Bullet Journal: Back to School Teacher Planner and Bullet Journal Setup (Year)

GRWM: Bullet Journal Teacher Planner Style!

bullet journal teacher planner

Get ready with me for the new school year! I love my bullet journal for keeping my general life focused and for daily morning pages; however, I am going to try to also use a bullet journal for my teacher planning this year. I end up always writing my teacher plans, dreams, and schemes all over the place. This could be in countless random notebooks, my personal bullet journal, and on my little clipboards. My goal is to put all of these things in one location-including my meeting notes-so the end of the year reflection will be easier and I will stay more organized. I also want to take much of my teacher planning out of my personal bullet journal and use that more for life goals, personal reflections, and other writing projects. I recently posted my August Plan With Me for my personal bullet journal, and if you don’t know where to start, here are some amazing Teacher Bullet Journals to follow on my Bullet Journal Round-Up Post. It is important to note that my spreads in this post are not all the way filled in yet. Once our calendar/contract are finalized, I can add in some dates and marking period cut-offs to my schedules. Also, like in my classroom, I like to leave some things blank because I find that there is something about filling things in as you go that is part of the bullet journal process. I think it encourages reflection at the end of one marking period to stop and reflect, and then go on to plan the next six weeks. I will post these as they are updated throughout the year.

Grab a notebook.

Any notebook will do. I love dot grid, and I particularly love the Decomposition Book dot grid that they recently came out with on their site and in stores. The pages do have some ghosting with ink, but overall, I like the ability to fold a spiral-bound notebook over in a meeting. I love this color because it reminds of the color I just repainted my office with at home. The blue is calming and reminds me of water.


Find your focus for the year.

My focus this year is to build empathy and drive passion for my students’ reading. I wanted to put these two goals on the first page of my journal because this has to be a daily reminder. With all of the hustle of the school year and everything that comes with it, it is too easy to get distracted. I also like to leave myself things that make me happy. You will find these little “happiness booby-traps” at the front and the back of my binder. If I am having a rough day, I can look at a fun picture of me and my husband, the movie ticket stubs I kept, or a thank you note that was extra special from the end of last year.

Start with a yearly layout.

I love this because once my schedule gets finalized I can layout my year. Right now, I am looking at conferences each month and looking to see how often I may be pulled out of class. I like to try to balance this early on in the year so I can work my units around the schedule. I like to also look at my year-at-a-glance pages for each prep that I have assigned to me that year. This year I only have two preps, and I am working on filling in my plans each marking period. I can’t necessarily go off of what happened last year because we had so many snow days.

Narrow down a weekly routine.

You may have a varied routine and you may have more time with your students. I need a solidified routine for middle-schoolers and sixth-grade. We will start each day with independent reading time and conferences, and then we will have other things that have designated times. The weekly routine establishes what are my items that are non-negotiable? Currently, they are:

  1. Independent Reading

  2. Mentor Text Work on Mondays

  3. Weekly Precepts

  4. Homework Tuesday to Tuesday

  5. Writing Into the Day (From C3WP and the National Writing Project)

  6. Library

  7. Weekly Read Aloud

  8. Friday Free Write


Setup space for each marking period or unit.

I wanted to dedicate a certain number of pages for each marking period. Right now, I have 11 or so pages for each 6 week unit. My hope is that this will include planning, meeting notes, and reflections. If I run over, I always have a notebook on hand, but I want to be purposeful with my space in terms of planning. The most important part of this section are the last two pages. I want to keep a record of what I would change for next year all in one place and look at how each marking period is going in terms of the actual instruction in class, and also other areas like my goals and self-care.

Leave space for life.

I can foresee this being a place for my writing club planning this year or other meeting notes that pop up. I also attend multiple parent meetings and this could be a good overflow space. My last page is like the front cover of my journal…a place for happiness to live. I have included some cards and pictures that mean a lot to me for the days that come when I need a break from frustration or exhaustion.

You may also have other pages that you need to put in your journal. Some teachers love to have a parent-contact log, attendance, or other types of pages. I don’t want these in my planning journal this year because I have other systems for these areas. These last few pages would be a great place to customize your journal to fit your needs.

Before I close out this post, you may be wondering how I submit my plans to my building if I am using a bullet journal. I am one of those people that has a tendency to over plan. I like to dream in a notebook, write all my plans down, enter them into a weekly format, and then submit a more formal lesson plan to my administrators. I have used every single electronic form of planning that you can think of on the internet. Unfortunately, this is one of those time-suckers that I am trying to resolve in the 2019-2020 school year. Right now, I plan on doing my dreaming in my teacher bullet journal and then doing my lesson plan submission through a spreadsheet on Google Sheets. Make a copy of my spreadsheet here. I am going to resubmit the same document over the course of the marking period. I also only have to share one time with my teacher cadet and my co-teacher for them to have access to plans.

teacher planner

Writing Mindset Reflection: How do you setup your planning each year? What plans do you submit to administrators? How do you sneak reminders of happiness into your routine?