A little over a year ago, I tried something new…online lesson planning. Like most of you, I was used to writing down plans in a spiral bound lesson plan book. While that method is obviously time-tested, I’ve found that online planning offers some pretty impressive benefits when compared with the old standby.
1. Color code classes any way you want. Just because you skip the paper planner doesn’t mean your plans can’t be cute! Mine is a rainbow!
2. Attach files and web links for easy access. This is especially helpful now that our school doesn’t allow USB drives or Dropbox! I attach everything I am using to my plans, even if I already have copies or I know it’s on my school computer because…
3. View & copy last year’s plans. Talk about a time saver! Obviously, I’m not copying an entire year over (although it’s possible), but I do sometimes copy one unit that went really well. I love that I can use it to find attachments easier than hunting through all of my various drives too!
4. Templates save precious planning time. Enter all of those things you do over and over once, and never do it again! See my enrichment schedule at the bottom of the screenshot for an example.
5. Bump or Extend a lesson with 1 click. Planbook bumps all of your lessons forward or backward automatically when you do this. There’s even an option to lock a lesson so that it doesn’t get affected by a bump (for an assembly, etc.)
6. Share plans with teammates – My plans are shared with our SPED department so that they can easily see what’s going on in my class, and we can plan together. I’ve also shared plans with my teammates most years. It makes it really easy to import if one of you plans a special unit or you share the planning for different subjects.
7. Create and send substitute plans easily – I added a lesson plan tab called “Sub Notes” where I type in all of the little things that a sub needs to know (how to turn on the morning news show, when students leave the room for support services, etc.). These things are now ready to go anytime I need a sub, and I don’t have to re-type them over and over or copy and paste. I simply log in to Planbook (usually from bed, if I’m sick enough not to go in), “fluff out” my normal plans so they will make sense to the sub, and send the link to one of my teammates. The sub then has access to any printables, presentations, videos, or web links that s/he will need that day. Couldn’t be easier!
8. Common Core Standards & lots of state standards are already loaded. If you don’t use Common Core (we don’t), they will add them for you. I got our standards added in a snap.
9. Easy to follow tutorials for everything you could ever want to do!
10. Awesome customer service! They are constantly improving based on our feedback. This summer, they launched an iPhone app (iPad app was already available) and made several other changes based on teacher requests.
Now for the nitty-gritty. Planbook is not free, but it’s cheap. $12 a year is less than most planners out there, for a lot more features. It’s 100% worth it in my opinion. If you aren’t sold yet, there’s a 30-day free trial, no credit card required.
FYI – I am not recieving any compensation for this post, I just happen to love Planbook!
Have you tried Planbook? I’d love to know if you love it as much as I do!