The Benefits of Using a Traditional Paper and Pencil Planner

Today, as part of our “Planning for a New School Year Week,” we are going to talk about a traditional paper and pencil planner. Tomorrow we’ll chat about another option: digitizing your lessons and plans.  Be sure to come back tomorrow to see the differences between these two strategies and weigh in with your own opinion on the matter!


The Benefits of Using a Traditional Paper and Pencil Planner

A lesson plan book is a very important item to every teacher. This is where the daily planning is recorded, or where creativity is organized. My lesson plan book is very important to me, it helps me stay organized at work. I also am an advocate for using a planner to help me stay organized personally.

The great thing about technology is the ability to keep your calendar with you at all times. Your calendar can be synched up to your phone and or e-mail. I love this feature of my smart phone and I use it for appointments and important events. But an electronic calendar doesn’t meet all my needs like a good old fashioned paper planner does.

Each year I purchase the same brand of planner. I have tried others, but none compare to the House of Doolittle Recycled Weekly Academic Planner since 2001. (Check out their website here) This brand of planner can be found at various colleges around the country. I started using them when I was in college. Every June since, I have driven to the local University bookstore to get a new one every June. Here is a photo of my last four planners. (Apparently I like blue and black!)


The House of Doolittle planner has thick pages so I can use funky colored markers and it won’t bleed through. At the top of the page for each week there is an inspirational quote or a word with definition. There is adequate amount of room to write for each day and the planner is small enough to carry around if you choose.


Look at the quote at the top of the page. “To know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived, that is to have succeeded.” Ralph Waldo Emerson. Isn’t this a perfect quote for back to school?


Here are 6 different ways to use a planner to help you personally and professionally:
1. Planners help create a visual layout of your week. You can look and see what activities or obligations you have Monday through Sunday.

2. You can record daily or weekly appointments, memories, quotes or goals.

3. Cross off your goals once you accomplish them. There is nothing better than going back through your planner to see how successful you have been.

4. They help you remember events that happened in your life on any particular day. They are excellent references.

5. You can write professional obligations on your calendar and personal obligations so they’re all in one location. For example, I write what night conference are in my lesson plan book and my planner. I also write the end of the quarter dates in my planner so I can be sure I don’t schedule doctor’s appointments or other days off near those days.

6. Planners allow you to doodle. Buy funky markers and add color and drawings to your days. My favorite pens to use in my planner are the Staedtler Triplus Fineliner 0.3 mm pens.


Even with the benefits of technology at my fingertips, am still sold on the old fashioned planner for some of my personal and professional needs. How about you?

Do you use a traditional paper and pencil planner?

Do you have a favorite brand of planner?

Cassidy Reinken

This article was written by former AOE writer and life-long learner, Cassidy Reinken.


  • I create my own planner pages that are customized to each day of my week. I block out my schedule with enough room to make notes to myself about what we are working on that day. I keep my main lesson plan in folders that I tuck into my plan book(which is just a really big binder) I can put samples, worksheets, info, etc… into the folder to save from year to year.  At the end of the school year I take out all the lesson plan folders to file in my file cabinet and hand in my daily pages to the office.

  • Ibarracmar

    I love my New York Public Library student planner.  The physical act of writing things down helps me remember what I need to do.  It also provides a place to jot down meeting notes and doodle.

    • Glad to see I’m not the only one who uses a student planner.  Maybe I like the student planner because it makes me feel like I am in college again!

      • Cassidy,
        I used the exact same planner in college (imagine that) and I kind of miss it. Seeing the open page brought back memories for me, isn’t that funny now nostalgic something like a planner can be?

  • I am
    totally a paper person. I need to physically write things down to remember
    them. I was using this
    planner for a long time, because I could easily customize it for an art
    schedule, but this year, I just made my own. I’m excited to see how it

  • I actually do a paper and pencil version of my lessons plans each week, but have a goal to digitize as much as possible. Here is a link to my daily planner, for those who are interested:

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