So you are already using planbook.com (Don’t admit it if you aren’t, but quick go here). It certainly makes planning easier to access, you can link standards up more easily (and keep track of them), but it can still be time-consuming. I am sure you have things you do every year. I am always constantly thinking, “How did I introduce centers last year? What activities worked well those first few weeks? How did I start that author study?” Using planbook.com, I can go back and look at last year’s plan, but I am not always very specific. So this year I am planning smarter, not harder.
It is finally time to keep track of some of these things and my recommendation for doing this is Google (are you shocked?)! You won’t be surprised at my suggestion since just last night I passed my exam and became a Google Certified Educator Level 1! I have learned so much and will continue to share tips and tricks on here when I can. Today is all about the basics of using your Google Docs and Drive to help with planning.
Tip #1- Make it in a Doc
Your docs stay with you all tucked in safe in your Google Drive. They save automatically, so you don’t lose anything. I use the doc to plan lessons that I know I will use again next year in greater detail. They are easy to copy and paste right into your planbook and also easy enough to tweak and change as you reflect on your lessons.
Name your Doc something that you will remember. If you described how to introduce your centers, you may want to call it “Intro for centers” instead of naming it something generic like “Untiled Doc” (which will happen if you don’t name it by the way). It is VERY easy to search in your Drive when you want to find something. Remembering one of those keywords will help so much!
Tip #3- Sort them into folders
If you are planning out your author studies for the year, a folder named ‘Author Studies” might be a great place to start. Did you know you can just drag and drop them into the folders? It makes it very simple when you need to start organizing them. You can even select a whole bunch at once and drag them in together! Some people are apparently “Searchers” and disregard folders, but that would drive me mad! Some folder ideas are one for my class each year, ones for different subjects, and more. You can upload folders full of all your old Word documents and transfer those files to Docs and edit as needed. I did that with my parent letters and can access them anywhere!
Now that you are writing all these plans and ideas into Google Docs, you can share them with your team. It clicked a few weeks ago when my team and I were trying to get together to create some new Social Studies/Science Units- We can collaborate without being together! We got together, bounced ideas off each other, made a template and went our separate ways. Two tips for sharing with your team is creating a shared folder. Once you have shared the folder all you have to do is create documents in that folder or drag files in there and everyone on your team has access! Save yourself the step of sharing each doc/file individually. The other tip is using the comment feature within docs you are working on. You can leave questions/ideas for collaborators without changing the doc itself.
Now next year I will thank myself and hopefully you will thank me too! I make changes each year and always make sure it works for my current class, but this will be an easier way to start! Any more tips for using Docs and Drive to aid in planning? Please comment below!
Check out the first unit we planned together using Docs in my TPT store!