Before I started using a Bullet Planner, I wasted a lot of time, effort and money trying and rejecting various calendars, notebooks and planners. I couldn't seem to find one that really fit my style. They were all too big, too bulky, had too many pages I didn't need, or had page layouts that just didn't work for me.
Last year, when I was coaching at four different elementary schools, my need to find a good planner became more important than ever. With so many administrators, teachers and students to support, I found it harder and harder to keep everything straight. One day, while searching for yet another solution, I Googled "Minimalist Planner" and happened upon a YouTube video (embedded below) describing a Bullet Journal. As is always the case with YouTube, one video quickly led to ten more. One hour and multiple videos later, I was pretty sure I had found the solution to planning I had been looking for. I immediately grabbed an old drugstore notebook and set it up to give it a try.
Here are pictures of my first little notebook bullet planner.
There is certainly nothing fancy or artistic about it, but it was a great way to jump in and give Bullet journaling a try. In a very short period of time knew I had found the planner I was looking for. Who would of thought something so simple could be the best solution of all? With the start of a new school year looming, I am making a few modifications to set up this year's planner. I'm sharing it in hopes other coaches will find it useful as well!
What is a Bullet Journal?
I am pretty sure at this point many of you are asking, what exactly is a Bullet Journal? The idea was created by Ryder Carroll, a digital designer now living in New York. He created his first notebook while in college as a way to keep information and notes organized. Since then Bullet Journaling has become a movement, with numerous blogs, YouTube channels and Facebook pages dedicated to sharing and teaching others the method. My favorite part is that Bullet Journaling is completely personalized and designed by you to make it your own. There is no hard-fast method to adhere to. Simply create and modify pages to meet your needs. If you are interested in learning what it's all about, begin by watching the video below. Ryder Carrol explains his method and the basics of creating a Bullet Journal. There are plenty of additional resources listed at the end of this post you may find helpful as well.
Using a Bullet Journal as an Instructional Coach
As I mentioned earlier, I have tried and discarded several different planners over the past four years. I realized that truly, it was because I had not created them for myself. It is kind of like teaching from someone else's lesson plans- it's just not the same as creating your own plans and understanding the thoughts behind them!
Once I settled on what I needed to include, the Instructional Coach's Bullet Planner was born! I created both a digital and printable version of the Instructional Coach's Bullet Planner. I prefer to use the digital. It took a little while to get the hang of writing with a stylus, but now I am hooked! :)
Version one is a full-size planner that can be printed on standard 8.5 X 11 paper. Once printed pages can be punched and placed into a 3-ring binder or printed on dot grid or graph paper such as suggested by the Bullet Journal website. The printable version is nice for instructional coaches who want to be able to use a full-size notebook and add, remove or reorganize pages from the binder as needed. This version, for example, can be run on a pack of loose-leaf dot-grid paper and then placed into a binder. Pages are easy to take out and move to other parts of the binder as needed.
The digital version of the planner isn't designed to be printed. The Pdf file should be saved to your device and then imported into a digital note taking app such as Notability or Good Notes. Personally, I use Good Notes on my iPad with an Apple Pencil stylus. I designed the Instructional Coaching Digital Bullet Planner with no external hyperlinks so it is not necessary to export it again as a PDF. I am able to do all of my planning right in the app and view pages as they are needed. Also, I use the bookmark feature in Good Notes as a virtual index to instantly jump to and view any page I need. Finally, I prefer to write on lined paper rather than use a dot or box grid. View sample pages from my actual planner below.
The hyperlinks below take you to several of my favorite blogs and webpages that give information, ideas and tips on how to create and use a Bullet Journal.