Friday, August 17, 2012
Using an On-line Lesson Plan Book
Monday is the first official day back for teachers, and the kids will begin on Wednesday. School may not have started yet, but I'm already beginning to work on my schedule and lesson plans. For years I used a template that I had created on word. It gave me my frame work. All I had to do was update it periodically and type or hand write my plans into it and print it off.
Last year I decided to try out an on-line plan book. I tried Planbook.com, and I love it. There are so many advantages to an on-line plan book. If I'm at home and wondering what I had planned for science the next day, I can easily go on line, refresh my memory, and make changes to it, if need be.
Being able to bump or extend my plans to another day is one of my favorite aspects of Planbook.com. I have a tendency to over plan, so there are many days that we didn't get to an activity, or I realize that it's going to take another day. Using the old fashioned method of handwritten plans, that meant a lot of rewriting of plans. With Planbook.com all I have to do is hit bump, and I move the lesson plan to the next day, or extend it over as many days as I want. I especially like the on-line plan book when it comes to long term planning. I can easily lay out an entire unit at a time.
Having an on-line plan book, makes it easy to give my principal or colleagues access to my plans. You can set up a code that students, or others can use to see your plan book. If you teach and plan collaboratively, you can set it up so others can write plans as well.
If you need to include Common Core Standards in your lesson plans, those are built in and readily available. If your state uses different standards or objectives, you can build a list of those.
For me the trickiest part was setting up my classes at the beginning of the year. If you decide to try out Planbook.com, they have a series of 14 tutorials to help you get started. You can create a template that provides the information that you need in your plans every day. Here is an example of the tutorial for creating or editing a lesson plan.
Even though my plans are on-line, I do print a copy for a paper plan book. I like to refer to it during the day, make notes, and check things off. This also makes my lesson plans available to a substitute who probably would not have computer access. You can choose to view your plans a week at a time, or daily. At different times, I have printed them off both ways.
There is more than one on-line plan book. This happens to be the one I use. One of the reasons I chose it is that it is very reasonably priced, just $12 for the year.
I know this probably sounds like a commercial, but I don't work for Planbook.com and I'm not getting any compensation, though maybe I should try for a discount. It's a product that has made lesson planning significantly easier for me, and I highly recommend it.