As teachers, we have several vital tasks to complete. Among them is lesson planning, which is an absolute necessity.
For that, we offer a professional digital teacher planner for FREE with our membership. It can also be printed and placed in a binder, for those who prefer the paper method.
The digital teacher planner on an iPad mimics the traditional paper planner. You need a PDF reader such as Notability or GoodNotes, to write directly on your planner using an Apple Pencil, which I love. I hated the price at first, but that fades with the useability I get from the apple pencil.
Our planner permits its users to make use of up to two years’ worth of monthly and weekly pages that are appropriately dated and hyperlinked to allow for ease of access. It also makes available a respectable number of admin pages ie; meetings, checklists, behaviour tool, birthdays, term overviews, assessment, and so on.
My number one reason for going digital is making small-group documentation as simple as ever. If you are a user of the ‘Daily Five’ or something similar for language rotations, you will likely be using a CC Pensieve or Conferring Notebook. It records small-group and one-on-one observations and conversations.
I use my digital teacher planner in the same way, to observe and interact with students more efficiently, all the while noting their moves and entering any data in my digital teacher planner.
When I have a parent conference or an IEP meeting, instead of wasting time searching through a binder, or a page, or line in a checklist, I use the search facility in Good Notes. I key in the students’ name and hey presto every note I made about that student comes up.
It doesn’t matter if each note is in a different section of the planner. Every kind of assessment comes up with the date and time of entry. These can be exported as one single report and printed or emailed to administration.
You can, of course, opt for the plain non-descript planner provided by most school admin but if you want something of beauty to look at its got to come from your pocket. Which I don’t mind as it’s something I use every day.
Besides, beautiful, well-made planners are usually costly, so teachers, tend to wait for the prices to drop right before the start of the school year to grab their paper planners along with their favourite stickers, paper clips, binders, etc. They feel so good, like getting a new book. I love the smell, the feel, the look.
Doing this for the first few years may not initially seem as costly, but if you calculate how much you have wasted every year on paper, (I did it some years back, what a shock), you would realise that you could have minimised this loss by changing to digital. Plus the digital teacher planner is reuseable if not dated. The SBS Coral teacher planner is dated and hyperlinked, but it runs for two years.
Digital content is lightweight since you only carry the weight of the device. No matter how much you store, it always remains within the same volume. A handful of teachers like myself live modest lives in small homes where space is given a priority, especially if kids are in the picture.
It is also worth noting that some teachers do not have access to extra storage, so it would only seem plausible to rely on a single device, such as the eco-friendly and lightweight iPad or Android tablets. You can easily carry your handy iPad in your bag with it containing thousands upon thousands of lesson plans, teaching programmes and resources.
Just for fun, I have added a sheet of stickers to our FREE Teacher Planner, so you can get started decorating it as soon as you download the planner. You will find the stickers in a separate file. It is best to keep them this way in your pdf reader, so as not to overload the planner file. All you have to do is import the sheet of stickers into your pdf app as images.
Using the lasso tool in GoodNotes or some other pdf reader app, take your Apple Pencil or stylus and draw around the shape you would like to use. Hold your Apple Pencil over what you just circled, until the ‘take screenshot’ menu appears, then click the take screenshot button.
A pop-up window will appear. Tap the square (top right-hand corner) that has an arrow pointing upwards. Then choose where you want to save the image. I choose to ‘save to files’. The image should appear as a thumbnail in the top-right menu. Tap on it, and it will pop up on the page of the planner you are on.
Move the sticker to wherever you like, making it bigger or smaller to fit a segment on your planner page. Then you can write on top of it or leave it as is. Plus you can duplicate it as many times as you like and so on. Great, yes?!
Over the years, it may become harder to remember where every little detail on those notebooks, planners and programmes are. That is why it can take a dreadfully long time to re-locate the needed information. However, digital teacher planners using the GoodNotes pdf reader app can utilise the search function that scans all your data and displays anything that may be related to it. So instead of a few hours, how about a few seconds?
Not only that but taking notes on an iPad is faster, especially if you are using an Apple Pencil and the right apps to go along with it. Plus, correcting mistakes is also less tiring since you do not have to throw away a piece of paper or blemish your notes with correction tape. I used to get through one white-out tape a week years back, just because I liked my planner to look nice! Lol.
One of the other negatives of using traditional planning is the massive clutter that comes with it. If you are similar to me, and you prefer to maintain your school bag and house clutter-free, resorting to paper is not the way to do it! Have you ever entered a classroom and forgot where you had put that piece of paper, and you wasted 5 minutes looking for it? This issue happened to me even when I had everything filed and labelled.
There are those immediate letters, papers, memos and messages of the week that haven’t been filed yet. Since I have moved to digital planning, these issues are gone. All my lessons, notes, messages, papers, forms, letters, staff meeting agendas get photographed and uploaded to my ‘Meetings’ page for that week. I might even add a handy note with my apple pencil.
Be professional and keep all your teaching notes, resources, assessments and lesson plans at your fingertips without feeling any extra weight. Reach anything you need at any moment.
Paper is arguably the least efficient way of jotting down information. Once you’ve printed a sheet, it can no longer allow for any further edits. Digital planning, on the other hand, offers a plethora of reasons as to why it is more efficient.
To illustrate, external sources, such as books, websites, YouTube videos, etc., can be hyperlinked to your notes, and you can even access these sources in class while using the digital planner via the whiteboard apple TV.
Furthermore, since each school has different policies on what a teacher is required to produce for lesson plans, the digital teacher planner enables minimal fast editing to make your lesson plans comply for any school.