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How do you plan?

'Paperwork is such a great use of my planning time,' said no teacher ever.

I feel like I never have time to plan.  My planning times (the few I had last year) always seem to be spent dealing with meltdowns (of my students and/or co-workers haha) or some other crazy problem or new form we need to fill out.  By the time I did have time to plan, my brain was done.

This summer, I started doing some long range planning and I was using pinterest a lot...the only problem was my boards have too many pins on them!  So I started organizing the instead of Math, I have a board for place value, time and money, multiplication and get the point.  Now, when I go to teach fractions, I have a board with nothing but fraction ideas!  I can also see what topics I need more ideas for.

So organized!
Make sure you follow my boards since I've added a bunch!  
Now that I have my ideas organized, I need a place to write them down.  Enter

I absolutely LOVE  It is so easy to use and it cuts my planning time down a lot...sometimes it cuts my planning time in half!! IN HALF friends! 

Let's back up and I'll show you how I set mine up.

Start by adding a new class/subject/group.  You can choose a new color for each subject which I love.  Then you enter the times you teach that subject each day. If it's the same time every day, you can click the "Copy" link that will copy the same times for all days.  

This is an overview of my classes/schedule.  My school runs on a 6 day schedule which is why there are checkmarks under the 1-6.  We have library on day 1 so there is only checkmark there.  Note the small amount of time I have to teach science and social studies to each of my grade levels :( 

Templates are a nice feature...there are things that happen every day that you don't want to retype.  

This is what my weekly view looks like (with no plans written in).  The crazy part about this is, I'm not even done with adding classes...I have no reading groups scheduled in here yet because I haven't grouped the kids.

To write plans, just click on the subject you want and type.  My favorite FAVORITE part of this is those little options at the bottom.  Apply saves the plan.  Bump pushes the plan to the next time I teach that subject (all future plans get bumped a day too).  Bump back will make the plan earlier.  Extend is for will put the same lesson on the next day for you.  ATTACH FILE!! I can plan from home and attach a file and have access to it at school.  No more emailing myself files!!  You can also roll your plans over year to year so you can keep those files attached to the lessons for future years...what a timesaver!
Notice the tabs at the top....

All of the common core and state standards are uploaded into  When you click the standards button, you can go in and select the standards you are using.  I used this as a resource room teacher and I wanted to be able to create my own (for IEP goals).  I emailed them and they replied immediately saying they would do it.  That feature was available within 2 weeks.  How awesome is that?!

Here is what the plans look like with my 1 plan written in.  You can also view plans by class/subject and day. 

They also have amazing customer service!  A few years ago, I went to print my plans in the 3 seconds I had before my next group of kids and it didn't work so I figured I'd try again after my group.  When I went back to my computer 30 minutes later, I had an email from saying that they saw I had a problem printing (I didn't report anything) and they fixed it for me.  I was blown away...nobody has customer service like that!

Confession: I didn't use last year because my schedule runs on a 15 minute schedule which is CRAZY and my schedule changes every other day it seems like.  My planning didn't work well...I ended up with 3 different planbooks and templates which is not managable at all.  My planning really suffered!  I'm so happy to be back with!  If you have been thinking about doing plans online you should try it!  That first snow day when you can just bump your entire day, you will thank me!!

If you are going back to school Wednesday like me, have a great first week!
2 comments on "How do you plan?"
  1. I used planbook one year since our district was trying to block google docs. I didn't have as pleasant an experience as you did though :( It looked really promising too, which was disappointing.

    I began using, not as colorful, because as a teacher I did adore the color coding option on planbook. You can still bump days, input holidays, move & copy plans from previous planbooks, and they have the ability to attach files & standards. Just not as pretty. The printing formatting comes out way better for me through, which really was the difference for me when I switched over since we have to turn in lesson plans.

    Maybe they've worked out the hiccups since then, since it's been a couple years since I've used it.

    Tales From Two 2nd Grade Classrooms

  2. Thanks for sharing! I never heard about this site. Your pics and explanation were helpful. I'm all signed up and using and it's easy to use!! :)


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