Monday, July 29, 2013

Erin Condren Teacher Planner Review -- Updated May 2016

Scroll down to see how previous planners held up, and new pictures of the 2016-2017 planner. This is my personal review (pros and cons) of the Erin Condren Teacher Planner. 

I first saw these planners on my friend's computer.  When she told me they were $60,  I said, "There is no way I'm going to pay that much for a teacher planner!  That's just ridiculous!"  (But, really in my head, I'm thinking, "Ohhhh that's really pretty!  I'm sure there's some way I can justify spending that much!")

Then, my friend tells me there's a 25% off teacher appreciation discount for the month of May.  "Well $45 is still a lot, but it is super cute."

She goes on to tell me a teacher she knows had one last year, and it has everything you need in one place.  It has an absent log, a grade book, a calendar, a lesson planner, etc.

Within 5 minutes I'm in my own classroom picking out my planner.  (I'm a shopaholic). We convinced each other it was worth it to buy one, and we bought them together to save on shipping.  Shipping is a little pricey.

It took a few weeks to get it in the mail, but when I saw that pretty box sitting on my porch, I literally squealed with joy!


Okay, now for the actual review!

The Cover
 
Pros: You can customize your cover.  It's also covered with a very thick laminate.
  Cons: After less than a month, my front cover started to get a small air bubble on the top left corner.  


Tabs
Pros: The colorful tabs come in handy.
Cons: They cover up date circles that need to be filled in on the calendar.


 Information Page
Isn't it pretty?!
  

Events and Sub Pages
I'll use the volunteers page for sure!


Dates
Pros: It's a great list of holidays and celebrations!
Cons: It's not year specific.  For example, Memorial Day says, "(last Sunday)" and Good Friday says, "(March or April)."


Birthdays
Pros: All of your student/staff birthdays in one spot! -- I love this!


Absent Log
There are 6 pages total.
Pros: Great way to keep your own documentation!


Graph Paper
There are 8 pages total.
Pros: Great spot to track student data!


Year at a Glance
Pros: Good for unit planning or important dates.


Calendar
Pros: There are cute quotes at the top of each month, and there are two full pages for notes after each month!

Cons: You have to fill in the dates.  Some of the date circles are covered by laminate tabs, so this makes it tricky.  You have to use a pen that won't bleed on the paper and a permanent marker on the tab.  I butchered my January dates. :(


Lesson Plans
There are 40 pages.  Each one is a two-page spread.
Pros: The removable bookmark/ruler will keep your place for the week.


Grade Book/Check List
It comes with 14 pages, and you can order more pages for an extra fee.
Pros:  You can fold the name section over each time, so you only have to write your students names once.

Cons: It cost an extra $10 for 56 pages, and I will have to white-out the "Emergency Kit" tab that is on EVERY page.


Notes
There are 10 pages.


Stickers!!


Pros: You get a whole bunch of colorful stickers!!!  There are even blank ones to make your own.
Cons: There are too many of the stickers I will never use and not enough of the stickers I will use.


2-Sided Folder
  Pros: It holds my EZ Grader. :)

Cons: Stuff could easily fall out if you're not careful, and the top part of the pockets are a little bent and frayed.  (Not a huge deal, but the planner was expensive, and my friend's teacher planner pockets were fine!  I'm just jealous of her perfect pockets. Ha!)


Sheet Protectors
It comes with one.  I added two more for $3.00.
Pros: They're super thick!


Plastic Pouch
Pros: It comes with name and gift labels inside.  It also comes with $10 off cards for your next purchase!!


The air bubble and the tabs issue annoyed me, but overall I think it's a really nice planner. Erin Condren's customer service is really nice too.  Because of my air bubble and frayed pockets, they offered to reprint my planner or give me partial credit for a future purchase.  As of right now, I plan on buying another one next year.  I'll update this post during the school year if I change my mind.  :)

Being the shopaholic I am, I eventually bought a life planner too...



If you want to see more of the fabulous teacher planner, you can watch Erin Condren's "Peek Inside" video

If you are a new Erin Condren customer, you can use my link to save $10 off your first purchase (you’ll get a code via e-mail after you register). https://www.erincondren.com/referral/invite


Update 5.31.14: 

I loved using my planner this year.  I  used the calendar, note pages, and check list pages the most.  I didn't keep up with the daily lesson plan pages as much as I would have liked to, and I never touched the absent log pages. I went ahead and ordered a new one for next year, because I liked having my gradebook and calendar with note pages in one place.  The planner is also really colorful and pretty.  It made me happy.  :) 


I didn't like the AIR BUBBLES.  My planner's tiny air bubble grew to a much larger bubble, and many new air bubbles popped up.  It looks like I threw the planner around and stomped on it, but I totally didn't!  I carried it home a lot in my Vera bag with my laptop...maybe my charger smooshed it too much?  Two other teachers I know bought Erin Condren teacher planners.  One teacher used hers everyday, and it still looks really nice.  Maybe hers didn't get smooshed in her bag. haha  The other teacher only used hers at the beginning of the year and her planner had air bubbles after having it less than a month. 



I loved the calendar and daily lesson plan pages.


The gradebook is so pretty and colorful.  How could this not make an elementary teacher happy??


I didn't use a lot of the pre-made labels.  I had way more than 15 computer lab, library, and duty days, so it didn't make sense to label only 15 of those days.  There are a lot of furlough day labels. Are there really 15 furlough days in some school districts?  That's really sad if so.  


My folder pockets barley made it through the year.  My unit plans were too much to handle for these pockets.

I think the cover and pockets could be stronger, but overall the planner was nice enough to make me want another one for the next two school years!  

Update 5.25.16

The newer planners help up a lot better. I didn't have air bubbles, and the folders didn't tear. 



You still have to annoyingly write the dates (or buy the number stickers) for each month, but the date circles are now on the right side of the calendar boxes, so the tabs don't cover them up! :)


I used the heck out of the note sections! I loved having those after each month. They worked great for staff meetings and professional development.


I also bought coil clips for all of my handouts, but they ended up being too bulky, so I made my own with sticky note dividers and a 1/8 inch circle hole punch. This was way cheaper! 


The 2016-2017 planner had a makeover. I'm not buying one this year, because I moved into a non-classroom position. I had to settle with a life planner. I snapped some pictures of my friend's teacher planner. It's so pretty and girly!!! 

The inside cover has dry-erase boards for notes!

 

I love the new girly colors.












 I like the edges of the new stickers. I still would order my own custom ones though. I can't believe how many furlough stickers there are. That's just so sad if districts have that many furlough days!






If you want to see more of the new teacher planner, you can watch Erin Condren's YouTube video

If you are a new Erin Condren customer, you can use my link to save $10 off your first purchase (you’ll get a code via e-mail after you register).https://www.erincondren.com/referral/invite

19 comments:

  1. Hey Kelly! I have the EXACT same thoughts that you have about my planner. I am waiting to start using it to formulate a final decision on whether I think it is worth the money! The price killed me but still somewhere in my mind I justified it... as I do with most big purchases haha!

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  2. So now that you have had your planner for a bit, did you get a chance to use all 56 pages of your checklists? And if so, what were you using them for? Each week of school, attendance and assignments? I am just curious. Thanks
    Kinders on the Block

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    1. I used 30 of my checklists pages, some of the lesson planning pages, and most of my calendar and note pages. I never once touched the absent log (ha!), substitute page, volunteer page, or graph paper. A couple things were annoying - My small air bubble on my cover grew into a 5 inch bubble, and there were several other air bubbles that popped up around it. Also, on every checklist page there is an emergency kit column, so I had to white-out each one. Other than that, the colorful checklists and calendars DID make me happy enough to purchase another planner for next year. It was also nice having all of my calendars, lesson plans, and grades in one spot too...I probably won't use the the absent log again, and I have no idea what else I could use it for. I do plan on using all of the lesson plan pages next year, and I'm excited about my calendar because I made custom stickers this time. I only ordered the 21 double-page checklist spreads for my gradebook this time instead of getting all 28 double-pages (56 total). I'll take pictures of my new planner and my used planner soon! :)

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    2. Wow you did use quite a bit in your planner. I have been scouring the net for ideas of what other people have really used their teacher planner for. I did see one idea for the absent log. It is to place assignments that you did that day in class and list those students who did not complete it. Date it and list the assignment under the "reason" column and check off when they have completed the assignment or made up the test. In kindergarten we don't really do tests that kids have to make up later so I am still clueless of how to use mine. Or you can turn it into a "to do" list. I saw someone had used the volunteer page to keep important numbers since we don't really get an address book in our planner. I did use my graphing paper for seating chart (I changed my room like 3 times this year!) and added post-its with my reading groups on it since they changed so much. Yeah the substitute page won't get used... can you imagine leaving your planner for a substitute and expecting it to be there when you return? Yeah right! Thanks for sharing. I did get my new one in the mail so I'm working on trying to decorate it with washi tape.

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  3. Great review! I'm on the fence, but need to decide quickly since the 25% off sale ends tomorrow...You said there weren't enough of the stickers you used the most and too many of others; would you mind sharing more on that? I looked at the youtube video, but couldn't really see what stickers were included. Thanks!!

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    Replies
    1. Here is a list of included stickers. I could use more library, computer lab, staff meeting, and duty stickers. I won't need any of the 15 furlough or IEP stickers.

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  4. If you are a new Erin Condren customer, you can get $10 off your purchase with this link. You will get your coupon code e-mailed to you after you make an account on Erin Condren's website. https://www.erincondren.com/referral/invite/kellyhong

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  5. Quick question... what month did you start yours in? Does it give you a full 12 months or does it stop on a certain month? I'm wanting to start mine in August but am scared it may stop in January of the same year...

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  6. I started my calendar with July so I could use it for meetings I have this summer. You will get all twelve months no matter what starting month you choose. If you choose to start your planner with August 2014, your last month will be July 2015.

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  7. Great review! I have seen her planners all over the teacher-blogger universe..I am trying to justify the purchase. They are just so beautiful. :)

    Thanks!
    Megan

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  8. Out of the 3 planners you've ordered, did they all have air bubbles?

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    Replies
    1. So far, the other planners are good.

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  9. How many lines does the checklist have? I want to use it as a gradebook but I usually get 30+ students. Thanks!

    Sorry if this posted twice, this is my first time commenting ever!

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    Replies
    1. Each page has 36 rows for names and 14 columns for grades. :) The first column says "emergency kit" on the tab, so this year I wrote the student's assigned number in those cells instead of a grade. Last year, I whited out "emergency kit" and used it for grades.

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    2. They're sold out right now, but will be back in stock in July.

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  10. Do the daily plans all come in the format of left to right? I prefer my days to go from top to bottom and don't know if I could learn to live with left to right since it's quite pricey.

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    1. Yep! You could use Washi or whiteout over they days of the week and replace it with subjects. I agree with you though. Make sure it's something you really want before spending the money on it! They're 20% off right now.

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    2. I feel the same way Elizabeth! I wish I saw your review before I bought mine...I thought I could get away with using stickers over the day headings, but there is an annoying backslash line under the day of the week to put in the date, and the stickers are too small to cover it all up. I hate planning with the days being listed vertically, but here's hoping that I get used to it this year because the planner was SO expensive. I had the exact same thoughts about the furlough stickers as well...it made me so sad to think that it has simply become a part of being a teacher now. Great review, wish I had read it sooner!

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