I tend to have an AWESOME planner the first week of school...and then it all just gets lost. This school year I am making an effort to do better!
I tend to plan in four different places, my phone, my e-mail (Outlook), my desk calendar, and my school planner. Outlook I am more or less stuck with because my bosses use it and I need to mark when I am busy there so people know when to schedule appointments. My desk calendar is key for big items, but not day to day. My phone is awesome, but sometimes having things in writing is just best.
Normally, my school planner isn't much to look at, but this year I moved into a new classroom and am really trying to make it homey. I got some awesome black and white wrapping paper from the dollar store and have used it for accents around my room. It covers part of my podium, is the background of my wallpaper, and acts as the border for the class bulletin boards. I used this to add some color to my free "weekly lesson plan" notebook the school gives every year.
I can't show the inside of the planner because I don't know my schedule for another few weeks. Until then all I can really do is play with the cover and wait.
So, my yet-to-be-completed cheap-o school planner.
I do HAVE favorite pens for planning, but will admit that since this comes with me home and to school, I usually use whatever is on hand.
I am a HUGE fan of highlighters, not only for focusing on important ideas, but also for color coding. I teach five different classes and work after school. All of these are on rotating schedules, so I like knowing that I can match one color to a specific class or activity.
For big things like headers, (or marking days off) I am a huge fan of chalk markers. They don't seem to bleed through as much as other markers, don't have that marker-y smell, and seem to be rather pigmented.
These Beary Genius ones also come with reversible tips so I can have some freedom with the size of lines.
These work great on any surface, but they really pop on chalkboard labels. You can find chalkboard labels all over the place, but I LOVE these from Chalkola. The neon colors really pop and they have tons of fun shapes I can play with that make my planner more fun to use thus, I actually use them!
I also tend to use a lot of sticky notes. These are however for less permanent things. For example, if I know a student is very sick, I may put a post-it in my planner for a week from when I find out that reminds me to send a letter, or call home if they still haven't showed up. Once I've done that I throw the sticky out, so it doesn't mess with anything else. Stickies are basically my code for, "This is something you need to handle ASAP and it will take you less than five minutes."
That's pretty much it. Hopefully as the year progresses I'll have a chance to share what the inside looks like and you'll be able to laugh as you see the development of the cover of my planner as it goes through numerous meetings.