Erin Condren Teacher Planner vs. Life Planner with Pictures

June 1, 2016

Erin Condren Teacher Planner vs. Life Planner with Pictures

June 1, 2016

Last Friday was the last day of school for me which means (1) IT’s SUMMER! and (2) now I have so much more time I can devote to the blog (so exciting!).  I can’t wait to roll out some things I’ve been working on!

Anyway, while summer means a break from grading/lesson planning/organizing/decorating/copying/counseling/calling parents and the million other things teachers do during the school year, it also means it is time to reflect on the past year, and to begin prepping for next year. Whether you are a TYPE-A teacher who plans very meticulously, way in advance, or a TYPE-B teacher who approaches things in a more laid back way, I know that every teacher plans for the next year in some way…so this post is for you!

In this post I will show you the Erin Condren Teacher Lesson Planner, detail how I used it, and explain why I just purchased the Erin Condren LifePlanner. This post isn’t sponsored (if you’re wondering why I’m plugging EC!), I just want to share a product I am passionate about and help out if you’re trying to decide if you want one, or which one you should choose…keep reading!

Erin Condren Teacher Lesson Planner

Last year about this time I was trying to decide if I wanted to get an Erin Condren planner or not. They are somewhat expensive compared to the regular ‘ol planners I’d get at Target, or wherever,  but I’d heard so much hype about them that I was intrigued. I always start the school year with grand plans on how I’m going to organize my school “stuff” but had yet to find a way that really worked for me that I kept up with, so I did my research to figure out if I wanted the Teacher Planner or the LifePlanner. I ended up buying an Erin Condren Teacher Planner. (Note: Sub-Par iPhone pictures ahead! ๐Ÿ™‚ )

Below is the cover I chose of my Teacher Lesson Planner. When you visit the site, you will notice the MANY options you have to choose from. If you don’t really care about the personalization, they also have some cheaper “Grab and Go” options where you get the generic version (the only difference is there is no name added). The cover is laminated with a very, very thick laminate, so it is heavy duty (mine even endured a few spills!).

When you open the Lesson Planner there are a few introductory pages. Then it is divided into tabs: Dates, Absent, Graph, Year Plan, Monthly Tabs, Lessons, Check list. Each tab’s page has a cute motivational/inspiring quote on it…see the picture below. 

Dates tab: 

Under the dates tab there is a section for “Holidays and Dates to Remember” and class birthdays.
Absent Tab:
Under the Absent Tab there were 6 full pages of absentee logs. 
Graph tab:
There are 8 full pages of graph paper under the Graph tab. As you can see, I doodled out a seating chart on one page!

Year Plan tab:
This is the “Year at a Glance” spread, where you can note/plan out things in advance for you classroom. Behind this page, there is also a notes page. 
Monthly tabs:
The planner includes a monthly view for each month, and I’ve included 2 pictures below. The standard planner comes with regular open circles where the dates go, but I added date stickers ๐Ÿ™‚
Lessons tab:
Now, the best part, and the reason you’re buying this thing in the first place…the lesson planner part! The picture below shows the wide view. The top left has a “Week #” box. The top row has “Grade/Subject” and “Date”. The left side has boxes for Monday-Friday. 
I used mine this year by putting my class periods across the top (since I teach all 8th grade English), and the last 2 columns were reserved for “PLC stuff” and “Team Stuff”. In those 2 columns I would bullet out things I needed to do/remember. In the open space below the date labels, I would put things I needed to remember generally for that day like, “Pep Rally @ 1”, “Call Katie’s Mom”, etc. On the lines listed, for each day and period I would list Bellwork, Lesson Focus, Exit Ticket, and Homework.  
Below is the zoomed in view of the lesson planner pages. 
Check list tab:
Part of the hype surrounding the Lesson Planner was that it is an “all-in-one” planner. This is one reason why that is the case…it includes checklist pages! I’ve seen this used as a grade book, portfolio checklist, essential form checklist, etc. There are 7 spreads, like in the picture below, of checklist pages. 
The Teacher Lesson Planner comes with a lot of stickers. There are teaching specific ones, and also an entire page of blank ones you can personalize for yourself!
In the back of the planner there is a 2-sided folder, a large plastic cover to keep things in, and a plastic pouch (perfect for keeping extra stickers and pens in!). I really appreciated the pen pouch because I am particular about color coding and I always lose my nice pens!

See below for a size comparison. The EC Teacher Lesson Planner is on the left and the Life Planner is on the right. I’m loving the smaller size of the Life Planner!

Erin Condren LifePlanner
Just like the Teacher Lesson Planner, you can choose to get a personalized cover, or a “grab and go” cover. I chose one of the metallic covers and had my initials added. 
Each life planner has a monthly view calendar, like in the picture below. 

A cool feature of the LifePlanner is that you get to choose if you want a horizontal or vertical layout on the daily pages. I chose horizontal because I like to make bulleted lists.

LifePlanner Extras: Stickers, stickers, and more stickers! Again, just like the Teacher Lesson Planner, the LifePlanner comes with pre-made stickers, and a page of blank stickers for you to fill out for however works for you!

In the back right before the last cover the LifePlanner also has a pocket folder and plastic pouch to hold your stuff (hello, awesome pens!). To my surprise, when I ordered, they also threw in a recurring  dates calendar (the little pink booklet) that I can fill out and move from planner to planner each year!

Why I Switched From the Erin Condren Teacher Lesson Planner to the LifePlanner

Both products are great, but this year I chose to switch from the EC Teacher Planner to the Life Planner and digital lesson plans.

I switched because I found that I didn’t use all of the fabulous inserts simply because of the number of students I have as a Middle School teacher. If I taught elementary aged students, and had 30ish in a class, the checklists and other pages would be plenty sufficient, however, I don’t, and was using the check lists for only some things  because of space, thus, defeating the purpose of having an “all-in-one” book for me.

I also switched because I began to run out of room on the lesson planning pages. I absolutely loved to look at the week in the format that the EC Teacher Lesson Planner has, but I wasn’t able to be as detailed as I wanted so I was inserting other pages (the longer lesson plan, or slides, etc) and then I just had a bunch of extra materials stuffed in there.

The Life Planner has allowed me to plan my personal stuff, as well as create “To Do” bulleted lists for school things on each day. I have been using Planboard (a free site…I wrote about it here) to store my digital plans/worksheets/slideshows/resources all in one place and have really liked the flexibility of having everything together digitally to “remember” for next year, and also to keep resources attached with certain lessons (I am NOT a file cabinet girl!).

Hopefully this information has been helpful if you’re in the market for an Erin Condren planner. Which ever route you go, you will get a fabulous product! (This is not sponsored, I just really like the planners ๐Ÿ™‚ )

If you want $10 off, you can use my referral code here.

So what do you think? Are you getting an Erin Condren planner or do you have one and use yours differently? Let me know!

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  • MamaBee June 19, 2016 at 7:40 pm

    Thank you for this post! I am about to make my first EC planner purchase ever and I could not be more excited (INSERT HAPPY DANCE HERE) BUT, being that I also teach Middle School I was unsure about which planner to purchase.

  • Kelsey Hayes June 19, 2016 at 7:41 pm

    Yay! I'm so glad it helped. I was in the same boat last year, as everyone I knew that had the teacher planner taught elementary so I went with it. It's an amazing product but I just found that digital plans (check out planboard! It's free) and the LifePlanner worked best for me!

  • Becky July 20, 2016 at 12:49 pm

    Great review. I have been contemplating buying the Teacher Planner from EC

  • Kelsey Hayes July 20, 2016 at 12:51 pm

    Yes, I couldn't decide when I first took the plunge and couldn't find a lot of info about the differences. I just realized the Teacher one isn't right for my style but it's a great product. I'm loving the LifePlanner now ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Shana June 1, 2017 at 1:42 am

    Thank you for this post! I’ve been comparing the two for a while and determined that I wanted the LifePlannet, but I wish it was offered in an academic calendar instead of Jan-Dec. ๐Ÿ™

    • Shana June 1, 2017 at 1:43 am

      Oops, planner not planet** โ˜บ๏ธ

      • kelseynhayes June 2, 2017 at 2:13 am

        I wrote this because when I was looking, I could NOT find a good comparison to tell which I would actually use! I used my LifePlanner MUCH more than my Teacher planner ๐Ÿ™‚

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    Hi, I'm Kelsey! I started A Blog for Teachers to have a landing pad for the Teacher Blogger Seller Network. I hope you find the resources here helpful and will reach out if you'd like to connect!


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