I LOVE a good calendar. I could talk about all the different calendars I keep, but for today let’s just focus on Google Calendar.
I’ve tried many different calendar-type tools for lesson planning – physical print outs with notes scribbled all over, post-it notes, and online ones like Chalk or Planboard. But I finally found planning nirvana when I substituted for one of my dad’s coworker’s maternity leave. This teacher had the most brilliant, simple, USEFUL Google Calendar set-up. It was SO easy for me to take over for her because of this efficient system. And I’ve now used her system ever since!
Let’s see an example month in my Google Calendar and then we’ll dissect each awesome component:
- Each class has its own color. You’ll notice on the bottom left, I have a calendar labeled “Julia Ziac” – I put general school events on this one. The red, green, and maroon are the three classes I taught this year. I put a period in front of each name so that Google sorted them to the top of this list. These colors also match my Google Drive folders for each class, because that’s who I am as a person. The yellow “Julia’s Activities” was new this spring – these events were forwarded to the Google Site we hosted for our “Student Hub” for students to access during distance learning.
- I use FULL DAY events instead of exact times. Why? Honestly, I like how the full day boxes look, haha. You’ll see the yellow dots – those are specific-time events. I find it hard to see the color as well. Plus, I don’t really care what time Programming class is that day. I know my class schedule by heart, Google doesn’t need to remind me. And I teach Algebra 1 three times, but we’re almost always in sync across the three classes so I just put the info in the calendar once.
- It is SO easy to move events around, as well as duplicate them from year to year. This is the main thing that got me hooked on Google Calendar in the beginning. Say my Physics class was running a little slow one day? No worries, I’d just take the next day’s plan and scootch it to the following day. ALSO, I this year was the first year I finally got to re-teach a class (YAY WOO!) so I was able to duplicate “events” (lessons) from last year and schedule them for this year.
Ok let’s look at what is “in” each event and you’ll see a few more reasons why Google Calendar is my favorite.
- I can include links and PDFs and docs. This makes it SO easy to print everything for that day (in-person) or quickly copy links and send them to the kiddies (distance).
- I only include USEFUL stuff. For example, one of the other digital lesson planners I used had sections to link standards for each lesson and learning targets and all that stuff. That’s great if you need to send this to admin for a formal lesson plan, but I don’t need that for the actual lesson with the kids. I carefully plan in the beginning of the year so I know all my lessons are aligned to Common Core, etc. You’ll notice something I do include is a little note for a specific period. I also use abbreviations because I know my basic lesson flow for each class.
I highly encourage you to try Google Calendar this year! It’s so useful for distance learning, as well as in-person.
If you want to learn more about how I plan backwards and create curricula, join me this Friday at 1PM PST for a FREE Webinar!