Technology

Back to School Part III: Are you seriously still writing all your plans by hand?

Back to School Part IIIThat sounded sassy and I hope you are still reading. No really, I am honestly wondering. I have often heard people swear they just “have to write it down,” but I feel like if they saw the flexibility with using web-based lesson planning- ALL WOULD CHANGE! It really would!

Here are my reasons:

  1. They are available anywhere (well anywhere with wi-fi, which is almost everywhere these days). How many times have you left the planbook at school and wanted to mark something down at home (or vice versa)? When it is web-based, Five Reasons to use a web-based Planbookyou CAN NOT leave it anywhere! For those that don’t trust the internet to always be there- Most online planning apps or using something like Google, will allow you to print if you are afraid of wi-fi/internet failure while at work. I never print because of reason
  2. Saving paper! I am not a tree-hugger, but I am often shocked at the amount of paper we use (and mostly waste) at school. I try to be more conscious of this and make better decisions! I do love trees, so I am playing my part!
  3. It is fast! Once you get used to it, it is so fast. When lessons need to be shifted, it is a simple click or two and voila! I used to waste erasers or get very upset at all the pen scribbles I was forced to look at whenever something changed! I am also going to show you what I use (planbook.com) and I can add Common Core Standards with one click!
  4. Easy to personalize. I don’t know about you, but our schedule changes each year at our school and therefore, I was always searching for the perfect way to record my plans. I tried every plan book and spent summers creating my own. I can personalize easily now! And change it whenever I want! In the old days, I had to make sure it was perfect, because I was stuck with it all year! Now I can change it easily if need be.
  5. Although we are always changing and improving upon the year before, I often like to look back for any great ideas I forgot about and to check on pacing. I have stacks of old planbooks that were never to be found when I needed them. I can now look back at last year with ease!

Are you convinced yet? Do you still think it will be too hard? Well I am going to introduce you to my favorite resource and tool and I promise you will love it: Planbook.complanbook

Disclaimer: I am NOT a salesperson for Planbook.com and I am not getting any sort of kick-back for this (but if they are reading this and throwing money around- I am in!). It does cost money, but so did my planbook attempts, so I feel like it is more than worth $12/year. Best part- one month trials are available if you are feeling hesitant. I started there and paid up when the time came!

Take a look at some of the features I love (I know I talk fast…sorry):

Check out this tutorial to set up and then subscribe to the YouTube channel and find all the information you need to make the most of this amazing tool!

Some features to remember/tips:

  1. It links to your Google Calendars! I think this has changed my life. We plan out the year for writing and math as a grade level and I put it on a shared Google calendar. Now it pops right up on the right day in my planbook! If you don’t use Google calendars don’t talk to me (just kidding, but seriously get on that)!
  2. Color-code subjects/time slots however it works for you. I change them a lot when I start a new year because once I get used to it, I won’t want to change it.
  3. Add in all parts of your day. I even schedule in lunch and planning. Sometimes I have a meeting or something and it is nice to slide that in my planbook (although if it is on your Google calendar if will pop right in there)!
  4. Don’t try all the features at once. I started adding standards later in the year to my reading lessons since those are ones I create and not part of a “Common Core” aligned program.
  5. Decide how specific you want to be. Our math lessons are all created in Smart Board lessons to align to the math modules, so I just briefly mention what lesson I am on typically. I sometimes add extra notes or activities that I may want to add to the lesson. (Self-promotion never hurts- Check out my Kindergarten Math Module lessons!)
  6. Keep playing with the features. You can link documents and more detailed lesson plans, print plans for subs, share with other teachers, and even share with students (I don’t think my kindergartners would care, but maybe…).
  7. Add the standards! I think this is a great way to hold yourself accountable and don’t be afraid to show that to your administrator! You can even give them access if that is something they need to have!
  8. Come up with the best way to access it. I ALWAYS open it on my computer first thing, so I can click and look quick if needed. I also have an iPad Mini (Thanks to an awesome grant!) and the app is easy to use! I can reference it there and take it with me to edit when I meet with my team!

If Planbook.com is not for you, keep searching! There are other services out there. Get creative and let us know what you are using!

Check out the other posts in my Back to School Series- Part I: What do parents need to know? and Part II: Gathering Student Info (Google Forms)

Part IV: Setting Up Your (Elementary) Classroom- Just the Basics!

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4 thoughts on “Back to School Part III: Are you seriously still writing all your plans by hand?

  1. Pingback: Part IV: Setting Up Your (Elementary) Classroom- Just the basics! |

  2. Pingback: Back to School Part V: Routines and Procedures |

  3. Pingback: Plan smarter not harder! Using Google Docs and Drive to plan! |

  4. Pingback: Planbook.com tip: Add links to your plans |

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