Technology Think Tank: Organize Yourself with Planbook

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Throw away your spiral-bound, paper planners. Get with the 21st century. Use Planbook, both web-based for MAC and windows, and available as an IPad app, to plan your instructional days.

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The problem with the old method is that even the best laid plans change. While you have every intention, even as the most seasoned teacher, to get through a lesson with a given class, things come up to derail your plan. Perhaps students aren’t comprehending what you’re teaching as well as anticipated, and you need to adjust by delving a little deeper having to insert more practice. Or an unexpected fire drill occurs in the middle of class prohibiting your ability to get through the lesson. Or an assembly has been inserted into the schedule forcing your to push your plans forward a day. Or a snow day happens.

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If you are tired of erasing what you’ve planned ahead or moving things around to accommodate the unexpected, Planbook, by Hellmansoft Productivity Software for Educators, is an easy, user-friendly alternative to planning your day.

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I’ve been using Planbook for about five years now, first on the IPad, then I was part of a pilot group through the development and testing of the Windows version. Combined, they are the perfect planning tool. One of the primary benefits is the accessibility of the developer, Jeff Hellman, to field questions and make suggestions to.

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The software allows teachers to create a schedule that uniquely adapts to the kind of schedule your school runs on: rotating, block, or a set schedule. Color-coding enables easy readability. You can set times and course titles, and adjust them as necessary. By a click of a tab, the ability to insert a non-school day (whether it’s for a holiday or an unexpected snow day) makes adjusting your schedule easy allowing for the option of skipping the day altogether or moving it and your lessons forward.

The IPad app allows for easy access. While I plan, typically, two-weeks to a month out, I can add or delete tasks with ease. Oftentimes, at the end of a lesson, I jot down a few words to remind me where I left off with a particular class (especially when teaching several sections of the same course) to eliminate unnecessary repetition.

The share feature enables printing of a lesson or week’s view, emailing, and uploading to Dropbox. Moreover, Planbook Assigner allows you to share lessons with colleagues, students and parents.

Because I link my Planbook to Dropbox, every change I make on either the Windows program or the app syncs up within seconds. Typically, I make my plans on the Windows version well in advance, then use the app exclusively in-class to make adjustments to my schedule as they arise. (One tip… when creating a schedule, I’ve learned to include study halls, prep periods, before and after school contractual time, so I can add in meetings and tasks. In this way, it works as a calendar, as well).

Features within Planbook include the ability to link lessons to Common Core standards, link to assignments or websites, in addition to customization of frames to meet your needs as a teacher (lesson, links, homework, collect, absences…).

Planbook is a tool a teacher could purchase individually, for a very reasonable cost, or a school could obtain a site license for.

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So, throw out your paper planner with cross-outs and erasures galore. In this era of all things becoming more complicated in education, do something to make your organization as a teacher easy. You deserve it! I promise you, it is one of the single technology tools I could not live without.

TTT PB schedule copy

Give it a try! And please, provide some feedback if you do. Additionally, I’d like to hear from any of you who have used Planbook (successfully or otherwise) and please share any other planning technology you do or do not recommend. Thanks.

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If you found this helpful, please LIKE this post. And stay tuned for more Technology Think Tank posts!

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