How to Use Your Academic Planner
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of At-A-Glance. All opinions are 100% my own. For decades, At-A-Glance has offered industry-leading planners, organizers, calendars, and much more. Like this beautiful At-A-Glance Academic Weekly Monthly Planner. After a thorough review, I think this planner is the best option for my son, soon-to-be, a middle school student. Here’s how to help your middle schooler organize their academic planner.
Organizing your time and schedule is as important as organizing your physical space. Being an organized person is a life skill that everyone should have. It doesn’t only free your physical space but it also declutters your mind.
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At-a-Glance Academic Weekly Planner
How soon is too soon to get your child to start using a planner?
It is never too early to teach your children how to organize their time using a planner. Also, I believe that with a clear mind, we can achieve goals faster. This is particularly a good skill to teach your children at an early age.
Our son will soon turn 11 years old, and he will be starting middle school next fall. And, as hard as it is for me to see my one and only son grow up into an independent young man, I am very excited for this new chapter in his life. Getting him to learn how to organize his time using a planner, gets me all fired-up, too.
To help your child learn time organization skills, start with a small academic planner they can bring to school. We chose to review the AT-A-GLANCE Contempo 2021-2022 Academic Weekly Monthly Planner.
I would like to start this review by mentioning my favorite aesthetic features of the At A Glance Academic Weekly Planner.
- Size – Its small size – 5″ wide x 8″ tall – makes it perfect for tweens to carry it around.
- Weight – It weighs under 10 oz (9.4 oz to be exact!), which is great for a middle school student to carry in their backpack and bring it home at the end of each school day.
- Color – We chose Contempo 2021-2022 Academic Weekly Monthly Planner in Seaglass. We like that the color is neutral and appealing to any gender, but it is also available in black and blue.
- Binding – The planner binding is our favorite feature. It is twin wire-bound in gold, with faux leather, which is very soft to the touch and makes it look high-end.
- Tabbed – Each month is marked by a sturdy white tab printed in gold foil.
- Double-Sided Poly Pocket – I love planners with pockets to store loose sheets, receipts, tickets, post-it notes, etc. This is a perfect feature for middle school students/tweens who are starting to take more responsibility for their belongings.
Graphic Design Features
As a graphic designer myself, I tend to concentrate my criticism on fonts, layout, and paper type. So here are my thoughts on the design features of this weekly academic planner from At-A-Glance.
- The planner covers a 12-month date range from July – June with Julian dates which are optimal for a complete academic year planning
- High-quality paper features superior ink bleed resistance.
- Like any other planner, this academic planner includes a personal information page (page 2).
- On page 3, there are 3 calendars (2021, 2022, and 2023).
- The Monthly spread is 2-page with a column on the right titled ‘Priorities.’
- The Weekly spread is also 2-page, with ruled planning space. This is one of my favorite features. I like planners where you can see the entire week ahead in one place.
- The week’s dates are printed in a large font which makes it easy for a student to spot quickly what week he’s looking at.
- Other features include a column of priorities for each day (except Saturdays and Sundays), and there is a small row for notes on each page.
- The planner includes over 40 note pages for detailed plans and important tasks.
- Includes a page of Important Dates (Holidays) for 2021, 2022, and 2023.
- Includes two pages of future planning (July 2022 – June 2023)
Academic Planner Organization
Even though how to use a planner is self-explanatory, it is always good to do a little preparation, what I like to call planner organization, before writing your first commitments on it.
It is important to have a clear idea of how to organize and use your planner so you can get the best out of it. Here’s how I plan to help my son use this planner to be as organized as possible. A little planner organization goes a long way.
Monthly Spread Planner Organization
For the monthly spread, I recommend using the small daily boxes to note the most important events happening at school. These are events and happenings that the school often releases far in advance in their academic calendar.
Examples of events you can write on the monthly spread pages:
- First day of school
- No-school days
- Holidays (this At A Glance Academic Planner includes US, Canada, Mexico national holidays, as wells as federal and some religious holidays)
- Winter/Spring/Summer breaks
- Science Fair week
- Statewide testing and assessments
- Sports events
- Sign-up deadlines for other activities, etc.
Tip: You can also print the school’s official academic calendar and tape it to the back inner cover or fold it to save in the poly pocket.
On the Priorities column, I recommend writing what really matters, and the things you would need to focus on for that specific month.
Let’s say it’s August and you are participating in the Science Fair. The priorities column is ideal to write things like:
- Define science project.
- Draft science project.
- Purchase supplies and materials.
Then, once those priorities have been accomplished, they can be checked off using the checkbox on the left of the column.
Weekly Spread Planner Organization
For the weekly spread, I recommend writing the daily to-dos. Although there is not much space to write a whole lot, simple phrases should suffice. Things like:
- Science test, Unit 4
- Math homework
- Picture day (no uniform)
- No School / Half Day
On the Priorities column, I recommend writing at least the 3 most important tasks that need to be accomplished on that day. I believe in this system; you can learn more about it in my post: Setting Daily Goals.
Cons of This Weekly Planner
- The planner’s size might be a little too small for my taste. However, I think it’s a good starting point for anyone that has never used a weekly/monthly planner, like my son.
- When I opened the planner, my first impression was that the first page was a little too busy for my taste. There is too much information about the company and the product, all cramped in such a small page. However, this is totally irrelevant and does not bother my 11-year-old son, who will be using it this fall.
- Even though the paper is high quality and ink bleed resistant, the printed dates are visible on each page’s reverse side. This is a little distracting for me, but perhaps it does not bother everyone.
To wrap up this review, considering its small and portable size, I would definitely recommend the AT-A-GLANCE Contempo 2021-2022 Academic Weekly Monthly Planner.
It is perfect for anyone who wants to start planning and the perfect companion for a middle school student who will just be getting started using an academic planner. In addition, it is light and small, which makes it great for students on the go.
You can find this planner and many more options at, At-A-Glance.
I bid you happy planning!