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! 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

A Spookley Snack

***Everything in my TPT store is on sale through Monday!***
As I get my apples ready for Crock-Pot Applesauce this week, my brain is already way ahead of me preparing for pumpkin activities!

Does this little guy look familiar?
This Spookley Snack is the newest addition to my Spookley unit this year! 

In case you don't know what/who I'm talking about, allow me to introduce to you an adorable book to read to your little ones in the fall.
The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin

If you've never read this book, you really must get your hands on it. It's a sweet story about a square pumpkin whose uniqueness saves the day. It teaches students to not judge a pumpkin by its shell which allows you to easily teach not to judge a person by how they look.  The moral of the story is one that every classroom should hear.  Over the years, I've done different activities with the book and loved them all.  I can officially check 'Spookley Unit' off my to do list. 

I've taken all the activities and combined them to make an entire unit.  This unit covers a variety of cross curricular activities that all align with Common Core Standards. Click on any picture to read more details. 

I also found that you can purchase this super cute plush pumpkin. Click the picture to be taken to that link but don't forget to come back! 

Just in case you're not ready to wrap your brain around pumpkins just yet, you can check out my apple units below...

Monday, September 17, 2012

Checking in :)

I thought I should drop by and tell you that I'm still alive and teaching my heart out. I snapped a few pictures so that I could even prove it to you! 
This my "book basket" time. Students are allowed to read any big book that we have read in class together.  This class more than any other, are obsessed with my pointers.  I think I need to buy those creepy skeleton finger pointers that I saw at the teacher store last week! 
This is my amazing assistant running her small group.  She's using my CVC Activities and Pictures Cards and having the group stretch out the sounds in each word.  Of course I jumped up to snap these pictures so my small group isn't shown...sigh. 

Our school purchased the learning software from Lakeshore and this is a student working hard at beginning sounds. 

Since clearly this isn't going to be a blog post with a purpose, I will share with you a few other random happenings in my little corner of the world...
* I am toying with the idea of moving my word wall....I just don't love it this year. Like I need another small project added to my ever growing To-Do list ;)
*I have fallen in love with Pete the Cat. If you haven't met him yet you really should arrange a meeting.  I have stopped so many tears of frustration this year by reminding my students that Pete wouldn't cry. "Goodness no!"  
*No matter how much orange juice I drink or how many vitamins I take, I seem to have a permanent stuffy head...suggestions are welcome. 
*My Erin Condren binder is keeping me organized and I love the fun quotes and colors throughout the pages. It keeps me happy. 
*My favorite item in my classroom right now is my "lean green pencil machine" - You can read more about that HERE
*If you would like to ask me any questions or leave me any comments, I have installed a gadget so that I can respond to your comments right in my blog post, right after your comment  posts. I would love to give this a try so leave some love.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Cooking in the Classroom and a Chef's Hat Freebie

{this is your freebie}

There are so many little perks to being an elementary school teacher. Have you ever stopped to think how unique it is? I get to wear pajamas to work. I can sing and dance as much  as I want. I get to remind little ones all day long to use their manners {unfortunately it's sometimes frowned upon when I remind adults to do this}. Really, the list just goes on.

One of  my favorite things to do is incorporate food into teaching.  Let me just stop here and say that not only do I teach with yummy food, I have an amazing first grade team who loves food as much as I do.  We have birthday lunches every month and we usually theme it.  Our most memorable lunch was our soup & panini sandwich day.  Everyone made a different homemade soup in a Crock-Pot and then we made sandwiches on a panini maker that Janah from Door Decor by Janah brought.  Oh my much soup so little time. I can't wait for the weather to turn cold soon so we can recreate that delicious day. 

If I can teach a concept using food I usually do. Fraction cookies, popcorn adjectives, alligator pie, Fruit Loop pattern necklaces - Count me in!  This fall will be no exception. Two of my favorite foods to make in the classroom are Crock-Pot Applesauce and Pumpkin Pie in a Cup. Really, it's a tie between which one I like better.  Maybe you could try them both and we can compare notes because they're both delish. You'll see...

I just finished spicing up my Crock-Pot Applesauce unit and wanted to share an adorable freebie with you for whenever you are cooking in the classroom or even at home with your little ones.  I made a template for a cute Chef's hat that will be sure to add some extra fun to any cooking activity.  Be sure to grab your freebie  by clicking on any picture below and then check out the complete Crock-Pot Applesauce unit


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