Paperwork. We’re always doing paperwork. Teachers are, by far, no exception. There is paperwork before and after units, as well as the day-to-day lessons.
How much time does writing out lessons in your lesson plan book take? Hours, I bet. PlanbookEdu has a great 21st century, web 2.0 solution to lesson plan books drudgery.
Now don’t get me wrong—PlanbookEdu won’t eliminate the need for lesson plans or aligning them with Common Core and/or State Standards. But what it does do is cut hours off your time writing it all down.
In their own words, PlanbookEdu is “the simpler, smarter lesson planner.” Why? “Your lesson plans are available anywhere and are simple to create.” How simple? All within the word processing-like editor for each lesson you can “attach files, Common Core Standards, print, export to Word or PDF”. You can:
Oh, and if you have re-occurring lessons or activities (i.e. reading workshop, writer’s workshop, etc), just a couple of clicks after you type in your lesson will lead being able to repeat something without having to write it over and over and over and over and over again.
There is a small caveat. Not all of it is free. On PlanbookEdu‘s homepage, there is comparison chart of what is available with a free account and what features are only available through the measly $25/year premium account. At first you’re probably thinking, $25? No thanks, I’ll pass. Before you do, did you:
- Realize that $25 is per YEAR, not month
- Calculate how much money do you spend on a lesson plan book? About $10/book? So it’s about the cost of 2 books plus tax.
- Look at what you’re getting for $25/year…the ability to attach documents, share your plan book, collaborate with other colleagues (and have one book!), embed your plan book on your website, printing and exporting capabilities.
So while it is true that you have to pay for the best parts about PlanbookEdu, you can still can create your own plan books, access them from anywhere (including your iPad and iPhone), and the ability to set the class rotations (i.e. A/B days). And just in case you were on the fence about whether or not you might use these additional features, PlanbookEdu gives you an initial, free, 14-Day trial of the premium account. Yup, just long enough for you to get used it, fall completely eraser over pencil tip in love with the features, but not long enough for you to change your mind. Sneaky!
I’ve only had the account one day and I’m already planning on purchasing the premium account. As a student teacher, I love the fact that I can embed my calendar onto my website and have the University and school staff who are observing me have my whole calendar in front of them. It’s embedded into a page on my class Weebly site (which I have changed my mind on my opinion of Weebly), and they can quickly and easily see the Common Core benchmarks I am working on that day, download any documents they may need, and not have to feel like s/he is pestering me for the documents ahead of time.
But just like all technology, some things just aren’t as private as they used to be. There are security measures I can turn on both at PlanbookEdu and on Weebly; however, I am striving for simplicity for those who are evaluating me. Thus, I cannot put “pop quizzes” that I plan to give on PlanbookEdu because it is open to all. I can restrict it by email address on Weebly (but that requires a pro account and I do not feel the need to pay Weebly for that service. I can work around it) or I can password protect my plan book on PlanbookEdu and put certain email address on an “allow” list.
So my three choices are
- Pay Weebly and password protect the page the plan book is embedded on
- Pay PlanbookEdu for a premium account, restrict access (vs. open access) to my plan book, and write down the email addresses of those who I will allow access to it.
- Do nothing and figure out another plan.
I have chosen Bachelor Number 3. I have formal unit plans and lesson plans that are very detailed. The one downfall of all of those lesson plans is that I am unable to get a “week-at-a-glance” big picture when I’m swamped down explaining every detail of every activity. But if I combine the strengths of both PlanbookEdu and my elaborate Word document unit and lesson plans, I can get the best of both. The premium account lets me print directly from my browser to have a “week-at-a-glance” printed out and on my desk. I can then make some handwritten changes on it as the lessons progress and then changed them on the plan book. Most likely, since the high school has wireless internet, I’ll be able to change the lesson right there on my iPad.
There is so much more I could explore: bumping lesson from one day to the next due to unforeseen circumstances. Curious as to what the embedded plans look like? Check below to see my embedded lesson plans for my student teaching. Another option is to see what it looks like on my class Weebly site.
**Please note. I no longer have a subscription to PlanbookEdu so my embedded plans are “invalid”. I have left the embedded frame here to illustrate that they can be embedded.**
Do you have a shared and/or embedded plan book from PlanbookEdu? Comment with the link and I’ll definitely check it out. Do you use another plan book website? Sound off your opinion in the comments!