I know it is Thursday, but I have never really been good with working on a schedule. (I am not the teacher that has a unit outline and homework to give my kids at the start of each week, because how the heck am I going to know where we are in five days let alone one?) So forgive me this fault of posting my Made4Math Monday on Thursday.
Anyway, I’ve posted about this each year. I figure I’ll do it again. My school has a rotating schedule, where we meet kids four times a week (50 minutes each). We’ve had this schedule for the five years I’ve been teaching at my school, and I still don’t know it by heart. I have gotten the class period start-end times down, but which class I’m meeting when is always a mystery. Also, with my brain, scheduling meetings with kids is something that has to happen in my planner so I don’t double book.
To help me out, I designed and published my own 88-page weekly planner. A copy of my weekly schedule for 2012-2013 is below (missing, of course, the 10th grade team meeting, the two “duties” I will be assigned, math club, and the weekly meetings I have to schedule with the other Calculus and the other Pre-Calculus teacher… so don’t be so jealous of all the free time… it’s really not there.)
The cover for the planner is:
What’s nice is after my first year, there were a few other people who wanted to order planners too, so I have put up a blank planner (meaning: without my classes inputted in them) for them to buy. I don’t make any money off it or anything.
How I Made & Ordered Them
In order to make them, I had to use Adobe InDesign, which I had never used (the school laptops which we are issued come with it already installed). So I spent hours, years ago, making the original grid, picking the fonts, and working on the design.  But those hours were worth it, because even though bits and pieces change each year, I have been super happy with the look of it. (I created the file to be A4 paper size, because I wanted it to be slightly bigger than regular paper so I could slip a sheet of regular paper in there without it sticking out.) Then you convert your file to PDF. Just remember: if you’re going to design your own, make sure you have a blank sheet before you start your calendar pages. This way the entire week will be on facing pages.
So after I made the planner, I used lulu.com to order it. You just upload your PDF and specify what you want. I get saddle stitch (fancy way of saying heavy-duty staples). Designing your cover on lulu is really annoying — their “cover wizard” is difficult as all heck to use. But even if you order a black and white planner (as I do), a color cover comes with it. And if you are a photo person, you can have a photo background! Each year, the price of printing between $7-$9. With shipping it comes to around $15 plus or minus a few bucks.
And viola! Your own fancy planner!
How I Use It
I basically just use it to schedule my time. A page from my planner from two years ago:
Also, because of my horrible brain, I require kids to email me to set up a meeting. I’ll have none of the coming up to me after class asking to set up a meeting (usually I have to run to another class, so that doesn’t work for me), or accosting me in the halls. I simply don’t know when I’m free. So they email me with all their free periods for three days and I find the first common free that works for both of us. (Usually it is the next day… rarely I have to go a couple days in the future, if our schedules are so opposite.)
And that’s it! My planner, from creation to use.
 You simply need to upload a PDF file to lulu.com to get it published, so if you are good with Word, you could even create something nice in there!