The 2018 Simplified Planner Review

The 2018 Weekly, Simplified Planner, Happy Stripe are now available!  With the new year, we could all use a new planner.  I was asked to review the 2018 Emily Ley Simplified Planner.  planner and give feedback.  First, let me say, I am immediately drawn to the beautiful designs. The color choices and simplistic design are absolutely amazing.  Each year, I have to admit is better and better.

Before I go any further in this review, this post contains my completely honest thoughts.  I only review products I believe in.

Images provided by Emily Ley

Academic Agenda, Daily or Weekly by Emily Ley
Let's talk price for a minute.  I know we could all get a planner at Staples, Target, and even our local Wal-mart for a lot cheaper.  But the quality of the Simplified Planner will make it well-worth the investment.  Trust me, there are a lot of planners out there.  I've tried many of them myself.  I'm notorious for buying one and then trading it for another.  But the Simplified Planner gets my attention every single time.

Emily Ley is the designer of the Simplified Planners.  She mentions on her website how much these are a labor of love.  She puts her heart and soul into creating these planners.  She wants them to be perfect for us.  Emily will tell you her brand is meant to inspire women of all ages to build joy and simplicity into their lives.  The collection of her planners are built on the simple and classic style using fresh and playful colors.  




I will share a little about the two formats that Emily offers in her planners.  Let's take a look at the features.

When it arrives, you will feel extra special.  It comes in a navy blue keepsake box!  I kid you not!  The planners come out only twice a year.  There is an August-July and a January-December version.  There is plenty of space for schedules, to-do, notes, and extra white space.  Oh, I almost forgot there is a pocket inside the front cover to keep all your loose notes tucked away.



DAILY EDITION
7 x 9 inches (1.25 inches thick)
Thick, 70lb., pure white Mohawk Via paper
Space for schedule, to-do, notes and meals
One day per page + shared weekend pages
Full month views
Hourly schedule from 6am to 9pm
Monthly Simplicity Tips
Simple color throughout
Colorful stickers
Gold, sturdy wire-o binding
Hard cover with gold foil details
Protective gold corners
Navy interior
Pocket inside the front cover
Colorful, sturdy mylar tabs
Navy + gold keepsake box





WEEKLY EDITION FEATURES:

6 x 8 inches (.75 inches thick)
Thick, 70lb., pure white Mohawk Via paper
Space for schedule, to-do, notes and meals
One week per two-page-spread
Full month views
36 notes pages in the back
Monthly Simplicity Tips
Simple color throughout
Colorful stickers
Lay-flat book binding
Hard cover with gold foil details
Protective gold corners
Navy interior
Pocket inside the front cover
Colorful, sturdy mylar tabs
Navy + gold keepsake box





If you love the planner, there are tons of accessories to match.  


Some of the links posted here are affiliate links.  There is no cost to you, but if you purchase, I receive some products or small commission.  For that, I am truly grateful.  Again, I only review products I truly believe in.  

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Motivational Teams: Students Helping Students

Do you have a group of students who you have tried practically everything under the sun to inspire, motivate, and get a handle on the discipline?  I have experienced this over the years too.  I really don't think it has anything to do with the students.  I believe there are years where things work and some years when it just doesn't.

This year, I have implemented something just about every month.  Not everything will work, and I've come to terms with that.   However, I want to share a teambuilding idea with you.  I'm starting to see some progress.  Let me preface this by saying this team approach is inspired by my district's athletic director.  I can't even begin to take credit for this fascinating idea.  

Before we begin, take a quick minute and watch this video that I've wanted to share with you for a few weeks.  If you follow me on social media, I shared a quote that has stuck with me for several weeks.

What if a student's behavior turned out to be their greatest gift in life?  - Principal Principles

 Just what if... What if the behaviors we try and change are the same behaviors we admire and encourage in adults.


Take a look at the video and be inspired.




A single moment in time can change a person's life.


The video and both quotes have both sparked my determination to look at discipline in a different way.  Here are a few of my beliefs so you also know my stance on discipline.

1.  I believe in supporting teachers by handling discipline.
2.  I believe in being proactive and setting procedures in place to prevent negative behaviors.
3.  I believe in positive behavior supports to encourage leadership in students, as well as, helping students to be more self-disciplined.

MOTIVATIONAL TEAMS: STUDENTS HELPING STUDENTS



I have a very competitive group of students this year.  Therefore, I can see success on the horizon.  I am implementing this plan with the 5th graders on the campus.  As we all know, fifth and six grade can be a bit taxing for students, parents, and staff.  They are upper-classmen in elementary and entering junior high/middle school.

HOW IT WORKS:

We divided the grade level into teams.  We ended up with 9 teams.  Each team has about 7 to 8 students.  How you divide it up would depend on your class numbers.  Teammates are from mixed classes since we are departmentalized in 5th.  I did this purposefully to instill a sense of family and an opportunity to build relationships outside their homeroom class.  

Each group named their team and picked a team captain. The team captain can change each week or month to allow each member to showcase their leadership.  The teams wear a color bracelet to identify their team easily, quickly, and again to build a bond.  

The wristbands were purchased from 24hourwristband.com
I ordered 90 wristbands for around $60.  The order arrived within 2-3 days.  

Each team begins with 500 points.  Students receive points throughout the day, week, and month.  They can also lose points as well.  For example, students can earn a point for completing homework, receiving a positive compliment from someone on campus, etc... They can lose points by not completing assignments in class or homework, receiving an office referral, etc... The students were given a list of ways to earn or ways points will be taken away.  Students need to know the expectations.  Each group will have a team meeting every Monday to check their point status and discuss ways to improve.  We can easily track their points using a google spreadsheet.  

Each team member could earn multiple points each day or lose them as well.  The google spreadsheet will update as the points are entered or subtracted.  We decided to go with this kind of system since we all have Macbooks (even our students).  We can easily access the shared file and update the points.  This process has started to work well with cafeteria behavior too.  


Note: The color at the top represents each team and their bracelet color too.  

REWARDS

We will reward highest scoring team each month with pizza and time in the campus game room.  If you have the need to implement a weekly reward system, I would say go for it.  I'm going month-by-month for our system.

This year we created a Hawk's Nest.  Our mascot is a hawk.  The game room has a pingpong table, foosball table, electronic gaming system with projector, and many more items.  It is one of the most exciting places on campus.  All the items were donated by the community.  


SMALL SUCCESSES

Since we were just getting a taste of this before Christmas break, I don't have any data to show that this will work for you or even for me for the remainder of the year.  However, I do know that we are all determined to do whatever it takes to help our students be successful.  I do have one success story to share with you though.  A student was behind in turning in his assignments.  He had 4 incomplete or missing assignments.  His team met and helped him locate these assignments and got him caught up.  They discussed ways to stay organized plus they all encouraged him to have all assignments completed on time.  The group ended up giving up their free time and went to study hall to help one another (By the way, this was their choice).  To me...that is a great moment.  Anytime I see student leadership and success I know we are on to something great.  

VIDEO AND QUOTES

The video and the two quotes are perfect for the vision and culture of my school.  Always remember a single moment in time can change a person's life.  I hope to live a life of significance, not just a life of success.  I hope to create a school where we see the best in our students.  A school where we believe in our students.
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STAAR Organization- A Tool That Works!

I'm going to start off by prefacing STAAR testing is not fun for anyone.  I can't sugar coat it.  It is what it is.  If you are not familiar with Texas assessments, here is a quick introduction.  We have our own state standards called the TEKS.  We are not a common core state.  During each school year, our students take state assessments beginning in third grade.  The results of the tests will determine our campus and district accountability rating.  That's the basic explanation.

In order to state on top of all the requirements, I must stay organized.  I have found a few shortcuts over the years to help me.  One that is my go-to is the accommodations flipbook.  I have to admit I got smart this year and recreated it in Google.  Texas loves to change the rules of the game so much that making it in Google gave me the liberty to make a revision without redoing all the other pages in the process.


Download

YOU WILL BE ASKED TO MAKE A COPY IN ORDER TO PROTECT THE ORIGINAL.

Printing and Assembly Recommendations

1.  Print on Astrobrite cardstock.
2.  Place in the order you want to assemble your own book.
3.  Cut tabs.






HOW I USE IT

I take this accommodation book with me to meetings- ARD (special education), grade level, and RtI.  My counselor oversees 504, but if I need to attend this meeting I could bring the copy with me as well.  A copy is always on my desk.  I can quickly scan it to be sure the accommodation is allowable.  We want a fair advantage for our students, so it is important to me to stay organized.  

Would love to hear how you stay organized for state testing.

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