Sunday, July 26, 2015

Sanity Saver: Evolved

Since I first introduced you to my Sanity Saver back in 2012(!) my organizational needs have changed. Over the last few years, several of the records I used to keep in my Sanity Saver binder have moved to being digital. I'm all for this, of course, because I love me some technology. But as much as I love working on the computer and storing things online, there are some tasks that I prefer to take care of on paper. My Sanity Saver is still an absolute necessity in the classroom, but it changes as I change. I thought I would show you what it looks like nowadays.

One obvious difference: it's no longer a binder. This is new for me this year. I'm giving the spiral-binding a try to see if it holds up a bit better. I got the book printed and bound at Staples. It has a clear plastic front cover and a black vinyl back cover. The color turned out great! I'm really pleased with the printing and definitely plan on getting more stuff printed and bound like this.

You would think that, after five years of working at my building, I would have the address and phone number memorized. Nope, not yet. So that's on the About Me page, along with a space for my class schedule and the number of students in each period. That's handy info to have.

I also created an account log for all of the random accounts I have to keep for school.

I am currently doing a terrible job of keeping track of my professional growth points, which I will need to renew my license in a couple years. So hopefully this will help me stay on track.

My calendar is still present, of course, in a lovely assortment of colors. :)

This section is right before my planning pages. I am notorious for planning on days that are not actually available for lessons, so hopefully this will keep me from making that mistake.

I used a calendar like this last year when doing my long-term planning and LOVED IT. Seriously, it makes it so clear what's going on all year and how many days it's going to take to do it. I goofed, though. I meant to get two of these in the Sanity Saver, one for each subject I teach, but I only got the one. Oh well, I can make it work. #thatswhatdifferentcolorpensarefor #nottheterracottaorcatpukecolorsthough #periwinkleforthewin

This is the shorter version of my weekly lesson planning forms I use (the one that's available to you here!). I decided this year it made a lot more sense to plan my subjects, not my class periods, because I honestly was leaving a lot of space blank. This also made my planner much more affordable, which is kind of important. Kind of.

While I will still continue to print my students' accommodations, I created a little cheat sheet this year where I can just jot down their names and place a check mark in the boxes of their accommodations.

Parent Contact Log is still present.

This Discipline Record is new for me. At my current school, we usually just fire off an email to our assistant principal when we have a discipline problem and he records it in our system. It's a very laid back system. At my old school, we had to fill out referrals for discipline issues and that system seemed much firmer to me. I need something in the middle. I want to do a better job keeping track of the (few and far between) discipline issues I have in my classroom, especially the cell phone problem. I think this will do the trick because it will be at hand (being part of my Sanity Saver) and the form is concise. It will give me a record, something I miss from my old school, while not being disruptive to class time, which was problematic at the old school.

Note-taking space. I like graph paper for notes.

The back cover (great place to store sticky notes!)
Things that are notably missing:

  • a grade book - honestly, nowadays I just find it a whole heck of a lot easier to print copies of my digital grade book at the end of the week or every other week than to enter everything twice.
  • attendance - I have a new system for attendance (this will be my second year using it) that I'm much happier with
  • student data - all on the computer now
  • theatre - outgrew the Sanity Saver and needed a binder all of its own
  • copies of standards - I live in Indiana. Our Frankenstandards mutate on a regular basis. I'm better off to just follow along with whatever the DOE's flavor of the month looks like.
  • freshmen class info - I'm still the class sponsor, but this section was actually pretty useless. Didn't have anything in there!
Since I generated some new documents this year while putting this together, I'm sharing! The Accommodations Cheat Sheet is an editable Word document to you and is a freebie! The other items are going up in my Teachers Pay Teachers store and are only $1.50 apiece. Check them out!

Sanity Saver and two Smash Books
Here they are... my keys to an organized 2015-2016 school year! What will you be using to keep you on track this year?


  1. Hello! I have to admit that I love your Sanity Saver! It has been a staple to me since my first year teaching :) I was wondering if you are going to post your shorter lesson plan form in your TPT store or as a freebie?

  2. Hi! What is this new"ish" attendance system that you now use? Would love to hear about it! Thank you for all you do for us fellow teachers!

    1. I am reading the comments just to see if her attendance system is mentioned!!

  3. Thank you for posting this! I am stealing the idea and creating my sub folder. My neighbor teacher and I have been talking about a better way to do the sub folder for a year, and this format may be it!

  4. I love you Sanity Saver pages...I used your attendance page to remember to change an absence into a tardy since sometimes I've already started class and can't get to my computer right away. And I love your new Accommodations Cheat Sheet...very handy to look at all at one glance.

  5. I love your new Sanity Saver. It's both adorable and organized. Personally I'm trying an Erin Condren Life Planner for the first time. I'm hoping I didn't waste my money : p

    I really wanted to say that I love your accommodation cheat sheet. I may share it with our gen. ed. teachers to get them a bit more on board with accommodations by making it easier for them to remember who gets what.

  6. How spendy was it to coil bind your Sanity Saver? I was playing around on Staple's website and was up to $58 to bind.

    1. A lot of schools have coil binding machines. I mentioned it to our office assistants and they pretty much begged me to use what they had for coil binds because they had so many that were never used. It actually gave me a great idea to bind my students' writing at the end of the year.

  7. I'm a theatre teacher too. I'd love to see how you organize your theatre binder.

  8. Another great post! This is why I adore reading what you have to say.

  9. Great! I love that you share your ideas. May I ask what program you use to make the different pages? Publisher? I've tried using Word but find it rather boring 😉

  10. I'm going to be a lead teacher this year, after being a TA for two years. I'm starting to look for things that will help make next year a bit easier (I know it won't be EASY, but I can sure find things to help!) I love the looks of your accommodations cheat sheet! Thank you for making that available!

  11. This was a great review of the digital publishing models. This was really very interesting and fun to read. Kartikeya Sharma

  12. I'm a para working on licensure. I create a accommodation cheat sheet for all the core teachers in the building. It's a great gift to them to know which kids need what.

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  15. I love your calendar I use it every year. I had a child three years ago and your sanity saver helped me when I had to leave my classroom. Thank you for sharing your hard work!