Digital or Analog Journaling and Planning: A Perfect Activity for Today’s Student

Have you heard of bullet journals? The system has been around for a while, but it has morphed into a huge movement of both digital and analog planners. Ryder Carroll developed the Bullet Journal system, and you can read more about it on his website.

There are many good reasons to teach children to plan/journal, but two of the most important are stress reduction and increase productivity. Check out these articles:

Planners Help Students Learn Organization Skills

Teaching Kids the Planner Habit

How to Use a Digital (or Paper) Planner

How to Convince Your Teen to (Actually) Use a Planner

By introducing a planner of some kind to students you are giving them access to skills that will help them for the rest of their lives. They will develop an ORGANIZATION system that works for them that will help in school and extracurricular activities. These skills will transfer with them into the work force once they have completed their education.

Allowing the customization of the planner brings in CREATIVITY. Not everyone manages their time the same way and just like everyone learns differently, there are different ways to plan as well. By giving students the flexibility to create different weekly and monthly spreads they’ll be able to experiment with different formats until they find something that works best for them.

Finally, by providing space for students to create, plan, and organize their planners, school librarians allow students to be MAKERS of their own learning. If students choose to go the digital route there is an added benefit of technology integration as students learn to navigate the apps used to create the interactive, hyperlinked PDF documents used for digital planners. In addition to the technical aspects of creation, students will develop an eye for what works visually as well as they take into account what works from a design standpoint.

Teach students to become responsible consumers of media by creating a free resource library of planners and planner elements they create so everyone can benefit from each other’s different styles.

Here are some resources to get you and your students started:

FYI: There are a TON of free digital planners that different creators give away. Download them all until you find a style/design you like. OR if nothing strikes your fancy watch the videos below and make your own.

Free Digital Journal: I made this digital journal. This dropbox link includes the interactive PDF file you’ll import into a note-taking app like GoodNotes, Noteshelf 2, Zoom Notes, or others. It also includes instructions.

Bright Planner Stickers: I made these. This Dropbox link includes individual PNG images and also GoodNotes files that can be directly imported into the GoodNotes app to use with your digital planners.

Here are some video tutorials:

BoJo Berry

Nap Time Alternative’s Build Your Own Digital Planner Series

How to Get Started with Digital Planning 101

Digital Planner DIY

Print Stick Channel

Jenny Gollan Designs

Using a Digital Planner in College

Benefits of Going DigitalBullet

Journal Ideas for Students! BACK TO SCHOOL Planning! (Video in Analog Journal)

People to follow on Instagram:


You can benefit from planning, too. Learn and create along side your students. It’s useful, but it’s also FUN!


Author: Karin Perry

Associate Professor of Library Science at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX. The author of SCI FI ON THE FLY: A READER’S GUIDE TO SCIENCE FICTION FOR YOUNG ADULTS and SKETCHNOTING IN SCHOOL. She spends her time reading children’s, young adult, graphic novels, and adult romance. She commutes between Oklahoma and Texas every week and listens to a lot of audio books. In addition to reading, Karin doodles and sketchnotes using mostly the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil. She’s been married for 23 years and lives on 29 acres with her husband, Longhorn cattle, three stray tomcats, and one spunky Chihuahua named Pennie.

Categories: Blog Topics, Makerspaces/Learning Commons

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