Friday, November 9, 2012

Day 10 - PLANBOOK EDU (An Online Lesson Plan Planbook)

Have you ever become tired of writing the same thing over and over again each week in your lesson plan book? If your answer is yes…I have a program for you!  I felt the same way and then discovered this great online Planbook Program.  PlanbookEdu  will do your lesson plans for you!  Check out the introductory video on the program below. 


I came across this program one day while I was planning for a substitute teacher.  It was very exciting because when I created my lesson plan I also could attach any Powerpoints©, Flipcharts, worksheet pages, websites, or other activities I had planned for the day on there as well.  There was no need to make any special folders on my computer for the substitute to find my material.  The only thing I needed to do was send a link to my substitute and/or put a link on my desktop for him/her.  It was all there and everything was only a click away!

PlanbookEdu is a great tool for K-12 teachers, administrators and even higher education professors. Anyone who creates lesson plans will find this program helpful!

So where do you begin?  Watch this tutorial on how to create your first Planbook.

Another neat part of this program is the opportunity you have to design how your lesson Planbook looks and is designed.  Then, once you have created your  Planbook, you can create your lesson plans.  Lesson plans can be stored for up to an entire year and you also have access to your prior year's lesson plans.  A bonus the program provides is the ability to easily copy and send them forward to the next year so you don’t forget your favorites!  The possibilities are endless! 


Check out this video on how to create your first template:


A great advantage with this program is only typing in your general information once. After you type in the general information, there are options to have it duplicated to the entire week, specific days of the week, or even the entire year.  Also, once you've put it in, you still have the option of being able to tweak it each week, but the daily general information will still be there.  To do this, you can click on the edit link for each box (period).  Fill in the information for that period which now allows you the option of repeating the entry as you would like.  You can then quick edit and adjust the font, underline the text or attach any files you want (Powerpoint©, Flipcharts, webpages, etc). 


Sample of the editing box for a specific period.                  

On a side note, another great feature to this program…PlanbookEdu automatically puts in your state specific educational standards and the common core standards! Talk about helpful!  This is easily done by typing the skill in the box (period), which will then automatically bring up the related standards/common cores for that skill. (Note: When you first register, you are provided with the choice of which state standards you want, the grade level you need, and the common core standards).

Next, let’s talk about the helpful “Off days”  and “Bump” functions that we all need sometimes.  You can select an “Off day” directly from your Planbook by clicking on “Off day” next to the day, providing a reason why it is now an “Off day” (i.e. a snow day) and  the Planbook will then automatically bump your lessons to the next day! PlanbookEdu also provides the ability to bump a period or a day both forwards and/or backwards.  There are two ways to do this.  To bump, repeat the above for “Off day”, but choose "Bump" instead.  Click on the green icon in your box and drag the whole box to the next day.  It will ask you if you want it to replace the information in the next box or move everything forward one day, which allows you to choose what you would like.  Whenever you start to drag the period, it also gives you the opportunity to drag it over to a side bar that pops out to save that period's information for another day in the future if you so choose.

Since PlanbookEdu is an online program, it allows access to all of your information most anywhere.  This provides you the opportunity to design your lesson plans wherever you are and then share them with anyone you want, including your substitute teacher, colleagues, your principal, or your friends if you should be gone for a day or two.  It also provides the ability to share only the information you want others to see (without them being able to edit it) and you can select a time frame for how long others can access the material as well. 

To share a Planbook, click on the share button at the top of the Planbook page.  You will be given two choices: "Share Planbook" or "Planbooks Shared with You".  First, you choose which Planbook you want to share, then you select how long you want the Planbook to be viewable. For example, for a substitute, you would only want them to be able to view it for one day.  Second, you have the option on who can view your Planbook.  You have the "Restricted" choice or the "Open" choice.  The Restricted version only enables people in which you have entered their email address.  In order to see it, they must put in their email when prompted to do so.  If you choose the Open version, anyone is allowed to see it.  This version can be beneficial when posting on your website for parents or students to see who missed class due to illness or another reason.  It provides access to view the lessons and all Powerpoints© or other important documents missed at home before returning to school.

In order to let people know you have shared your Planbook, you can either send a link to their email or provide the link to others by posting it on your website, blog, etc.  (Note: In “Restricted”, you must make sure you put the email address in the appropriate box in order for people to open it). 

One other neat feature with the sharing function is the ability to “Collaborate” with others and work together on things.  This is a great feature if you work with a team!

Hidden treasures also exist in this program!  By clicking on the “wrench icon” at the top of the page, you can find many things, such as spell check, font size, how you want attachments to be displayed on your lesson plans, if you want the full version of your standards to be shown or the codes only, and many more!  

In addition, you will find the “print icon” next to the “wrench icon”.  You have three ways you can print your lesson plans:  one whole page, day by day, or split into two separate pages.  Once you have selected how you would like it to print out, you then select the program to print it with.  It provides you three options (you choose what fits your needs best!):

1. Export to PDF
2. Print from browser
3. Export to MS word

Finally, the table below shows the difference between the features you receive with the free version and the paid version of the program. You can choose the option of using the free version or you can purchase the paid version for $25 for the entire year.  Both are great, but a lot of the features that have been discussed are only available in the paid version. does offer a 10-day free trial of the Premium Version as well.  

 If you are a lesson planner, I challenge you to give PlanbookEdu a try!  How good would it feel to be able to get rid of all that long, tedious, hand-written work you do year after year for those lesson plans?  With PlanbookEdu, you can copy your general information for as many days as you would like, make edits if needed, personalize your lesson plans, “Bump” days or periods you were not able to get to, and even send your favorites to the next year so you don’t forget all of those GREAT ideas!  Best of all, you can collaborate with a team and share your lesson plans with others, which decreases the stress of having to make a lesson plan for a substitute—you just send a link and are done!  Have fun and enjoy!

Your Challenge:

Do you see yourself being able to move to this type of system to plan and keep record of standards?  What is it about online planbooks that make them appealing or not?  Please share your thoughts and ideas.


  1. I learned about this resource from Kathy at the last CODE meeting, and I created an account immediately. After my 14-day trial, I also purchased the full paid plan because I couldn't imagine not taking advantage of the standards feature--I will definitely use this with my college courses as well. With the ability to create my own set of custom-standards and track my use of them over the course of the semester or year--why would you NOT want to use this? Definitely an awesome resource and I am so appreciative that Kathy shared it!

  2. What a fantastic resource! While my current position does not lend itself to such an application, I can't imagine why teachers would not want to use this. Being able to access your planbook from anywhere is a definite plus, and the standards feature is nice too.

  3. I love this idea! I haven't purchased it yet because I want to have time to really look at it and make it work for me! I love the idea of having online so I don't have to carry it with me on hard copy and it is always up to date and current!! I think this is GREAT and have shared it with many of my PLC members already after our last CODE day!! Thanks for the detailed information! I've already passed that along as well!!!

  4. I am sold! And probably will buy the $25 feature to do all the extra stuff too. I am ready (if I had the time) to get it started now. And I want to use this possibily for the curriculum mapping our department has been tasked to do (another reason to add the $25 feature) via collaboration. Currently we are trying google docs for it but I think this is so much better and visual with drop ins and such. The only downside I see from the opening statement is for the sub. Most subs I have don't want to teach; so leaving the flipcharts etc isn't that helpful for them; just makes it more worrisome for me to be gone.

    But great resource for my 2.0 toolbelt!

  5. oh wow!!! This looks like an AWESOME resource! Less to carry, easier to rearrange your calendar on those days/weeks with little prior notice, collaboration and sharing features, standards included. This looks wonderful! I'm definitely going to give this a try!

  6. I think an online planbook would be great for the sharing and easily updating it has to offer. A drawback could be the reliance on technology, but you can pay to be able to print it off. Or you could probably print a screen shot, too.

  7. When I first was reading this post, I was really excited. Then I got to the bottom and saw that all the features I was excited about were for the paid version only. Some of the features you pay for make sense to me, but the others don't. I have to pay $25 just to print something I created? Seriously???

    As cool as the program is, I think I will stick to what I am doing. I use dropbox for almost everything and absolutely everything for school. I type my lesson plans using a word document template I learned from Tim Wilhelmus and save them in my dropbox. I can access, edit, and save them from all of my computers, and I can access them from any computer with internet connection by going to I keep a list of the standards for my subjects on another word document, then just copy and paste the ones I need. The best thing is - it's free! My budget is incredibly tight and knowing that I can do it all without dropping $25 and with relative convenience makes it unlikely for me to switch to PlanbookEdu.

  8. As far as printing a copy, you could always make a screen shot copy of your page. However, it was well worth the $25. Try to free trial of the paid version and check it out.

  9. I think I will try the free version maybe 2nd semester or to start next year. I am excited about the possibility to include links and attach files. As someone earlier mentioned, that would be great for sharing between content areas. Not carrying around a paper version is also nice.

    I love the idea but am not sure about the $25. From the sound of it, it's worth it... I just wish that wasn't yearly.

  10. I think an online planner is a good idea. I am not an EVSC teacher and my district and evaluators require a format that is different than this online planner. In addition, we have sections that need to be included that I did not find on this planner. We have a set template that is very easy to use and change. I doubt I will be using this but can see how it would be good for others.

  11. Wow! I've just watched the tutorials, and already I can't wait to get started. The ability to share the planbook is great for me and my teaching partner who are integrating multiple courses into our multiple period blocks. I'll certainly give the trial period a go and see what happens. Great find! My thanks to Kathy!

  12. I think this looks great! I always retype lesson plans and email them for a sub, this way that would be done ahead of time and I could just share them with either the sub or another teacher in the building who could pass them along.
    Teaching a related arts class, so often a project ends up needing an extra day or two - I love the being able to "bump" lessons to another day instead of all the arrows and markings in my current plan book.

  13. I curretnly use a lesson plan that I type in a Word Doc and then upload it to my Dropbox. I love online and easy to type, copy, and share items. I like the fact that this has the ability to add in the flipcharts,etc. It would save me the typing it in. I also like the common core standards that are easily put in. The bump feature sounds great and would look much better than my arrows! I agree with others that the $25 may well be worth it but I am tight on budget with currently finishing a masters. I might look into it next year and use the free portions this year. I really like the collaboration piece as we have daily PLC time and we could all use this.

  14. I learned about this during eRev this summer! I know several Scott teachers use it, and so I jumped on board! I ended up shelling out the $25 for the full version and have been loving it! You can create several planbooks in one account, so if you have a common email address with others in your team, you can share! Split the cost! I'm currently the only one on my team using it, but I love that I can share my plans for the week with them. Also, I LOVE the idea of sharing it with a sub! I do enjoy also having all my general info saved in for every week! Keeping track of both IN and Common Core standards is also a plus!

  15. I really like this, I will try it and see if I can make it work for our TAP style lessons. I will reserve judgement and purchase until then. Great looking idea!

  16. I'm excited to give this a try. I have several university students and student teachers throughout the year so I love the idea of being able to collaborate with them using this tool. I love the idea of emailing my sub my plans! I'm going to jump right in tonight, and my guess is that after 14 days, I will be paying the $25 for the additional features - they definitely sound like they're worth it.

    I can see this being a valuable tool as teachers plan their Interventions for the various tiers based on student needs. I will be passing this information along to my peers. I'm ready to get started.

  17. Our 6th grade teachers started using PlanbookEdu this year along with the iPad 1:1. They embed the link to the planbook on their class web page. They are using the paid version and really like it so far.

  18. I've been playing around with it and so far, I love it!!!

  19. Cool! I have a subscription to, but will probably switch over once that runs out--this offers so much more! I like how I can download PDFs or other file formats and upload work directly to it, rather than simply filling out a form and having to maintain my documents elsewhere. Sounds worth it to me!

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  21. Are you kidding me the option to bump days forward... My plan book always has arrows drawn all over it and I get annoyed with it. I hate writting it down more than 5 days ahead because in two days I have to draw another set of arrows. I am a little disappointed that the basic features, such as spell check and ability to attach files, is in the pay only version. I understand creating this stuff isn't free though. I will probably be switching over soon. I also like the fact that I can link in standards without rewritting them each time.

  22. I found PlanbookEDU last year when I was trying to decide how to set up my lesson plans since I was a traveling teacher. I had trouble switching to the electronic format and did not have much time to spend figuring things out like I normally do.

    However, with all of the helpful things that you posted I could definately see myself making the switch from my handwritten planbook and notes too this much simpler and condensed electronic version. I really like how you use it for your subs too! That would make for a much easier transition and reduse what the sub needs to read and figure out. Everything is right there in one simple place. The bump feature is fantastic as well!

  23. I'm not sure how I feel about this. As I watched the tutorials and read the blog (great job, by the way!!), I felt excited to try it out..the same feeling I get when I;m about to laminate something.

    After realizing it costs money - I may be too cheap :) Pros: Instead of having millions of lesson plan files on my computer, I'd get to have them all associated with a calendar day. Cons: I'm used to using word including links to everything, and I'm not so sure I want to dish out the $25.

    I'll try it out, though! Who knows, I may love it!

  24. I found this last year, but like so many programs, it takes a couple of go 'rounds for them to stick. I have looked at many programs for lesson plans, trying to find a good one, and I really do like this one. I haven't paid the fee yet, but I'm having no problem just printing out a copy and it is usually prints on 2 pages and works fine. I love the feature of the 3 day rotation. I also used the bump feature for the off days for Thanksgiving and it worked well! Good program!

  25. I like that you can access it from anywhere, and add standards. I agree with some of the other comments above that the bump feature is something I need. My plan book is a mess. I am looking forward to giving this a try.

  26. I love the add standards part. I may pay the $25 for that, because otherwise sometimes it doesn't happen on a day-to-day basis (don't tell!).