Organized Charm

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Ordering a Plum Paper Planner

I recently ordered my second Plum Paper Planner, which I am SO excited about!! For the past two years, I’ve been using Passion Planner (which I loved), but I was just ready for a change (and some color)!

The thing that originally drew me to Plum Planner was a glowing review from a good friend (who knows a lot about planners). She said she switched from the Erin Condren to the Plum Planner, and couldn’t be happier!

I finally decided I was ready to make the switch, too! So I went to the website, just to check it out. 

Buuuut I ended up ordering one! 

Here’s how the process went:

Designing the Cover

I LOVE it that you can choose your own cover design! I spent hours quite a while playing the game of “this one or this one” between the beautiful designs! After that, I added a monogram (yay!) and the year (school year, because #teacherlife).

Having a pretty cover was something I missed after two years of black Passion Planners. I so love the sleekness of PP, but I NEED ALL THE COLOR, PLEASE!

Choosing the Weekly Layout

This was, by far, my favorite feature! I LOVE all of the different layouts that are available for Plum Planner! I’m a vertical layout girl, but they also have horizontal layouts. Most planners stop at asking horizontal or vertical, but not Plum Planner!

Next, I needed to choose just how I wanted the days laid out: Did I want Morning, Afternoon, Evening? Did I want Hourly? Did I want Blank Columns? And then, I saw it… the most wonderful of all things planner-y: The ME Layout!

This layout allows you to add up to seven category of your very own to your planner! Perfect for keeping up with separate college classes or moms who have kids with busy schedules!

This is my favorite thing to see on a planner because it means it will work for anyone! I made it flexible for my upcoming work/maternity leave/work school year! I also used this feature to create a hybrid of all of my favorite planners!

Here are the seven categories I chose:

-Daily Focus: Like Passion Planner, a place for a step towards my goal.

-Cash: Our SON, who will be here in October! A place to track his progress and eventually schedule “Cash Care” when I go back to work.

-Morning: Appointments, deadlines, holidays, meetings, & school-related things.

-Afternoon: Checklists, cleaning schedule, errands, faculty meetings, & workouts.

-Evening: Baby to do’s, dinner, & Junior League events/meetings/obligations.

-Night: Baby stuff (feeding/sleeping patterns), Friend stuff (celebrations/dates)

(My husband made fun of including both “evening” and “night”, but I think they’ll be useful! We’ll see J)

-Best Things: Best things that happened each day!

UPDATE: I'm now on my second Plum Planner, and for this one I chose the hourly layout. It's awesome, and I like it even more than the categories! 

Choose any add-ons

I just went with 10 note pages in the back of the planner (because I love lists!).

And that’s it! It was super easy (aside from making the decisions) and quick! I love how many times they let you re-check/preview your order before you place it! And I love the options for add-ons at the end (SO. MANY. CHOICES.)!

I started using it last August and I couldn't be happier!! :) 

Have you tried Plum Paper Planner before? What did you love/not love about it? Also, and this is important, what kind of pens work best in it?! 

Follow Organized Charm on Instagram for planner pics and productivity tips!

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Creating an Online Vision Board

“I’m going to speak to a group of women today.” said my mom. 

“I had it on my vision board. And in the picture, the audience was even a group of women!”

Although a vision board sounds like something that I would be all about, it’s something that I had never done until this year! 

Over the summer, I did a lot of planning and goal setting. I reevaluated longterm goals, wrote to-do lists for short term goals, and knew exactly what I wanted for the upcoming school year. However, I always thought vision boards were a little… cheesy. 

Then I found this website, Dream It Alive. I liked that I could create the board online, instead of dragging out scissors, glue, and a stack of old magazines. I also really liked that it gives you a checklist of different areas of your life (much like Feng Shui), so that your dreams/goals can be balanced! 

Once you choose an area of life, you follow the link to several stock photos that could represent what you envision for yourself. OR you can upload your own… which I probably would do next time. 

Goal Writing
For each photo, you write a short goal 1-3 sentences. Then you do what is possibly my favorite part: You select the feeling/emotion you will feel upon completion of this goal. I like this exercise because I have never thought about that before. 

Why is this goal important to me? What emotion will I feel once I’ve completed it? It really helped to put things in perspective. Then you can select whether your goal is private or public. I set all of mine to private, just because it felt weird to have them public. 

(I don’t mind sharing with you, though!)

Board Arrangement
I tried and tried, but I couldn’t find a way to rearranged the photos once they were on my board. They will “stack” from the bottom right corner and end at the top left corner. If you complete all 10 categories, your layout will stack in this order:

-Bottom Row: Right Corner, Middle, Left Corner
-Middle Row: Right Side, Right Middle, Left Middle, Left Side
-Top Row: Right Corner, Middle, Left Corner

I tell you this because I deleted and remade it a ton of times to get my photos in the order I wanted :)

Once you have your board, you can save/download it etc. for a small fee. Or you can just keep it on the website (for free) and go back anytime you want. You have your own account, which allows you to edit your board whenever you need to. 

You can even mark goals as “fulfilled” and keep a list of accomplished dreams, which I really like!

I definitely feel like seeing these goals every day is keeping me focused! :) 

Have you ever created a vision board? Did you choose online or a physical one at your home? Did you feel like it helped you reach your goals?!

Saturday, July 7, 2018

My Weekly Lesson Planning Process

I recently received a request on how I lesson planning each week. I was really excited, and a little disappointed in myself for not thinking of it first! I LOVE lesson planning and I LOVE the lesson planning process that I’ve developed over the years! I’m so happy to share it! 

I’ll start “big” and go “small”, so that everything makes more sense :) 

1. I Look at Our Pacing Guides:

-Reading/Language Arts (4 days a week): Open Court
-Math (4 days a week): Everyday Math
-Handwriting (3 days a week): Handwriting Without Tears

*For writing, I use the writing checklist journal pages from One Sharp Bunch, she follows the Lucy Calkins writing curriculum. 

*As a Kindergarten team, we do a monthly “Artist Study,” where we study (you guessed it) a different artist every month! (example: September, Matisse... October, Picasso...)

*One day a week, we have “Discovery,” which is where each Kindergarten class rotates through all three Kindergarten classrooms and do a different activity in each one. For this, we either use articles from National Geographic Kids or a cute idea from Pinterest :) 

2. We Meet as a Team:
We meet as a team to plan once a week, while our classes are in P.E. and I am so proud to say that we get our planning for the upcoming week done in 45 minutes (and maybe a little chit chatting)! We schedule our lessons and come up with reading & math workshop ideas. 

During this time, we also plan any upcoming events ("Halloween party" or "Valentine’s Day crafts"). We usually spend some of this meeting time browsing Pinterest and looking through binders/notebooks of what was done last year. Then everyone’s ready to plan!

3. It's Time to Plan:
Once we’ve discussed the pacing guides and chosen the crafty stuff, it’s time to actually fit it into the schedule. Everyone goes back to their classes and the real fun begins! It’s time to fit these lessons into our daily schedules. This is usually pretty simple (except when it's not). 

4. I Make a Weekly Plan:
You know all those cute, traditional lesson planners with the square grids that come out every summer? Yeah, those don’t work at our school. We joke that “no two days at our school are the same” but in reality, no two days at our school are the same. 

It’s more like a college schedule, and it looks a little different every day! Our kids to go 12 specials a week. Yes, you read that right: 12! They LOVE it that they are old enough to walk across campus to Art or P.E. like the "big kids". Here was our specials schedule last year:

-Mondays: Science & Spanish
-Tuesdays: Music & P.E.
-Wednesdays: Chapel, Technology & Spanish
-Thursdays: Music & Library
-Fridays: Chapel, P.E. & Art

So, I created a different kind of lesson planning sheet specifically for our schedule. It has been a TREMENDOUS help! Once I get everything plugged in there, I begin typing out daily schedules. The daily schedule is like our “flight plan” and keeps us on track for the day!

5. I Type Out a Daily Schedule:
On the daily schedule, I include things like: “finish art journals during free choice” and “Grey check out at 2:45,” as well as normal daily stuff like “morning meeting,” “calendar,” “snack,” and "lunch." I carry this around on a clipboard all day and pencil in changes as needed. 

So that (in a nutshell) is my planning process! If it seems super interesting, I’ll go into more detail in another post! For this next year, I’m working on color-coding each subject on the schedule and the storage containers that its materials are stored in. (priorities)

Until I started teaching, I never realized that lesson planning looks different at every school! 

What does lesson planning look like at your school? Are your days really consistent or do they look like “college schedules?”

Share your process below and follow @organizedcharm on Instagram :) 
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