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The Benefits of Using Student Planners

Benefits of Using Student Planners

Plan Your Day, Plan Your Life

We’re all so busy these days! School can seem more like a marathon of busyness than a centre of learning and teaching. Students have a lot going on with outside activities such as sports, dance class, or music lessons. Staying organized is crucial for you and your students. But being organized isn’t innate—it’s a learned skill. Planners help develop that skill, and more, and make sense for everyone—students, teachers, and families.

Students have busy lives and don’t always find it easy to stay on top of their responsibilities at school and home as well as their extracurricular activities. It’s a lot to manage. They’re distracted, often by too many pings and dings from their phones, and find it difficult to focus. All this is happening when they may lack planning and time management skills. If they can’t keep track of assignments and test dates, at the very least, their work and grades will suffer—that’s frustrating for everyone.

A planner is the perfect tool to help students develop and improve:

  • Organizational skills. Students will have a better option for remembering assignments than random slips of paper, sticky notes, or writing on their hands. They will develop the habit of capturing all their tests, projects, and assignments in one centralized location. A planner also provides a great tool to list goals, track progress, and record grades.
  • Strategies to avoid distraction. Planners encourage students to block out time to reach all their goals. It helps them focus on one thing at a time and know that they will have time for everything.
  • Their ability to meet deadlines. Having dates and deadlines recorded in a single place that is easy to access helps students stay on top of due dates.
  • Project skills. A planner is a multi-purpose tool. It can help busy students block out the steps for completing their projects and create a schedule to keep them on track.
  • Time management. Beyond scheduling, students learn, with practice, how to estimate the time they need to accomplish tasks. Their planner is the perfect tool to help them develop this critical skill.
  • Independence. A planner provides a structured approach for meeting commitments and increases students’ accountability. If students use a paper planner, they have the advantage of being able to personalize their planners and let their creativity shine.
  • Their ability to manage stress. Students who master the skills and strategies they learn from their planners will find school stress goes down and grades go up.

Bonus! A planner also helps students make time for activities that will help them be well-rounded and engaged individuals.

Teachers who incorporate planner use—and enforce it!—find they spend less time reminding disorganized students of deadlines and less time pushing deadlines for students who aren’t meeting them. As planner use becomes a habit, students will be better-prepared for class, ultimately getting higher test scores and completing assignments more regularly.

Teachers who champion consistent planner use often see benefits such as:

  • Students meeting deadlines. Teachers know how frustrating it is for them, their students, and students’ families to deal with a student’s inability to meet expectations at school. You know you’re not doing your students any favours by acting as their personal deadline reminder and frequently moving deadlines as a result. A planner is the perfect tool for helping them learn to take responsibility for their commitments.
  • Students who are prepared for class. Imagine a world in which students arrive prepared for class! It could happen, if students use the right tool to keep them on track.
  • Students achieving higher grades. Studies have shown that, overall, students who are well-organized do better in all areas of their lives, including getting better grades, than their less-organized classmates.

Schools have several options for choosing planners based on their curriculum focus or other criteria, such as wellness, faith, or nationalism. Schools that opt for paper planners can enhance them by incorporating school branding, goal trackers, a page finder, or pouches for trapping loose papers—like those notes that go home for a signature but never come back to school.

Student planners don’t dictate how teachers manage their classes—planners, especially paper planners, are adaptable tools. For example, teachers can use their students’ planners as a ticket to leave the classroom by having students demonstrate that they’ve recorded important information (homework reminder, assignment details) before they leave the room. Planners also provide a convenient tool for communicating with home.

Families or caregivers often feel disconnected from students’ school days—they don’t know what their kids are doing, what work they should be doing at home, or when assignments are due. Student planners can help.

Planners help keep families informed.

  • A planner provides a message centre for home-school connection. Being able to see assignments and notes about classroom activities helps parents and caregivers feel they’re part of the place where their children spend a large portion of their time. Knowing what’s expected can help parents support and reinforce the good habits students are developing.
  • Teachers can make quick (or detailed) notes about a student’s performance, request a meeting, or send reminders home.
  • Parents or caregivers can ask about progress or let the teacher know about difficulties the student is encountering.
  • Paper planners can level the playing field for parents or caregivers who are not highly skilled tech users. Even for people accustomed to using computers, it may be difficult to sort out information provided on multiple platforms. Paper planners are an ideal option, one that is easy to access and use.

Perhaps the largest benefit of using student planners is the relief they bring to the stress of the school day by providing a way to manage the feeling of being overwhelmed that busy people often experience. The skills students develop—setting goals, prioritizing, managing time—will help them succeed throughout their academic life and beyond.

Planners are an excellent tool to help our children develop the skills and good habits of managing their time well and staying organized, practices that will support them long after they graduate from your classroom.

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