I just LOVE all things stationary and paper (most teachers do, right?!) so when I was asked by Tamese at Purple Trail Planners if I’d like to review one of their planners, I, of course said YES! (If you’re interested, I have a link to $10 off your first order at the end of this blog post!)
I was not familiar with Purple Trail at all before being contacted. If you’re like me, you may not have heard of them either. Purple Trail offers many customizable products including: planners, cards and invitations, stationery items, photo gifts, and so much more! They have so many things available on their website. You could literally spend hours on it!
I specifically reviewed one of their planners. Yes, just one of them. They offer many different types of planners including Teacher planners, Student planners, Weekly planners, Mom planners, Daily planners, Monthly planners, Meal planners, Tiny planners (an adorable 4×6 size!), Wedding planners, and they also sell unpunched planer pages! Whew! Eat a piece of candy every time I said planners! The options are almost overwhelming there are so many!
Since I recently reviewed the 2018 Erin Condren Teacher Planners, I opted to review a Purple Trail teacher planner. I chose the 6×8 size, because it is a size that Erin Condren does not offer currently and because I’ve never personally had a teacher planner that small. I was very curious about the size and how it would work with the planning page layout and whatnot.
You guys….there are SO. MANY. OPTIONS. They have tons of designs on their site that you can easily and quickly personalize with your name and other design options, but you also have the choice to completely design your own planner. You get to pick EVERYTHING about it! The possibilities are literally endless!! I chose the design your own option.
First, let me say, I was overwhelmed at first. Seriously. So the best advice I can offer you is just to take it step by step and really think about what you want your planner to look like and what you want it to do for you. I also want to point out that I designed my planner on right on my iPhone. When you design on your iPhone, it will prompt you to download their design app which was very easy to use. After creating my design, I was able to save it and then access it in my account on my laptop. If not designing on a phone, then you can create your planner right on their website from your computer.
When designing or ordering a planner, it’s a step by step process. First, you will choose your size. For teacher planners, the size choices are 6×8 or 8.5 x 11. I chose 6×8.
Next, you will chose your cover type: a synthetic cover with frost sheet, a 10 mil laminated cover, or hard book cover. I chose the laminated cover. There is a video on their website that shows the different in these cover types. (Click where it says “Learn More” in the image at the top of the page.) (Just a note – the laminated covers are not interchangeable like the Erin Condren ones. They are permanently attached. And don’t think you can just add an EC Life Planner Cover on top – you can’t. Those covers are larger. See photo below.)
Next, you will have the choice of what color theme you want your inside pages to be: colorful or neutral gray. I chose colorful (of course) and which layout you want: a 12 month or 18 month planner. I chose a 12 month.
The next option is pretty neat and would save someone a TON of time. You can actually customize the headings on your lesson plan pages so that it prints on all the pages for you! This would save you from having to handwrite that information every week or save you from buying/printing stickers to add your headings. For only $4.95, you can choose to add your headings and have them printed on the pages for you. (See below) I did not choose this option because I personally didn’t need it, but I think it’s a great thing to offer!
Your next choice is your start month and year. I chose to start my planner in July 2018. You can also choose to add a teacher sticker pack and a pocket folder in the back of your planner. The stickers are $7.00, the folder is $5.00, or you can add both for $10. I chose to add both the stickers and the pocket folder. (The stickers are SO bright and colorful!)
Here’s where it gets interesting: you can add on additional page types to your planner and there are so many neat options! Each add-on costs $3.95. I chose to add on the To Do Checklist, Check Lists, Student Checklists and Note Paper (see below). They also offer these add-ons: Password List, Bill Tracker, Graph paper, Important Dates, Address Book, Puzzle & Games, Dot Grid paper, Appointment Tracker, Fitness Tracker, Nutrition Tracker, Account Tracker, Travel Itinerary, Baby Tracker & Keepsake. To see a sample of each of these add-ons, visit this page.
I recommend the student checklist for teachers over the regular checklist. Both would work absolutely fine, but the student checklist is designed to be more like a gradebook would be. It says “Student Checklist” in the top left side of the page only where the regular checklist has a box for you to type in what kind of checklist you’re creating and it says that in the top left of each page of the spread. The student checklist also has eight columns of things to track on the first page where the regular checklist has eight. Plus, the student checklist is colorful. 🙂
When it comes to designing your own planner cover- you get to design everything about it! Use their stuff or upload your own. Choose the background (color or image) for the front cover, front inside, back inside, and back cover, text (font, color, size, etc.), add photos, artwork, shapes, there are unlimited possibilities! I went pretty simple. I used one of their rainbow images and stretched it to fit the background on all of the covers. I then emailed myself a logo and one of my adorable brains and added it to my design in the app. Like I said, I kept it super simple, but obviously there is SO MUCH MORE you can do when creating your own design.
I know the actual lesson plan pages are super important in a lesson planner, so here are some pictures showing what they look like. Planning pages are dated and are placed behind the monthly tabs. At the beginning of every month there is a monthly page to list any birthdays, events, or any things to remember for that month. Following that, there is the monthly calendar, and then the lesson plan pages begin. If a month ends before the end of a week, then the remaining days of that week are left blank (see last photo in group below) and the beginning of the next are blank as well.
Each planning spread is divided into five rows, for the five days of the week Monday – Friday. Each day is broken down into six columns for six subjects, six classes, six students/children, etc. Each box has lines to make it easy to write in your information.
If you are in a homeschool situation or teach somewhere where you don’t have to keep super detailed lesson plans, then this 6×8 teacher planner would be an awesome option! It’s small enough to fit into so many types of bags/purses. It is thick, but since it is smaller in size, it’s a lot easier to tuck away somewhere. The paper quality is great! I believe it is 80 lb. paper. I tested some various pens and none of them bled through. They didn’t even really show any ghosting either. It’s definitely a nice quality. Here are a couple of pictures showing where I tested some pens on the paper. It may not look like it in the picture, but in the light in my house, I really can’t see the writing through the paper when flipping it over.
If the small size doesn’t appeal to you, remember they do offer the larger size (8.5 x 11) and I expect the quality would be exactly the same in the larger size. The smaller size might even work great for a student teacher. I say this because when I was student teaching, I was mostly given a copy of the teacher’s actual lesson plans, and then I had to create those super long formal ones when I was being observed. It would have been nice to have this smaller lesson planner so I could have kept track of textbook page numbers, workbook page numbers, etc. in my own way/style.
It’s nice that there are so many options for customization, but if that is too overwhelming for you, then you can just pick on of their designs and add your name to it and be done! You can choose add-ons or not. Make it what you want, and make it yours. Before being contacted, I had never heard of Purple Trail, so I didn’t know what to expect. I know now their planners are SO customizable and are actually made really well. I was impressed! If you’re interested in checking them out, here is a link to get $10.00 off your first order of $50 or more! Thanks again to Tamese for giving me the opportunity to check out Purple Trail Planners!