Sunday, April 17, 2016

Getting started with Planbook.com

Have you heard of Planbook.com?

I've heard about it so many times over the past few years.  I always navigate to the homepage, then sit there thinking, "Am I really going to use this?" or "Could I really give up my custom paper and pen lesson plan book?"

Usually these questions steer me away from going any further than the homepage.  But this weekend, something changed.  

I read a blog post about customizing and Planbook and making your plans look *beautiful* with pictures to prove it!  Again, I scrolled to the homepage and asked myself those same two questions.

I still wasn't convinced.  So I posted a question in one of my FaceBook teacher groups, asking my fellow teacher friends how many of them use Planbook and how they could give up their "physical" lesson plan book in exchange for the internet based planning website.

I was surprised that so many teachers, like me, had asked themselves the same questions, but had taken the plunge and found that they absolutely LOVE Planbook. Some teachers wrote that they use a similar site, but ultimately, those who responded had not only enjoyed planbook, but have been using it for a few years.  

They shared some of their favorite features of using Planbook.com:
-It's Inexpensive ($12/year with a free month trial)
-It's easy to shift/move lessons - if you didn't get to a lesson on a particular day, you can move it to another day
-You can create templates and formats to use for multiple subjects and classes
-You can add standards to your lessons
-You can copy and paste things easily
-There's an app!
-You can easily e-mail your plans in case you're at home sick and need a sub
-You can adjust the boxes so you don't run out of room
-You can copy your schedule across the week (if it's the same each day) and add in special things that might only happen once a week
-You can save it as a PDF for easy reference or print them out to turn in, keep in a binder, or just have a hard copy
-You can see multiple years - it's easy to reference back to your prior years plans as needed

With all of these benefits, I was eager to give it a try! 
One teacher commented that I should try out the free month trial before the end of the school year to see if it was something I'd be interested in.  I can't believe I hadn't though of that! 

I also read somewhere that you can add links in and even attach files.  These two ideas were HUGE to me!  Especially thinking of all the time it'll save me next year when I'm wondering where I got that giraffe video I showed!  Or when I'm wondering where I filed that writing paper master I used for that week's writing.

So I decided to give it a go!

After signing up for my free trial, I got started setting up my "classes" which in the Elementary world is the same as "subjects" essentially.  (I heard this was the most time consuming part)

The classes are color coded.  The blog I read suggested to color code "non academic times" as gray.  I also colored my Library and Music times as gray since another teacher is teaching during that time.

Here are my classes.  I LOVE that the ELA parts of my day are different shades of green and the Math times of my day are different shades of orange.  It was SO easy copying the schedule across the days of the week.  It was also easy to add in Library and Music to my Friday schedule only. 
Click the picture for a larger view!