

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