On-line, digital Planning at it’s Best! @Planboard review #edtech, #edchat, #elemchat

Planboardapp.com  – 100 free lessonsand hopefully at lot more worry free lesson planning!

I have checked out the on-line planning programs.  I will make a run down of them on Monday if I get time….hopefully, it will be a post sooner than later.  But no promises.  I am getting organized and spending more time with family for 2013!

For now, I am going to jump to the end of all my research and experiences and tell you what I choose!

But first…my disclaimer.  Part of my excitement for my on-line software choice comes from knowing what I needed out of a lesson planning program.

Before starting the search and testing of any software you are CHOOSING to use (rather than being directed by the county), walk through these simple steps.  They should save you frustration and help you avoid the struggle of FITTING to a software program rather than finding the one that FITS YOUR NEEDS.  The set up will be a time investment…so invest your time wisely!

  1. How do you plan right now?  (In a paper plan book, have done the Word doc 8 1/2 by 11 or legal, I’ve done drawing on a drawing pad…stored in a binder.)
  2. Who will see your plans and why do they review them? admin, parents, peers (looking for standards, differentiation, instructional methods, set lesson cycle elements).  If you don’t know, ASK!
  3. What do you need to show in your plans?  Does your county have a set format? ASK!
  4. What would you like to show in your plans to achieve strong results on the new teacher evaluations? (Admit it…this is a consideration you should think about!) Marzano, differentiation, Blooms.
  5. What do you want to show or just want to have in your plans? files, photos, videos  (I hate being so prepared for a lesson, and then setting down that one paper I wanted to show on the dot cam. UGH…NO MORE!)
  6. What do you like about the way you plan now and how they look?  (I loved the block periods, being able to use Post-it and make notes).
  7. Are there areas that are simple and seem to save time? (Some of my time slots repeat…spelling and vocabulary instruction or independent practice…it’s the same standards and I used a core set of centers).
  8. What are the areas that are challenging and take the longest? (I lose my plan book under my ‘stuff’, lose my post-its..even though I bought the expensive, super sticky ones, feel I’m repeating what I write in my plan book and worry it won’t be easy to read or find lesson ideas/benchmarks next year because they will take my plan book away..OH NO!)
  9. How is your day really set up?  Your week?  Your month?
  10. What elements of all this repeat?  or have a structure that seems to be similar enough?
  11. What do you do with your plans once they are written?  (I draw and take notes all over mine.  Add sticky notes.)
Now…there are probably more things to consider…so take a look at your plan book and maybe some plan books of other teachers you admire…then take a few walks.  Yep…I am not recommending jumping right in because the set up will take a good part of a day, and some on-line planning sites require payment first.

Ok…now for my experience.

This was where I put in some elbow grease.I entered the Florida Standards for 4th gradelanguage arts, social studies and I will do math.I also want to add the Fl. Gifted Guidelines.However, Planboardapp.com already has the

Common Core Standards up

and ready to

go for 2014!!

I did try out MyLessonPlanner.com pretty seriously.  I felt the site did more, I’d have my own lesson plan website to share with parents.  It was just under $8/month.

But I’ve been reflecting on making life simpler and this bells and whistles site was really cumbersome to navigate and get set up. I really gave it an effort!  A few hours of effort.

I realized I was fighting the technology rather than using it to make my life easier.  I gave up after using way too much time on it.

I don’t have time to read the directions, I’ll admit it. 
 I need sometime simple to figure out and to use.
This is the lesson from my independent reading block, you can see I haveembedded a video for my ENGAGE!  LOVE THIS!  I can alsoattach files and pictures.  I WILL be organized!

Plus CUSTOMER SERVICE!!!  Every question I asked of Planboardapp.com was responded to quickly (sometimes in a matter of minutes) and cheerfully.  (I’m still awaiting a reply from MyLessonPlanner on a question I asked yesterday morning….)  I’m not impatient normally.  However, I really have a plan for this New Year and I want to hit the ground up and running on Monday.  So I’m motivated and was very thankful for the super customer service. THANK YOU!!!

So…after a few hours on Planboardapp.com, then a few not so productive hours on MyLessonPlaner.com, I asked myself why I was fighting this.

NO…NO…NO more!  Keep it simple.
Back to Planboardapp.com and a simpler (which means FASTER) way of working.
Here is what my schedule looks like.You can see the rotations and periods I set up for my day.You can even see where I started planning and addedFlorida standards.  I love that it has the block elementsI enjoyed in my paper plan book.

I had already been giving Planboardapp.com a go in the morning, started to set up my schedule and periods.  I had found it simple.  I gave the other site the same attempt with much less progress.  So I headed back to Planboardapp.com.

I worked through today and this evening tightening up my schedule and periods – that’s the key.

Then, I started developing my templates.  There are lesson plan templates that I can assign to any day and/or periods that I’d like.

I enjoy the squares in my paper plan book and feel that different areas of my day require different types of lesson planning.

So I created formats for the most common way I think through a lesson and used the strong guidelines for lesson planning.  I’ll share those up close a little later.

In the end I had a plan formats for:

  • my beginning of day routines that include grammar and literature analysis – along with small group pulls that I do.
  • Independent reading time – with engage videos and small group pulls.
  • Whole group reading instruction.
  • Small group instruction with small group enters.
  • Writing lessons
  • Spelling and Vocabulary lessons.
  • And an Assessment Day.
  • Some of my plan formats were for periods like Activity, Additional PE and end of day duties.
Here is where you set up your days. I choose a 5 day rotation with 8 periods.There is a drop down arrow where Inamed each period.
I do teach social studies but it’s completely integrated into the reading and writing blocks.
So, some periods are done for the year!  I wrote them pretty detailed so if I have a sub they can follow along.
I also love that I can print, save as a PDF or send by e-mail my plans to my administrators   In one of the emails I received yesterday, Planboardapp mentioned they are working on allowing us to embedded a lesson plan on a website!!!!!!

I want to show it off for now and then I’ll walk through in a different post how I set up my on-line plans ,if this is something you are interested in.  (Just comment and let me know.)
As far as cost, there is a cost after the first 100 lessons.  But if you share Planboard with friends, each signup gives you 100 additional lessons for FREE!  They allow up to 1000 extra lessons a year for free…but I’ll be honest.  The $29.95 would be worth it if this truly continues to be as good as it seems.

And here is where the beauty lies.  I created templates for areas in my day that I canuse similar lesson plan formats.Then I assign them to the day and the period I intendto use them on a regular basis.

I’m not committed though.  I can change a whole

day anytime I want by editing the day!

Flexible but structured…LOVE IT!

I have already received 500 additional lessons.  So if you find you really can us this on-line lesson plan site, once you sign up, spread the word.

I have to admit, it is very rare that some form of technology really sticks out at making life that much easier.  I love my IPhone…but my IPad is OK.  I’m a laptop user…

Essentially, I have been using and around technology since the 1980s…yep I’m old. I tend to think sometimes in computer-ease.  However, that does not mean I jump at every piece of technology out there.

Over time I have learned to really discriminate, because there is a lot of software and hardware that takes up more of my time rather than save me time (think about how many emails you read and respond to a day).  I had considered on-line lesson planning software this summer…but I didn’t feel the programs I tried out would save me time.  I took a look again over the holiday break and still wasn’t too sold until I came across Planboard.  It had the right look and feel, as well as the flexibility and structure that I needed.

This is what sold me and brought me back aftertrying a site with more bells and whistles (and more cost).It’s the look and feel of Planboardapp and the POST-IT! I can record my observations and/or reflections just like I do now!

Something I learned about myself was that I react to the look of the planning software.  I really like how Planboard is set up. It navigates and looks like a plan book I would use, as well as my passion for Post-Its!  I use Post-its in my plan book to record observations.  That was a MUST for an on-line plan book.  Many had places to take notes…but Planboardapp actually had a POST-it for each day!!!  It’s a visual that I connect with and appreciate.   Especially because I lose more Post-its that I care to admit.  (I even bought the ones with 100% sticky on the back…and those still fell out…ugh).

NO more lost Post-It for my observations and reflections!!!!

I have asked if they would consider allowing multiple Post-Its and being able to change there colors.

OHHH….that would thrill me.  Yes…I’m a simpleton.  Click on any PlannboardApp and give it a go!

I hope you enjoyed my rambling…


5 thoughts on “On-line, digital Planning at it’s Best! @Planboard review #edtech, #edchat, #elemchat”

  1. Thank you ! This is not a sponsored review. 🙂 I even paid for the other planning site to really find a program that worked for me. Planboard just also made the site where I can email or html link my plans. 🙂 Enjoy!

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