Using OneNote to be more organised as a teacher

Being organised is essential in teaching. Every teacher has a teacher planner where you do your lesson plans, track student progress, monitor the progress of your goals, record professional learning notes, record meeting notes and much more.

I have never found a commercial teacher planner to suit my needs and over the last 5 years, I have created and refined my own teacher planner in OneNote. Here’s the structure of my OneNote digital planner.

Sections structure

I have a very straight forward section structure. For me this is the right amount of sections to stay organised and not be overwhelmed by too many sections. I have a section for:

  • Yearly organisation
  • Term 1
  • Term 2
  • Term 3
  • Notes for School 1
  • Notes for School 2
  • Meetings
  • Misc
Screenshot of OneNote digital planner section structure showing the sections listed above.

Yearly organisation section

This section has two pages – a cover page and a yearly calendar from NSW Education.

Term 1, 2, 3 and 4 sections

These sections have the same pages. Each section has a page for each school week. Each page has a table format for lesson plans for each day and period, a column for a daily to-do list and a column for tracking the progress long-term projects. For the daily to-do list, I use the To-Do tags in OneNote to check off a task when I finish it. Whatever I don’t get done, I cut and paste it to the next day or week.

I like having my lesson plans, to-do list and long-term projects presented on one page so I am not flicking back and forth between different pages, which I found I did not like with hardcopy planners.

School notes section

These sections hold notes for the two different schools I work at this year. For my main school, I have pages to track homework and classwork completion. I have created a custom tag to check off student work.

Meetings section

This section has been set up so the same meetings notes template is created each time a new page is added.

Why I prefer OneNote for my teacher planner

I have tried various hardcopy planners and digital apps for lesson planning, but have found OneNote to be the best. My main reasons are being able to:

  • Sync my planner across my Surface Pro, iPhone and iPad. This means I always have access to my planner in most situations.
  • Use digital ink with the Surface Pen and Apple Pencil, which is extremely useful for annotations.
  • Email pages in my OneNote to colleagues or students if I need to. This is particularly useful for meeting notes.

What kind of teacher planner do you use? I’d love to learn from teachers how they use a planner to stay organised.

1 thought on “Using OneNote to be more organised as a teacher

  1. Hi Alice,
    Thank you for sharing your onenote planner.
    Did you set up your planner from scratch, or are there templates that you used. If so where can I access these. I use a mac and I do not work in a det school.

    I do not have a 365 subscription, will this impact my ability to use onenote?

    Regards
    Michelle

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