At the start of a new year, lesson planning is always a big topic of conversation among teachers. Today, I wanted to share with you what I have found to be the best lesson planner EVER! (They are not paying me to say any of this, I’m just passionate about the site!)
I know, I’m setting the bar pretty high for this post, but I truly LOVE this site. So much so that I don’t even use the planning pages from the Teacher Binders in my own store anymore. (I do use the other parts of the binders, just not the weekly planning pages.)
What is this amazing site, you ask?
Planbook.com! Here are a few of the things I love about Planbook, and a quick tutorial on how to set it up for the first time if you’re new to the site.
Cost: It’s only $12/year, which is about the same as the cheapest paper plan books in teacher stores.
Sharing: You can share your lesson plans on Planbook with your coworkers, admin, or families easily, without needing to share passwords. They don’t even need an account to see your plans if you give them a direct link. This is how I share plans with our special education team so that they always know what’s going on in my room.
Attachments & Links: You can attach files, images, and links right onto your lesson plans, inside the subject or lesson that they belong to. AMAZING! No more praying that I didn’t forget my USB drive (they’re blocked at my school now anyway) or hunting through my Dropbox (also blocked for us) looking for the right file. I just attach files and links to the plans as I am writing them, and always have exactly what I need right at my fingertips!
Templates: Do you always need the same information in your plans for your admin? Do you always introduce vocabulary the same way on Mondays? You can make templates that save tons of time, and help me keep track of what all I need to remember to plan for!
Last Year’s Plans: Once you’ve used it for a year, the previous year’s plans stick around, and you can search them! I’ve used this when I can’t remember that website I used at Thanksgiving last year – just scroll to that week, and there it is! Or when I know an activity that was great but I can’t find the file anymore – it’s still on Planbook, right where I attached it last year!
Standards: Already pre-loaded for you if you’re using Common Core, and a plethora of others, too. If they don’t have your standards, they will add them for you! We had to have ours added a few years ago, before we went Common Core.
Substitute Plans: This is one place I use loads of templates! All those things you find yourself typing over and over on your sub plans can be loaded as templates on a Substitute tab, and printed easily for your sub! Unexpected absences are a breeze now, because I just hop on the computer (from bed, most likely) and type up my plans, attach the files, and send them to my teammate, who prints them out for the sub. Easy-peasy! This combined with my Substitute Info Flipbook makes for a much easier sick day.
Bump & Extend: This is one of the features I love most! When your entire mini-lesson gets taken over by the surprise fire drill, you can bump it ahead or back with a single click. When a lesson goes long, extend it out another day. All of the lessons behind that one also get bumped out so that your plans stay in order!
Setting up your Planbook
Setting up an account is a breeze! Just go to Planbook.com and click “sign up!”
You’ll have the option to go ahead and schedule “No school” days by choosing from their prepopulated list of holidays and adding your own. Again, you can always add more later.
Next, you’ll be taken to a super helpful tour of all the features on the site. This is new for this year, so I’m not going to share all of those details here, when they do a great job of sharing them right on the site.
Once you’ve taken the tour, you’ll want to set up your classes based on your school schedule. I haven’t done anything yet for this year, because I don’t know my schedule yet, but here’s an example from the end of last year. The plans are extremely short (last week of school, don’t judge!), but that’s actually good because you can see the entire day. Most weeks are full of plans, so the screen stretches too long for a good screenshot.
If you’re interested in details of how I use Planbook.com for my lesson plans, follow me over at Chalk & Apples, and be on the lookout for a more detailed post about how I set up Planbook, coming soon!
Do you use Planbook? I’d love to hear any awesome tips & tricks you’ve found!