Lesson Planning Pretty On a Budget

Like many others, I have been more than a little obsessed with all things Erin Condren! And they truly are beautiful, but can be constricting on the wallet. For some that is no problem, and for 3 years I made it a point to treat myself with a gorgeous EC planner and accessories. 

The problem is…I NEVER USED IT!

I always used the first few weeks, used the calendars for months, and last year even made a TPT product to help edit and specialize my planner. I still didn’t use it. 

It became a pretty thing I spent a lot of money on and regretted never using. Could I have been better about writing in my plans? Of course. But with the requirements of my district and school, hand writing plans became a pain and a waste of time. 

This is the first year that I am not required to have strict lesson plans for every subject every day of the year on our online system. So writing plans by hand has now become my go-to. But after 3 years of wasting my money on something that is just not practical for my life, it honestly became more of a guilt trip because I HAD to have one like everyone else on Instagram. 

I finally decided it wasn’t worth it. I’m not trying to tell anyone not to buy it, or trying to make anyone else feel guilty, but I wanted to show here what I have come up with! 

Thanks for sticking with me in this pretty long introduction. And without further ado, I will explain my new and amazing cheap lesson planner! 



Let me tell you about this planner for a second: I used to HATE it! When I was in college and later during my masters (before my own classroom) I dreamed of a pretty planner I would one day find. Well as it turns out, the pretty and ornate ones don’t work for me! So I had an idea. If the over-the-top planners don’t work, maybe the old fashioned ones will! 

And then I found this beauty! Is it the best thing on planet Earth? Maybe not, but it suits its purpose and isn’t navy blue. 

(Here’s the link if you want one for your very own: https://www.amazon.com/House-Doolittle-Teachers-Leatherette-HOD50905/dp/B00MNLLN64/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1499996873&sr=8-1&keywords=pink+lesson+plan+book) 

And then I did what I normally do and I turned to the computer to add a few pretty touches. 


This wonderful piece of art is from Purely Primary https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/FREE-Classroom-Decor-Cactus-Succulents-3180180 

I don’t need to use the random information pages or seating charts in the basic planners or even the grade book pages in the back! I want to use every possible space I can and make this planner as useful to me as possible. So I added anything and everything that I need in a lesson planner. 


I need my standards very close at hand. I made up this condensed version of the 5th grade Reading, Writing, and Math standards to have when I need them. I have most of them memorized but in case I need clarification or specific information I may have forgotten, they are ready and waiting for me before the lesson planning pages. 

When my schedule is finalized it will also go in this section. 


And although they are not the prettiest of lesson plan pages, they are extremely useful! I can fit a short to-do list in the prep section for each day, and two period sections for the larger subjects before the shorter time periods of science/social studies and writing. I can always put stickies everywhere later and use colorful pens when necessary but I just need it to be my lifeline! 

And at the very end of my planner I took the extra weeks pages and the grade book pages and added calendars for every month we are in school. Like I said earlier…the calendars are sometimes the most useful. 

Anything else I need nearby (ie. long range plans, rubrics, etc.) are in a binder stored in the same cart drawer. This is just my simple yet effective way of simplifying my lesson plan system and saving myself some money and future regret. 

If you are still reading this, thanks for sticking with me! 

I just want you to know that you can have the pretty things you want without having to shell out the big bucks and having to look like all of the amazing Instagram teachers out there. Don’t get sucked into wanting/needing everything you see. Trust me, I’ve learned this the hard way. 

Hopefully this post helped or inspired you; let me know below! And show me how you plan on a budget on Instagram! 


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