Erin Condren Teacher Lesson Planner Review | 2020-2021
Updated: Apr 17
With the whirlwind of the 2019-2020 school year inching toward a close, many teachers are looking toward the 2020-2021 school year longing for the routines and excitement that a new year brings. One of the most exciting events of a new school year is picking our your new lesson planner and beginning to fill it in with all of your goals and dreams for your students.
When I wrote my review for the 2019-2020 Erin Condren lesson planners last year, I was a Kindergarten through 5th grade English as a second language specialist working between two schools. Shortly after the post went live, I changed districts and I am now a Kindergarten teacher! The change was a shock to my system, but I truly believe that everything happens for a reason because I have never been happier. Now, even more than last year, the coiled Erin Condren lesson planner works perfectly for my needs. However, I have an exciting idea for one of the new additions to this year's lesson planner lineup!
The team at Erin Condren went above and beyond this year and are offering THREE different systems for your lesson planning needs! Every teacher is sure to find a system that works for each particular style of planning.
A big thank you to Erin Condren and her team, especially Sam Kuhr, for allowing me to review these items. This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything but allow me to receive a small commission that goes toward maintaining this blog. Direct links to the products mentioned will be added after the official launch.
Mark your planners! The new 2020-2021 teacher lesson planners and accessories launch on:
- April 13th for EC Insiders - click here to join the free rewards program!
- April 14th general release
Alright, are you ready to see the planners? Out of the THREE (!!!!) systems available this year, I received the signature coil bound lesson planner as well as the brand NEW Softbound Focused Teacher Lesson planner! First up:
Coiled Erin Condren Teacher Lesson Planner
The Erin Condren Teacher Planner (ECTP from now on) is a 12- month 8.5x11 inch spiral coil-bound book. It features an interchangeable 10ml laminated cover that you can collect and swap out to match your mood, the current season, or a holiday. The final price of the ECTP depends completely upon the options you choose, so let's take a look at the price breakdown before we jump into all of the goodies inside!
The base price for the Erin Condren Teacher Lesson Planner is $55. This includes:
Choose between two themes: Oh So Retro or Kaleidoscope **New for this year!**
(I will be reviewing the Oh So Retro theme. For a look at the Kaleidoscope theme, check out my review of the 2019-2020 ECTP)
Non-metallic interchangeable 8.5x11 inch cover, front and back
Resource pages: about me, events and volunteers, communication log
2020-2021 year at a glance
Year plan spread
2 graph paper spreads (4 pages total)
12 monthly spreads (August 2020 - July 2021)
2 lined notes pages before and after each monthly spread (4 total per month)
52 weeks of dated lesson planning pages
7 checklist spreads (14 total checklist pages)
4 coiled sticker pages
2-sided 8.5x11 coiled pocket
Vinyl page protector
3 sheets of holiday stickers
Erin Condren planners allow for a variety of customizations from the coil color, metallic covers, and extra goodies that are coiled in the back. The prices for this year's add ons and upgrades are:
Rose gold, gold, or black coil: +$10
Metallic cover: +$5
Extra sheet protectors: + $1.50 (maximum of 2 extras)
Extra checklist pages:
$5 for 7 extra checklist pages
$7.50 for 14 extra checklist pages
$10 for 21 extra checklist pages
This year, teachers are able to choose between four start dates to best fit their school year:
July 2020-June 2021
August 2020-July 2021 **my pick**
September 2020-August 2021
January 2021-December 2021
With every launch comes new interchangeable covers, and this launch doesn't disappoint! Interchangeable covers are a quick way to change out the style of your planner with the season, holiday, or your mood for the day. The holes each have a tiny slit so you can pull each cover off and snap a new one on in a matter of seconds. There are always educational covers, but I like to get to a cover that matches the style I'm into at the time. When choosing additional covers make sure to choose the 8.5 by 11 inch size. Click here to see all of the covers available this year!
Ready to open the cover?
The inside of each interchangeable cover is lined and functions as a dry erase or wet erase board. Wet erase is recommended so the marker won't rub off on your cover page. Use an alcohol-based wipe or hand sanitizer to remove wet-erase marker.
Next we have the "All About Me" and "Events and Volunteers" spread. As with last year, I appreciate that the substitute and special needs areas were removed since I would never leave this book with a stranger, let alone let a stranger be privy to my students' private information. I also appreciate that the two boxes on the right are left blank. The websites and passwords section is very handy to have at the front of the book. I'm always having to change my password and then scrambling to find where I wrote it down or going through the dreaded "forgot my password" process. This book provides an easy-to-find solution for this problem!
The next spread is tabbed as "Contacts" but is actually a communication log. I am required to document every single contact I have with parents digitally. Sometimes I am not able to get to a computer immediately, and this spread was extremely helpful. As I logged contact digitally, I simply made a check mark to the left. If you do not need a parent communication log, simply cover the title with washi. A spreadsheet of student log ins for one on one devices would fit wonderfully on these pages.
The next tab takes us to the year-at-a-glance. There's something about this page that is just so ... satisfying. I know you know what I'm talking about! This year's ECTP year-at-a-glance shows us July 2020 through December 2021. The Erin Condren colorful clear circles are excellent on this page to mark days off, holidays, and more.
The year plan spread show 12 total lined boxes with six on each page. The first page has January through June and the second page has July through December. While this spread is one of the most vital in the book, I feel that it is executed improperly. In my opinion, the months should be ordered to match the flow of the academic year that is chosen for the book: starting in July or August and ending in July of the following year. To further customize this spread to meet my needs, I use stickers to order the months to my liking. I list student birthdays on these pages as well as large events that I need to know at a glance.
Following the year plan we have two two-page spreads of graph paper and one two-page spread of lined notes pages. You can do whatever your heart desires with these pages: seating charts, small group lists, extended password section, assessment trackers, team teacher information, professional development trackers, and so on. The possibilities are endless!
Now, onto the meat of the planner - starting with the monthly spreads. Before each monthly spread you will find two lined notes pages that match the color of the upcoming month. There are fresh inspirational quotes in a minimalistic font at the top of the left page, and a space for important dates on the bottom of the right page. This spread is perfect for setting goals for the upcoming month or taking notes at meetings.
When you flip the page to the monthly spread, you will notice a tiny but exciting detail: the monthly tabs flip directly to the monthly spread! This is different from the Life Planner, where the monthly tabs take us to a notes page for the month.
As with last year's ECTP, the monthly spread has open spaces with no writing at all. The holidays are again listed on three extra sticker sheets that are found in the back pocket of your new ECTP. This was my favorite change last year as it allows each teacher to choose the special days and holidays that are shown in their planner. Each month has a color-coordinated, foiled sticker with major holidays as well as some of the more "teacher-y" days. Next to the actual sticker, the day in which you should place the sticker is printed onto the sheet, but not on the actual sticker itself. There are also extras in each month for you to add in special dates of your own!
After each monthly spread comes the weekly planning pages for the month. They are already dated and ready to use, which saves so much time. A change that was made two years ago are the blank column headers, and this year they are completely blank. Last year there was the signature Erin Condren asterisk in the upper right corner of each header. I appreciate this change, as the asterisk would get in the way of my labeling. With the blank labels at the top, you can write in subjects as you see fit.
There are six vertical columns for your different subjects, classes, or children as well as a vertical list column to the far right. I plan to use this column as a running to-do list for copies, grading, and notes that need my immediate attention. If you need an extra column for another class or subject, this are can easily be used for that as well!
After the month's lesson planning pages come another two notes pages. These notes pages would be perfect for monthly reflections, meeting notes, and any other important information you would like to keep!
The same pages repeat throughout the remainder of the book:
Two notes pages
Month on two page spread
Dated lesson planning pages, Monday through Friday
Two notes pages
Following all of the monthly and weekly spreads is the checklist section. Again, the tab to get to the checklist section sits directly behind the July 2021 tab and you cannot see it! You may want to stick an extra tab on the top of the page to make accessing the checklists more efficient.
The checklists themselves are the same we have come to love over all of the years. They are rainbow, beautiful, and plentiful The $55 base price includes 7 spreads (14 pages total), but you can add more if you would like! Adding extra checklist pages are available in the following increments:
$5 for 7 checklists
$7.50 for 14 checklists
$10 for 21 checklists
The sticker sheets that are coiled into the planner are almost identical to last year's with a few minor additions. (Pictures above are a slide show; click the thumbnails to toggle through.)
On the third sticker sheet, quotes are added to the divider stickers. On the last sticker sheet, which features the event block stickers, the Erin Condren signature asterisk has been removed. This is a welcome change, because now I can write the time of the meeting or event on the left side of the sticker!
Behind the sticker sheets you'll find the double-sided pocket and sheet protector, and then the back cover of your book. The back cover also features the dry-erase surface.
And there we have it: the complete 2020-2021 coiled Erin Condren Teacher Lesson Planner!
SOFTBOUND FOCUSED TEACHER LESSON PLANNER
New to the lineup this year is the Softbound Focused Teacher Lesson Planner, which is dated July 2020-June 2021. This teacher planner is the newest addition to the Focused collection. Per the Erin Condren Focused homepage:
"Make organization the focus. Get organized with this collection of streamlined notebooks and planners that are lay-flat, lefty-friendly, professional and portable. Now with new customizable planners and productivity notebooks!"
This minimalistic choice featured beautiful, clean lines, hints of neutral tones throughout the planner, and plenty of space to plan in its 8" by 10" size. The only cover option for the Focused Teacher Planner is camel vegan leather. There are two ribbons and the option to customize your cover with blind imprinted initials. The spine allows the planner to lay flat. Hello, lefty-friendly!
The general layout and order of the interior is similar to the coiled book. The main difference is the absence of two notes after each month. The absence of those pages allow the Focused Teacher Planner to remain relatively slim and lightweight. See below for a size comparison with the coiled ECTP. Click a thumbnail to view the layout in detail:
At the conclusion of June 2021, there are 5 two-page spreads of lined notes pages followed by 7 two-page checklist spreads. Grab your Focused Teacher Lesson Planner here!
Which one am I going to choose?
Trick question! I am going to choose BOTH! I have used and loved the coiled ECTP for years. It is perfect for me and the way that I plan out my lessons for the week. However, I have been searching for a place to plan out the various small group lessons that I deliver each day. Enter: the Focused Teacher Planner! The minimalist layout allows me to list my groups along the top, with my guided reading groups on the left page and my guided math groups on the right. Since each of these groups are always working on different skills, this high level planning does not fit into my coiled ECTP. I am looking forward to using the Focused Teacher Planner as my small group planner for next year!
"Can I use this planner if I'm not a teacher?"
ABSOLUTELY! Due to the Monday through Friday weekly layout and the minimalistic design, the Focused Teacher Planner is a wonderful option as a work planner!
ACCESSORIES, ACCESSORIES, ACCESSORIES!
Each planner launch includes Erin Condren staple accessories that are essential for seamless planning, whether it's planning your lessons or planning our your life in a Life Planner.
My favorite accessories each launch are the Stylized Sticky notes ($10.50). The Oh So Retro theme looks beautiful and oh so professional! These sticky notes are one of the most versatile products on the EC website, in my opinion. They feature 8 different notes with 20 of each note. Gone are the days of the Target dollar spot sticky notes that don't stick. The EC notes have a line of adhesive along the top that offers a medium hold - just enough to stay on the page, yet still be removable. The dashboard securely snaps into your coil and a built in tab makes it easy to find in your coiled book.
Speaking of being easy to find in your book, make sure you pick up the new Oh So Retro mini snap-in bookmarks ($4.50). They are small, so they won't get in the way of your planning.
Another EC release staple are sticker books! The Too Cool For School Sticker book edition 4 ($15.50) is a tad smaller (width-wise) than previous sticker books. Click the image to see each page up close. I may need to pick up several of these books - they are so fun!
And there you have it! Which of the two planners featured is your favorite? If you had to choose right now, which would you pick up?
Luckily, you have a few days to decide! Remember, EC Insiders can order Lesson Planners beginning Monday, April 13th with everyone able to order on Tuesday, April 14th!