• The Intentional Educator Planner


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  • Are you an Intentional Educator?

    Educating with Intention is the daily decision to improve teaching, learning and leading through the purposeful and holistic integration of mindset (the belief that intelligence is malleable and can be developed through dedication and hard work), mindfulness (a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment), and reflective practice (a continuous cycle of self-observation and self-evaluation) in all areas of one’s life.


    To be an Intentional Educator, it is imperative that we bring our best selves to work every day. To educate with intention is to develop our minds, bodies and spirits as we seek to influence those whose lives we touch to join us in doing the same. Thus, I have attempted to incorporate that philosophy into the planner.


    The Intentional Educator Planner is not one-size-fits-all. It is designed to resonate with the educators who share the philosophy behind it, as well as those who share my delight in discovering items that are as aesthetically pleasing as they are functional. It is also meant to be a living, ever-evolving, work-in-progress (as I am), so I would love feedback and suggestions on how it might be tailored to best suit the needs of the amazing educators who use it.


    Is the IE Planner for you?

    • Do you seek to be more present, progressive and innovative in all aspects of your life by setting goals and establishing the habits of mind and disciplines to achieve them?

    • Do you desire to grow personally and professionally?

    • Do you recognize that change and the power to influence begins with you?

    • Do you seek to empower yourself and your students in leading multi-literate and fulfilling lives?

    • Do you enjoy honest reflection and collaborative discourse with those who share similar passions and ambitions?

    • Are you willing to dedicate the time, effort and commitment to lifelong learning and development?

    Planner Features

    The Intentional Educator Planner includes:

    • A clear poly flexible cover*

    • Yearly and monthly prompts to stimulate thoughtful reflection and adequate space to respond

    • Motivational quotations to inspire mindful awareness and intentional practice

    • Monthly calendar view for quick reference (with accommodation for noting alternating day schedules)

    • Weekly/Daily Monday thru Friday lay-flat view with full-sized lined columns and rows to record lesson topics and ideas for 5 classes and after-school or club activities

    • Monthly “looking back” & “looking forward” pages with introspective prompts and self-assessment activities to support holistic professional and personal growth

    • Areas to record notes, tasks, and reminders

    • Areas to note your actionable goals and intentions

    • A handy pocket folder

    • Access to printable checklists & forms

    • A placeholder ribbon for quick access to the day's lesson

    • An open invitation to participate in an online professional learning network (PLN) of intentional educators with whom to share, grow and learn

    The Herstory-

    How the planner came to be

    Since kindergarten, the idea of returning to school in September has always filled me with the anticipation and promise of a new academic year. As a student, I couldn't wait to shop for new school supplies. I loved choosing new pens, pencils, and especially notebooks that would hold my thoughts and ideas. Even now as an educator, these items, such as staplers, tape dispensers, desk calendars, and file organizers that make an empty desk come alive, continue to excite me. All of them bring me joy each year--purchasing them and using them. Yet, the one item that is indispensable to all teachers - the lesson planner - has never brought me joy, neither to purchase nor to use.


    Every September, my school would gift each teacher with a generic green combination planning, attendance and grades recording book. Besides being ugly to look at, the plan book was not functional for me. The layout did not match the way I planned my day - the spaces were never big enough, the pages allotted for attendance and grades were unnecessary as those things were done online, and the format of the weekly and daily layout and did not coordinate well with my school day. In addition, there was no room to jot down additional thoughts which meant that my book was always filled with post-it notes and I was forced to carry several notepads to keep track of all that could not be captured in the cookie-cutter planner.


    After trying to make it work, I would usually chuck the one they gave us by November and buy a day planner from my local supply store. Suffice it to say, these planners were poorly designed for full-time teachers. So, one day I decided to create a planner for myself that would reflect the structure of my teaching day and would also incorporate the holistic way I viewed myself as a person and an educator--a busy, mindful, multi-faceted, reflective high school teacher and department chairperson who teaches several classes, advises multiple after school clubs and leads the English department--and that's exactly what I did. I designed the pages, included a folder, had them bound, and used it as my own. Several teachers I work with noticed it and asked me to make plan books for them as well. After a few years of receiving many positive comments and requests to make copies for my colleagues, I decided to create and publish the Intentional Educator Planner.


    With so much of our documenting, note-taking and unit planning composed digitally, pretty soon we may not use hand-written day planners. I currently keep my yearly unit plans online. However, the Intentional Educator Planner is unique in that it is designed for those of us, like myself, who are also comfortable with an offline planner that can be held in our hands, placed on our desks and taken from class to class. And is always accessible even without wifi. It is also for those who take pleasure in jotting ideas and recording reminders or lesson reflections immediately on paper. As educators, I believe that best practice will never simply be about the product or program we use to record or store our plans, but it will always be about who we are as practitioners, the time and commitment we make to planning and the professional learning that occurs when we engage in thoughtful conversations and reflection with others who desire to educate with intention.


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    Nicolette A. James



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