Teachers! It’s back-to-school time. You know what that means… lesson plans, worksheets, grade books, photocopies, etc.
I have never, ever typed my lesson plans. I’ve created my own templates, printed them and written my lesson plans in… but never have I ever thought to type my lesson plans. AND I LOVE TECHNOLOGY!! (What’s wrong with me?!) Something about paper and pencil with the ability to erase when necessary has always been comforting to me.
A colleague of mine mentioned planbook.com and I thought “no thanks, I’ll stick to my pencil and paper.” But then, everyone on my 2nd grade team decided that we should give it a try… and because I’m a team player, I’m on board.
The first thing that you should know about planbook.com is that you can get a 1 month free trial. ABSOLUTELY FREE. I say this because sometimes with a “free” trial, you have to enter your credit card information so that the company can charge your card when your free trial is up (I hate that). Not here! They do not ask for any payment information when you sign up- they had me at hello with this.
The second thing that you should know (in my experience) is that it seems really overwhelming. It does! There are lots of things to click, buttons to learn and options to choose from. My advice? Take some time to play around with it (preferably before school starts and before you need to have your plans ready) to get yourself acclimated with the site. Or? Find someone that already uses it and get advice from them.
Let’s look at some of the features:
- Entering classes and/or subjectsIf you teach multiple classes or subjects, you have the opportunity to enter the name of each class/subject and color-code each one. I have every. single. thing. that we do during the day entered as a “class” from bellwork to math to recess to writing to pack-up and dismissal. For me, it’s more of a visual thing. No, I won’t write any plans for those things, but I can quickly look at my plan and be reminded of what comes next. You can choose the dates that each class is active as well, so I entered 8/6 to the last day of school in May.
- Full plan view
Once you enter all of your classes, your full plan view will look something like the above photo. You can see it by class/subject and your color coding as well as your plans in order. I love that you can enter homework that will be given for each class/subject and that will show up in your plans as well.
- State Standards
So not only does planbook.com have access to the Common Core Standards on their site, but they have state standards as well for all grades available. If you notice above, I have Colorado-2nd grade- and my chosen subject. All I have to do is insert the standards into my plans for the day and my boss can see how my plans align with our state standards. Um… I love this. LOVE.
- Bump and Extend
So. Let’s say that you make a plan for Monday, but you don’t get to it. Or you type your Thursday plan in your Wednesday box by accident. Simply click “bump” 1 day (or 2 thru 5 days) and those plans will be bumped to another day. With the magical “extend” button, if I am going to be using the same standard all week in Social Studies, I can enter the standard and then click “extend” 5 days and voila! There are the standards Monday through Friday. I don’t have to go in each day and enter the standard. Same for any text that I type into the plan box. I can extend it. I love this as well.
- Make a templateSometimes, the outline for what you will do is the same and you just want to change page numbers or strategies. You can create a template for a given subject/class and the text will show up in that class’ box every time. I have put notes in to myself as you can see above that say things like “insert page number here” and “insert this week’s skill here…” this way I know that these are the things that I need to change on a daily basis. My approach to teaching is the same every day, but the skill, page number, story name, etc. will change.
Yes, having your plans all online is fantastic. But if, like me, you’d still like them in print- ta da! You can print it by the week or by the day and you can choose what parts of your plans you want to print- lesson, homework, notes, etc. Do you want them portrait? Landscape? You can also create a PDF from your plans which is AWESOME. At the end of the year, we have to print all of our plans and turn them into our boss. I can choose the dates, save my year’s plans to a PDF and email them to my boss. BOOM!
I am still learning the ins and outs of planbook as I’ve only been planning on it for 2 weeks, but I keep saying to myself “why haven’t I used this before?” I enjoy the freedom, the “bump” and “extend” buttons, the color-coding. I just love it. I also love that you can share your plans with other teachers using planbook.com. I can get their teacher key and share what I have planned with my 2nd grade teammates.
There is a feedback button on the site and an entire forum where teachers can make suggestions for ways to improve the site. Some teachers have said they’d like to be able to bump lessons backwards and not only forwards. The company says they are also working on the ability to view/edit your plans on mobile devices such as android and i-machines (iPad, etc.)
If you are wondering about price, planbook.com costs $12 for a 1 year subscription- that’s $1 a month. I think that’s pretty good. Also, if 5 or more people at your school sign up and you send in your email addresses, they will add on 3 free months to your subscription. You really can’t beat that.
It’s a great organization tool and it’s a great lesson planning tool (in my opinion) bottom line.
The fine folks at planbook.com are offering one of my fellow teachers the opportunity to win a 1 year subscription to their site.
Come on…don’t copy- get your own material. Nobody likes a cheater! Original & Hand Written Plagiarism Will Be Detected. This site is being monitored by CopyGator. Mmkay? Thanks.