I realize that I risk being hyperbolic, but PlanbookEdu is a terrific website. It is simply a website where you can enter create and edit your lesson plans.
Sounds pretty boring, right? Empty boxes. A google spreadsheet could almost do the trick. So what makes it so great?
You begin by entering the grades and subjects you teach, and the site loads your standards.
Then, as you plan a lesson, you enter the standard you are covering. Once a few letters are typed, several terms will come up. Or, if you are going sequentially, you can enter a couple of the numbers.
Once the standard is entered, you can repeat the standard for up to a week. The display options include a full description of the standard (the option I prefer), or just the numbers. Once it’s entered, you write your activities in the box.
So far, it doesn’t sound that exciting. Standards and boxes. Here is where the real benefits show up: because the standards are entered from the account, the website keeps track of which standards you have covered, and which ones you haven’t. This makes it a lot easier to monitor your progress of the standards throughout the year. You can tell very easily what you need to cover without having to keep track throughout the year.
However, the most amazing aspect of this is so incredibly simple that we take it for granted. If I want to read a blog by a fellow educator, or check my email to see if a parent has tried to reach me, I can do it anytime, anywhere. Why shouldn’t lesson planning be any different? In the ole’ days, I used to set aside a prescribed amount of time for planning out my next week. Sometimes the creative juices would flow, but not always. If creation came, great! If not, oh well, maybe next time. Now, I don’t have to be constrained by a time and place. Sometimes I am creative in the morning, sometimes in the afternoon, sometimes first thing Saturday morning, and sometimes at 8:00 at night. With PlanbookEdu, I can design the best lessons possible. The other week, I was able to plan while waiting in line at the grocery store, and recently I was able to do it when I had unexpected free time during the middle of the day.
There is one other great advantage for me. I sometimes have work projected onto a Smart board, and I can’t access my computer. With PlanbookEdu on my iPad, I can access lesson plans while the computer is being used. Students can complete activities on the board, and I can look for reminders anywhere in the classroom.
Nonetheless, I will offer one warning with PlanbookEdu: it costs $25 per year to use it effectively. The website does offer group rates, and some districts and schools might be willing to make an investment. If they are, it is well worth it. For those of you with paper and pencil, this website will make your life a lot easier.