Sunday, September 30, 2012

Lesson Plans Online {What?}

Let's face it, we all have to do them....lesson plans.  
I think it's a little crazy that we have so many formats for lesson plans.  I can say that personally, I've changed my lesson plans every year and at least 2 or 3 times within the same year! I've had easy templates that I could print and write by hand, I've had beautiful templates that were not functional but they sure did look pretty, and I've used my trusted old school green plank name it, I've probably tried it.   

Well this year brings many new changes for me and with those changes, new lesson plans...but not just any lesson plans, digital online lesson plans from a wonderful website I discovered called Planbook Edu

This is what you will see when you visit their site

It takes you about 10 seconds to sign up and new users will get to play with a premium trial for 14 days.  
Everyone who signs up will get to use the basic Planbook for free for life. No credit card is required for sign up.  Which is always nice.  I don't know about you, but I will often not purchase something with a free trial if I have to give my credit card information first. 

I have been using Planbook for 6 weeks now and I can say that this has saved me so much time with lesson planning.  Especially with all the new common core standards that need to be put in my lessons.  Allow me to explain...

When you start, you will design your own template.  You can pick how many boxes you will need and how you want your lessons displayed. Days of the week across the top or in a column on the left.  
When you're ready, you make your headers and type each lesson into one box.  You type and edit text just as you would in any MS Word document.  You are able to change the size, fonts (limited fonts), and color of your text to personalize your lessons. 

If you notice in the box above, you will see 1.SL.1 listed as my Common Core standard for this lesson.  This is the best part about Planbook Edu.  When you view your lessons online or anyone else does, you hoover over the standard code and the whole standard will pop up to read. You are also given the option to show the full standard in each box if you would like. 

When you set up your personal Planbook, you will choose your grade and what standards to follow.  For example, I am set up for Common Core Standards for Grade 1. In the same box that you type your lesson in, there is a text box right above it.  You have options to either search for a standard, type in the standard if you already know it, or search for it using a key word. 

This is an example of how I searched for a standard.  I typed in the key word "nouns".  Below the text box, popped up all the standards for my grade that have that key word in it.  This allows me to then choose which one would work for this lesson! How fantastic is that??!!

The above picture is a snippet of my lessons for next week.  My days of the week are listed to the left.  At the far top of the page are my subject boxes (not shown in picture).  The pink highlighted areas are my "I can" statements.  The green highlighted boxes are my 5E's for my lessons as required by my county.  If you look closely, you can see my Common Core Standards listed at the top of each text box.  

There are so many features to using this online Planbook that make my life easier.  Allow me to highlight a few...  

See the little blue "Cubby" to the left? I can drag any lesson and copy it into my "Cubby".  What this means is, if you don't get to a lesson this week and need to push it to your plans for next week, put it in the "Cubby" and when you get to next week's plans, drag it out of your "Cubby" and you are all set! Say goodbye to copy and paste! 

Another feature allows you to create a lesson and have that lesson show up all week.  This is great for my morning message.  I create it once, choose the box at the top of my lesson that says "This lesson should appear....once/daily/going forward." - When I choose to have this box show up daily, it appears all week.  After I do that, the meat of the lesson is there since our format rarely changes, but I still can go to that box and quickly edit the focus skill for the week.  The lesson, format and standards are already there! 

If you plan with your grade level or if you have to turn lessons in to your principal, you will love the sharing feature.  You can share your Planbook with anyone via e-mail.  My team and I have already shared our Planbooks with one another.  What this means, is if I want to go look and see what Mrs. Crow has planned next week, I log in to my account, go to the tab "Planbooks shared with you" and I can see her Planbook.  I can see all of her lessons after she has shared her Planbook with me.  I can see what she did last week, or click through the weeks and see what she is doing next week.  This has really helped us when we haven't had time to discuss lessons as much as we would like during our actual planning time.  Additionally, my Planbook has been shared with my principal and assistant principal.  They have access anytime they choose. 

There are a variety of printing options for your Planbook.  You can print a PDF version and be done or you can export your plans to word and change the format any way you would like.  You also have the option to print the Common Core Standards in "code" or "full" on your lessons. 

I realize that this review is probably a little abstract since you are not actually using Planbook yet. I could list additional features that would make your life easier, but I'll stop for now.  If you're skeptical, I encourage you to use the free 14 day trial to see how it works for you. The basic membership is free and the premium membership is $25.00 for an entire year. After using this since school started, I can honestly say that the convenience of this online format that I can share and access anywhere is easily worth the money.  

I love my followers and as always, comments and questions are welcome! 


  1. I just found the same site yesterday and love it..I accidentally paid the $25..but in the long run who cares...

  2. I went back to handwriting mine this year- I like it- I feel connected- by my oh my - I like this site......
    Go Nutty with Me!

  3. I have used it since March last year and love it!

  4. I am On my way to check it out!! Just curious ... Do you print each week or leave on computer to use throughout the day. I feel like all the paper I use to print plans is so usuall if I can read it from the computer. Just wondering what you do?? Thanks for sharing!

  5. Thanks for sharing this site, Randi. I teach at a private school and we are required to plan as a team, each of us taking one subject and then add it to one template. I miss planning my lessons on my own, however, I understand the need to see our plans, and to share the load.

    So, I tell you this to say, I love how this plan book works, and think I present it to administration to use schoolwide. On the front end it takes some time to lay it out, but now all my subjects, heading, and specials are already set for the whole year. Now all I have to do is plug in the lessons. Great find!


  6. You inspired me to finish a post I had started last week where I was reviewing 2 other online lesson planning software programs. I added this one to my review. I also reviewed some onling grading software. Thanks for such a detailed and helpful post.
    ~April Walker
    The Idea Backpack

  7. I like the part where CC is included. The website seems very user friendly. I'll wait until my new principal tells me what she/he is looking for before paying for something like this. Thanks for sharing.
    My Second Sense

  8. This looks AWESOME! I tried a standard plan book this year but I felt so unorganized. I normally type up my own plans. I love stuff online and the fact that I can add CCS is a huge plus. Do you know if it tracks which standards you've covered?

    Off to check it out. :)
    You Might Be a First Grader...

    1. They do! I shows me which standards I've used, how many times, and which ones I haven't. Awesome!


  9. I have been using planbookedu for two years. I love it! I only wish that they had our standards in there. I am in Canada and they haven't gotten that far yet!

  10. Thank you for sharing this site. Planbookedu is so easy to use and the printout is so easy to read, exactly like the one I created on word but so much easier to adjust each week. I like this so much I am using this for me and still doing the one that the school purchased! I'm going to suggest this for next year.


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