Teaching is my life. That said, I can’t imagine being a teacher without my Mac. Every tool I have, besides my wonderfully inspiring personality, is somewhere on my Mac notebook. Through the years I’ve tried and tested every teaching app under the sun.
Some were good for teachers, some were not. The good ones tend to have legs and last a few years. Some have healthy price tags to match the features list. Some run on Macs and Windows PCs. For the past three years I’ve used Planbook.
Plan To Teach
Planbook is for teachers. What it does is help us to plan for the classroom. Think iCal for teachers (it even syncs to iCal), but with focus on lesson plans, classes, and students.
Lesson plans can be setup for 15 courses per day on a straightforward, visually obvious course plan.
All the basics are available with a click, including assignment creation, standards tracking, even student handouts.
Lesson plans can be created and shared with students and parents using the PlanbookConnect system online.
What made me look at Planbook in the first place was that it’s developed by a high school science teacher. The idea is to replace the standard paper plan book with a Mac (or PC) app that tracks everything on a precise schedule.
Start off by creating a course and schedule.
When you’re ready, enter the lesson information you need for the class. The custom fields help. Each lesson can be tagged with keywords. Even assignments with due dates can be set.
The key to success with Planbook is diligence. Plans can be edited and updated and used year after year.
Each lesson can have links to web sites or documents, making Planbook a self-fulfilling handout machine.
Assignments have assigned and due dates and are displayed on each lesson. Add titles, due dates, and details to assignments, and publish on Planbook Connect, but without tests.
A full week of lessons can be printed or saved as PDFs. There are many more options, but you get the idea. Planbook is for teachers and classrooms, but also lets you add standards via the Standards Manager.
My school doesn’t have a standardized lesson plan, so teachers are free to use what works. Many of us choose Planbook because it’s affordable, shareable, and each lesson improves year after year.