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How to Use a School Planner Effectively

September 3, 2014

DEAR TEACHER: The school wants our young children in elementary school to use planners. However, the teachers have not made very specific recommendations. What should I be looking for? How can I help the children use the planner efficiently? - Need Advice

Answer: The type of planners children use depends upon their grade level. The younger the child, the smaller the planner should be. They do not need heavy, bulky planners. In early elementary school, a planner should have:

- Plenty of space to write down assignments, as younger children usually have large handwriting.

- A front and/or back pocket to bring work home from school and assignments and forms to school.

- A spiral binding so papers will not fall out and be lost.

Depending on a teacher's requirements, it also can be handy to have pages for logging the books a student has read and spelling words.

While planners are helpful organizers, they are not helpful unless used effectively. Here are some ways younger students should use their planners:

- To write down daily assignments.

- To bring work back and forth between home and school.

- To put due dates for projects and reports on a calendar.

For planners to be used effectively, it helps if students take a specific time each week to sort out and file or throw away papers that no longer belong in the planner.

Send questions and comments to Dear Teacher, c/o OV Parent Magazine, 1 N. Illinois St. No. 2004, Indianapolis, IN 46204, or log on to, or email



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