Monday, April 11, 2016

Top 5 Reasons I Love

Are you looking for a great way to write and keep track of your lesson plans?

*This post is not endorsed by in any way.  I just really love the service!

Lesson Plans, circa 2008.  Yikes.
Over the course of my teaching career, I've changed the way that I write my lessons plans many times. I started with paper pencil and an outline of my week that I made on the computer.  I made enough copies for each week of the school year and traveled around with them in a big teacher binder. I liked being able to change plans quickly, but was a pain when I left my plans at home, or at school and I needed them somewhere else.  I also was frustrated when I wanted to use the same lesson from a previous year and had to re-write everything.

Lesson Plans, circa 2012. Upgrade.
Then, I switched over to using Word and a template another teacher created.  I saved my plans by the week, and then in folders by the month.  When I was working on plans at school, and then wanted to finish them at home (or vice versa) I would email them to myself.  Unless I forgot. Or I didn't save my work. Which happened ALL. THE. TIME.  Then there was the formatting issue, which drove me bananas.  I've been told once or twice that I'm a perfectionist.  When my boxes didn't match up, when my lesson wouldn't fit where I wanted it to, when the fonts didn't match I would lose my mind.  Why?  I have no idea.  Nobody really looked at my plans, anyway.  But still.  I'd print them out and carry them in my big teacher binder.  And reprint them each time I made a change.  Yes, I did. (PS - Does anybody else notice how many other things we had going on that week?!  Did I get any teaching done?)

When I changed positions from a classroom teacher to a resource teacher and began working with teachers in every grade level, it didn't take me long to figure out that neither of those options were going to work for me.  I was constantly in other people's rooms planning, and my plans - literally - changed every day.

And then, I discovered

Here are my Top 5 Reasons to LOVE
What did you do last year?

1. I can access my plans anywhere that has internet! Long gone are the days of emailing myself half completed plans or leaving my plans at school. One log-in account and you're in at  Home, my classroom, my phone, another teacher's room, same-same. also has an app (my preferred method).  I carry around my iPad most places I go around my building and it's super easy to pull it up an make a change or look at what we did together in a previous year. stores all of your lessons from previous years, so you can toggle back and forth to copy lessons.

Customize your class days, color code,
 there are a TON of options!
2. Not only is it $12 a year, but crazy easy to use and very intuitive. Once you create a new school year, there is an initial set up.  Here's where you enter all of your different classes, their times, the days that they meet.  You can enter days that you know you don't have school all together. And you can color code your classes.

3.  What happens on a snow day?  What happens when your lesson needs to carry over to the next day because you didn't get to something?  Planbook has a great feature called bumping or extending plans.  I don't have to copy and paste into a new box!  With a click, planbook does it for me.

Customize lesson plan times after the initial set up!
Bump, extend, delete, move, or copy!

4.  As a resource teacher that collaborates with a huge number of teachers on a daily basis, I needed something that had flexibility.  I am able to change my plans quickly and efficiently.  With a few clicks, I can add an "event" (like an assembly, a meeting, etc.), change lesson plan times, or lock my lesson in place so it doesn't get affected by a bump or extension.

Sharing is caring!
5. Sharing your plans with other teachers, administrators, or even parents is another great feature.  Planbook gives you a public link to share (if you choose to), but it also gives you a classroom key.   You can select what you choose to share (for example, the the assignment only). Do you plan with your grade level?  They can import your lessons within a given date range!  There is also a section where you can click on and include standards or even add attachments. really has been a major lifesaver for me over the course of the last three years.  I'd love to hear how you've been using it, or if you're thinking about it next year!


  1. I also created a Word table to use for my plans in the past, but when I saw the homepage of Planbook and realized it was set up the same way, I checked it out. This has been the best $12 yearly investment I've made online. I've used it now for about 2 1/2 years. It has MANY great features. What I like the best is that I can keep it open and go to it and make changes as needed. Edit a lesson for the day, bump it to the next lesson day or extend it to cover more than a day. It can do it easily. Entering the next week's plans are so easy to do. I love it!

    1. I seriously love it, too! My favorite is the bump and extend feature. Such a time saver - and as teachers, we need more of those! :) - Alicia

  2. I fought using it for years and this year I am wondering what took me so long to see the benefits. The only thing I don't like about my app on the iPhone is that I can't add the Standards which are required by our administration. Sooo, if my co-teacher changes up my lesson and my administrator comes in to observe me, I lose points for not having the correct Standard. Everything else is quickly changed before they have a chance ton print out my plans.

    1. That's so interesting! Our admin will occasionally look at our plans, but not often. I do share the link with them, though. I'm in so many different places throughout the day, sometimes it's the only way they can find me! :) - Alicia