Friday, November 9, 2012

Guest Blogger - Kathy Walz

Our guest blogger today is CODE teacher Kathy Walz.

Kathy is a 3rd Grade teacher at Stringtown Elementary School.  Take a look at her classroom weebly website @ http://www.mrswalz.com/.  Make sure you check out her classroom web reporters link to see her kids blog posts.  Let's give Kathy a hand for her effort on today's post!

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! 

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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.  PlanbookEdu.com 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.