Monday, August 20, 2012

A PlanbookEDU Tutorial & GIVEAWAY

I've had a couple of emails and comments about using PlanbookEDU.com for my lesson plans. They have some great tutorial videos and overviews available in their Knowledge Base to help you get started but I know that it is often easier to get a feel for something when it is recommended by someone else who has actually used it.

Note: Yes, I DO collaborate with PlanbookEDU.com as a guest blogger but they are not paying me to write this content here. Not a single thing on this blog is sponsored by anyone but myself. Everything I write here is true, honest and directly from me. [If someone WANTS to sponsor my blog, I would probably say SURE, but not one does so it's all just me!]


That being said, I stumbled upon the site in the spring sometime. I honestly can't remember if I saw an ad or how I found it but I knew I wanted to be able to have some flexibility and ease with my plans and be able to quickly and easily make changes as needed. PlanbookEDU makes this very easy. 

I do have a paid version which is $25 per year. After playing with the free version for a couple of weeks, I went ahead and upgraded because of the features. To me, the $25/year cost is totally worth it. Here's a breakdown of the difference:
As you can see, you do get a lot of features for the free cost. The average school year is somewhere between 33-36 weeks long. That means upgrading would cost you about $0.70-$0.75 per week. When you break it down like that, you can see it is VERY cost-effective. And look at all of the added features: you can attach files to your plans, add Common Core standards or your own standards, put your plan book directly on your website/blog, share the plans (ie with your principal), and print from your browser or save as .pdf files. I spend more money on fountain diet cokes per week than I do on this software so its definitely worth the price in my mind.

Throughout this post, be sure to click on the pictures to enlarge them for best viewing!

When I log into the site, generally I am brought to the last planbook I had open. You can go to your list of planbooks by clicking on "Planbooks" along the top. This is what I see when I do that.

This is my home screen. (Sorry I had to point out that when I wrote this tutorial, it was MY blog post featured up in the corner. I'm almost famous! At least in my mind *wink*) I have four active plan books: one for 2011-2012 and 3 for 2012-2013. I only used one last year since I had one grade for all subjects. This year I am using three plan books since I have a 4th/5th grade combination class. I can open any of my plan books simply by clicking on the name. You can name them whatever you like. The site allows you to customize "off days" (ie planning days where you don't have students plus holidays) which is great because then they automatically show up in your book for that particular week.

Since I have 3 plan books this year, I will briefly show you each one. I have one for math, one for Reading Workshop and a general one. I did this because math and reading are the two subjects that I need to teach separately as the standards and some of the content are not the same. Putting together separate plan books makes it easier for me visually to separate those subjects since I have to tackle them a bit different.

Let's start with Math since it's been on my mind so much lately. When I click on any of my plan books, I am brought to a page that looks like this:
It will have the name of my plan book across the top and show the calendar of my year. (You customize your start/end dates when you create the plan book.) In Michigan, our first day with students is September 4 this year so I started my plan book on September 3 and ended it on June 7 which is our last day of school. From any of the plan books, when I am at this screen, I simply click on the week I want to work on and it will pop up.

Here's a sample of my Math plan book for the week of September 10. I have filled it out as a template already. It's blank of course because we haven't gotten there yet! (Go to PlanbookEDU's knowledge base for specific tutorials on how to create templates.) You can see that I have decided to use a modified Daily 5 for Math as well as my calendar board time. 

This is the same screen shot as above except that I have color-coded my boxes. This is a freebie feature! You can do this without upgrading! This is a nice feature to be able to highlight specials classes and/or events that might be different one week so they stand out in your plans. We aren't able to use colored ink at school so I would need to print these at home if I wanted to color code my boxes but it would be worth it if it was something I felt really kept me organized (and honestly I think it's a great feature for a sub--see the BLUE BOX in the plan book--or whatever so that the substitute teacher would be able to jump right in with what you've left for the class to do).

Here's a printable version of my Reading Workshop plan book. I can export to PDF because I have the upgrade. This is what it would look like if I were to print it as it stands. I am also doing a modified Daily 5 for my reading block which you can see here. I left a box at the bottom that I called "notes for tomorrow" so I can add, tweak or change anything that we didn't finish or that I noticed and need to address the following day. (I simply typed the words in and then hit enter a few times to leave the empty spaces since the plan book boxes default to the size of the text included in the box.) This way I can make notes and don't have to fret over rewriting my plans if a big change or reteaching needs to happen.


Here's a sample of my regular plan book. You can see that for my math and reading times, I simply wrote "see attached plans". That way anyone who is checking them will see that those plans are included behind the overall plans. Of course this plan book will change as I have no idea when my specials classes will be but you can see how easy it is to use.

One of my favorite features is that you type into the boxes like a Word Processor. You can bold, underline and italicize as well as add color (not simply to the whole box but you can actually highlight words in other colors if you want). See?



I can embed my plan book on any website or share it with a colleague too. Here's a sample from last year's plan book. (I only let 2 days be visible so you could scroll down to see it since the width of my blog is small.)



When I am ready to edit and input my lesson plans, I simply click on the edit button or double click the box and it will open up like this:
Now I can type my lesson plans into the box, adding word processing features (bold, italic, highlighting, etc) and you can see underneath that I have the option to attach files. This would not be there with the free version. You can also see the Standards window. I can begin to type in my standard code and it will show up in that box.

I clicked on the little green plus sign next to the Standards box and this popped up. It's a brand new feature and I LOVE it. When I set up my plan books, I selected the standards I plan to use, which are Common Core for 4th and 5th grade. Now whenever I am planning, I can simply click that green plus sign and my standards pop up. I just select one and on I go!

I selected 4th grade math and up pops a box with ALL of the 4th grade Common Core standards for math! I just scroll and select the standard(s) that apply and they will automatically appear in that box on my plan book.
Here's the math standard I added for that particular day. You can also select to simply add the code OR to include the entire standard per your preference or school expectations. 



As you can see, I am quite in love with PlanbookEDU. I love the features, I love that I can embed my plans to my website for parents/administrators to view if I want to do so. It is SO easy to use it and since I hated hand writing my plans, this is an amazingly easy way to ensure that I don't have to do that anymore.



Would you like to WIN a free year of PlanbookEDU? Erika, co-founder of PlanbookEDU, whom I collaborate with for my blogs, found out I was doing a giveaway and graciously offered THREE free one-year subscriptions to the site!! Exciting! (And proof that they ARE awesome!)

Follow these super simple steps to enter my giveaway!  In honor of my upcoming 7th year of teaching, you have seven chances to win. 
1. Follow my blog and leave a comment (with your email)  that you are a follower (1 entry)
2. Leave a comment letting me know how this software would help you with planning and organizing for instruction (1 entry)
3. Like PlanbookEDU on Facebook (2 entries)
4. Blog about my giveaway and leave a comment with a link back to the post (3 entries)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Note: A super HUGE thanks to Erika and Matt at PlanbookEDU.com for stepping up and offering the free codes for this contest. It was unexpected and is totally appreciated!

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37 comments:

  1. I used the free version. I would love the upgrade. It has so many capabilities.
    marciahoj@gmail.com

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  2. I follow your blog.
    marciahoj@gmail.com

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    1. Me too! Thanks for sharing the website... I can't wait to use it! Mrsfegley@Gmail.com

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    2. Me too! Thanks for sharing the website... I can't wait to use it! Mrsfegley@Gmail.com

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  3. I just created a book in Planbookedu and have a question. Can I print in any capacity while in the free version, or is it necessary to upgrade in order to print? Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Cyndi, the print features listed are an upgrade feature. However, you SHOULD be able to print from your browser like you would any other web page but it probably won't format how you'd like it to.

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  4. Ooops, forgot my email: cmholbrook@ccps.org

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  5. My school is very much in favor of team planning, and this would allow us to easily share our plans with each other within our grade level and with our principal.

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  6. I follow your blog: elizabeth.linke@gmail.com

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  7. I think that PlanbookEdu would really help me stay organized and keep all of my resources in one place - my computer! I tend to write lessons down, but then I create worksheets and games on the computer. This seems like it would cut out the middle man, so to speak.

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    Replies
    1. Yes this would be fabulous for that as you could attach all of your computer documents right into your plan book. Win!

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  8. I follow your blog. I would really like a tool that is geared to making lesson planning easy. I've had to set up spreadsheets in the past but with this there is so much that is already done for you.
    Lorena

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    Replies
    1. I could go on and on about how much I love it. It's VERY easy to set up a template so everything is set like a spreadsheet but it's WAY easier to use!

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  9. This looks like a great product. I would love to be able to use it this year.

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  10. I follow your blog!
    sunnyharp@gmail.com

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  11. I follow your blog!
    sunnyharp@gmail.com

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  12. I think this would help me access all my plans and materials easily.

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  13. I follow your blog! Planbookedu looks like a great way to make planning and collaborating with my coteacher so much easier... with the sharing feature and with everything online, we wouldn't have to meet in person to plan! Bonus!

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  14. I follow your blog. I used Planbookedu last year and LOVED it. It is so user-friendly and especially helpful to teachers who have more than one prep...

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  15. I follow your blog and love your writing! I also love Planbookedu and use it, a free year would be a wonderful bonus!

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  16. I love planbookedu, I started using it last spring. A free year would be a wonderful bonus! I love that I can access my plans from home, school, or anywhere!

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  17. Hi Raye,

    Your post on PlanbookEDU is so thorough and wonderful! I was the first teacher at my school to begin using PlanbookEDU, and now (2 years later), there are at least 8 more! I told a few other teachers about PlanbookEDU this summer and they were curious about how to use it -- now I am going to send them straight to your blog! I love so many features about PlanbookEDU, including being able to attach documents to my plans, sharing my plans with teachers I collaborate with, and being able to quickly and easily reference previous plans. I, too, have always bought the $25 subscription, but would love to win a free subscription for this year!

    I enjoy following your blog! wilsona@district279.org
    twitter: wilsandrea

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  18. Here's a link to my blog post about The Caffeinated Teacher's blog: http://ellteaching20.blogspot.com/2012/08/gearing-up-for-back-to-school.html

    I'll be sending lots of colleagues this way to read all about PlanbookEDU!

    Thanks again!

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  19. I am a follower of your blog. It's great!

    Lynntech3@yahoo.com

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  20. I am a follower of your blog. It's great! I posted with the incorrect email--forgot the "a" in teach.

    lynnteach3@yahoo.com

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  21. I love PlanbookEDU. This is my second year using it. Your tutorial gave me some additional ideas to try. I am teaching a 5-6 class this year. I love how you have a separate plan book for reading and math. I am going to try that. Thanks for the great tutorial. PlanbookEDU is so easy to use.

    lynnteach3@yahoo.com

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  22. This would be an awesome accessory to my planning!!! You know what we have to go through in our district between testing, planning, district mandates, etc. This would really help to not only add professionalism to my plans, but help keep me organized and make my life easier. I'd love to win a subscription!!!

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  23. Planbook would help organize my lessons as well as make my life easier with all of the ways it can be shared and used. I'd love to win a trial subscription!

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  24. I am not officially a follower and would love to win the planbook (cconciatori@valhallaschools.org). This is great site though - I would have been a follower even if there wasn't a contest.

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  25. Entry #2 - This is going to help my planning so much because I won't loose my planbook like I normally do. Plus I will always have access to previous books.

    Entry #3 - I have liked them on Facebook

    Entry #4 - Here is a link the blog post I wrote about this contest - http://savyscience.blogspot.com/2012/08/win-free-subscription-to-planbookedu.html

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  26. Thanks for the information. I like how you're using 3 planbooks. I hadn't thought of that (duh). I've been using planbook for a couple of years. It's a super way to keep organized.

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  27. I am just about to the end of my two week trial and I want to upgrade. My district asked me to learn the software (which I am loving) and then I am supposed to teach 8 workshops on it over the course of 2 days at a State conference for teachers. Do you already have any handouts, etc. that you use to help others learn? Are there coupon codes or anything I can use when I upgrade and do you know if it might be possible to get some coupon codes that I could give out to those who attend the class? They have had most of the 8 classes already fill up with people registering!

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  28. I've just discovered your blog so I guess you can say I'm a new "follower". You've done an excellent job describing the use on PlanbookEdu.
    whalend@mannford.k12.ok.us

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  29. I've just discovered your blog so I guess you can say I'm a new "follower". We have only recently been asked to include CCSS's in our lesson plans so I am loving the fact that PlanbookEdu makes this chore a lot easier. You've done an excellent job of describing the process.

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  30. How do you get your planbook to show the date rather than the day of the week? Mine shows "Monday" rather than "February 23, 2015", for instance.

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  31. Microsoft Points Giveaway Promo Events
    http://giftcardsandgiveaway.blogspot.com/2015/02/microsoft-points-giveaway-promo-events.html

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