tips for planning with a purpose

You want your students to use their new planners to the best of their abilities — but they may not know how. One way to help students get the most out of their planning tools is to teach them how to plan with purpose. This methodology can help students organize their work effectively and add value to your classroom time. Consult these tips for planning with purpose when you need to get your classroom on track and help students use their planners to their advantage.

What Is Planning With a Purpose?

Planning with a purpose involves a bit more than making a to-do list. It encourages students to think deeper about what they plan and how they plan it. To complete this process, students:

  • Think about what they value and what valuable results might look like
  • Assess the goals they want to achieve
  • Think about how they will execute their goals
  • Assess how they achieved their goals

When you analyze the planning process and results, you can set yourself up for successful future planning. You can also identify what to change or keep the same about your goal implementation. Everyone is different, and each student can craft an individualized approach to setting goals and making a plan.

You can educate your students on how to plan with a purpose and pique their excitement about planning. Encouraging students to set and achieve goals can help them develop beneficial habits and build good character in and out of the classroom.

Benefits of Planning With a Purpose

Unlock all the benefits of student planners to help your students grow, succeed and develop advantageous skills. Before we explore tips for planning with a purpose, let's explore some of the benefits of purposeful planning.

1. It Reduces Uncertainties

When students write down tasks, assignments and events in a planner, they reduce uncertainties. They'll know what's due and when. They also won't have to memorize their schedules week to week because they'll have everything written in their planners.

Developing purposeful planning skills may reduce students' uncertainties about themselves as they build confidence in their planning abilities. This process may empower students to take ownership of the tools and abilities they have to plan with success and reach their goals. They can also rely on others if they miss a day of school or forget to write down an assignment because their classmates have probably written down useful information.

2. It Motivates Students

Motivation is an abstract concept that everyone experiences and builds differently. The Cambridge University Press describes motivation in three parts:

  1. The reason someone starts something
  2. Someone's persistence in continuing to do an activity
  3. The effort someone puts into an activity to accomplish their goals

How can you make sure students start something and sustain their motivation and momentum until they complete their goals? Planning can be a big help. Planning can be the reason students start a task, a way for them to stay organized as they continue it and a way to track their goals.

Ideally, planning can create a cycle of motivation. For example, once a student completes a purposefully planned task, they may be more motivated to start and complete future tasks. As students develop these habits, a planner can help them remain organized and physically see all the tasks they've completed.

3. It Helps Integrates Student Planner Use

Your class won't experience the benefits of planners if they don't use them. Learning purposeful planning gives students practice documenting assignments and more in their planners. The younger students are, the more they'll be able to develop and ingrain the new habits of writing in a planner.

4. It Develops Time Management Skills

Time management is a vital skill for students to develop at a young age. Consider research on how time management skills correlate to college students' success. College students who thought they had better control of their time experienced less stress, more satisfaction with their lives and felt positive about their performance in class. You can nurture that same sense of control in your students to encourage their future success.

Having a layout of deadlines, events and other responsibilities helps students manage their time better. With purposeful planning, they'll learn how to stay ahead of their schedule and organize their productive time. Students can see the benefits of positive time management and may be eager to continue the habit into the future and incorporate it into their personal lives.

5. It Teaches Organizational Skills

planners teaching organizational skills

Students have the opportunity to practice and hone their organization skills with purposeful planning. Students can learn how to prioritize assignments, studying, activities and more with the help of a planner. They can also discover the best ways to organize their planners — whether they use symbol keys, create sections for events versus assignments or utilize other organizational strategies.

6. It Helps Prevents Procrastination

It's essential to teach your students that planning isn't the same as taking action. Planning is a way to set a course for your actions. If you don't take those actions, planning could become procrastination. We've all made to-do lists and felt productive, but in reality, we didn't accomplish what we needed to achieve. You can teach students the mindset that planning is a great start to being productive, but they should use planners as a guide for future action rather than action itself.

7. It Helps Teachers

When your class uses planners with a purpose, you can see the effects in your classroom. You may notice fewer late or missing assignments and fewer questions about upcoming exams, assignments and events. This can free up your time for lessons and help your class develop more personal responsibility.

You can also use purposeful planning techniques to keep your lessons and overall goals organized. When you model the above benefits for your students, they may be more motivated to use their planners and achieve their goals.

The Four P's of Planning With a Purpose

With those benefits in mind, you can teach your students how to plan with a purpose. We've broken it down into four parts known as the Four P's. These elements show you how to introduce planners to your students and how they can use them to achieve more.

Below, we'll explain the Four P's of planning with a purpose, which are:

  1. Purposeful planning
  2. Personal investment
  3. Practical application
  4. Parent involvement

1. Purposeful Planning

how to get acquainted with your planner

First, introduce your students to purposeful planning and create some interest in using a planner. Get them acquainted with the planner and have them fill out their name and other information on the title page, like how to access homework and other resources at home.

This introduction allows students to:

  • Personalize their planner
  • Forge a sense of ownership with their planner
  • Feel comfortable writing in their planner
  • Customize their planner with their organizational preferences.

After personalization, teach students productive ways to use their planner with an introductory exercise. Teach them to mark due dates, goals and other tasks to remember in their planners every day. In your lesson, have students fill out their planners with important dates, such as:

  • Quiz and test dates
  • Project due dates
  • Field trips
  • School parties or events
  • Holidays
  • Sports or after school activity meetings

2. Personal Investment

You can develop your students' investment in planning by demonstrating the value of their planners. Give students incentives and rewards for using their planners to connect tangible value to the importance of organization. Consider some of these ideas to generate investment and excitement about planning in your classroom:

  • Instruct students to open their planner to the current date every morning and leave it open on their desk.
  • For younger students, take a look to make sure they're using their planners.
  • Acknowledge students who have been using their planners in the right way.
  • Give students a reward or bonus for using their planner the right way for a full week or month.
  • Include bonus questions on quizzes and tests that students can answer using their planner, like recalling a specific homework assignment from a previous week.
  • Encourage students to use their planners to track their achievements and goals with personal to-do lists and achievement trackers.

As you cultivate personal planner investment, you may find that some students struggle with staying organized or using their planners. If so, take time to work one-on-one with the students and come up with better ways for them to use their planners to keep them invested.

3. Practical Application

Create actions for students to do with their planners to illustrate how they're useful. For example, you can make it a homework assignment to check off tasks or set aside time at the end of the day for students to fill out their planners. You can encourage additional practical application by using:

  • A master classroom planner: Keep a planner in your classroom that is up-to-date with assignments, events and more. This resource can be useful for students who missed a day of school or need to double-check the upcoming assignments in their planners. Assign one student every day to fill out the master planner to give students a sense of responsibility.
  • A HomeworkMaster Wall Chart: If you have a class of younger students or it's your students' first time using a planner, a HomeworkMaster Wall Chart can be a big help. This template corresponds with the pages in your students' planners. You can use it to show students how to set up a page each day until they get acclimated with the planner. The chart hangs on the wall and has laminated sides so you can use a dry erase marker on it.

how to talk about planners

  • A discussion about the planners: At the end of the week, have students discuss or record an instance when using a planner helped them. Maybe they remembered they had a test coming up or helped a friend who missed writing down an assignment. No matter how large or small the benefit, talking about how students used planners can help the entire class see the practical application of the resource.

Seeing how others use their planners is a great way to introduce organizational methods to students and help them understand how to use their planners. These steps can also help you encourage students who aren't as eager to write in their planner to do so.

4. Parent Involvement

Encourage students' engagement with help from parents or guardians. While you can prompt students to use planners in the classroom, once they're home, it can be challenging to ensure they're keeping up with purposeful planning. That's why it's helpful to have adults at home assist your students with staying on track and organized. To do that, you can:

  • Explain the planner to parents: Have parents or guardians bring students' planners to conferences and meetings. Review the planner together and teach adults how students use their planners and how they can impact the student's grades, productivity and time management. This can help parents or guardians see if their child needs to improve their organizational skills or if they're on track.
  • Have students show parents their planners: Planner checks promote communication between students and their parents or guardians and keep them accountable for their assignments. Create a homework assignment every week where students show parents or guardians their planner. Have adults initial a spot on the page to confirm they saw it.
  • Use the planner to communicate: Some planner setups have a comment box or notes section. Parents can use these areas to add questions or comments about assignments, field trips and more. If you implement this strategy, be sure you do daily planner checks for new notes or questions. You can respond to parents promptly by calling, emailing or writing a note back.

When parents and guardians engage with students and their planners, you may have fewer miscommunication mishaps. Adults can also know when students have tests, projects, field trips or other events and can encourage planning at home.

Plan With a Purpose With Help From Success by Design

plan with a purpose with success by design

At Success by Design, we have useful planners for all ages that can get students on track to meet their goals, become more organized and keep up with assignments. Help students develop better communication, organization and time management skills that they'll carry with them into the future. After all — success doesn't happen by accident. You plan for it!

Browse our student planners or shop by age with our elementary schoolmiddle school and high school options. Be sure to take a look at our HomeworkMaster Wall Charts and other planner accessories, as well. Contact us today to learn more about the products we offer and what's best for your classroom.