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Thursday, August 11, 2016

Technophobes, feel free to stop reading now.

Fair warning: I am about to nerd out.

So, technophobes, feel free to stop reading now.

Because this is going to be a full on geek fest.

Basically, I figured out a way to make and share lesson plans in GAFE.

This is not a tutorial. It is a chronicle. Actual instructions are beyond me, at least for now.

Anyway, here is what I did, step by geektastic step.

Step 1:

Convince a colleague who is a GAFE super duper star to give up her lunch to answer a million silly questions...most of which I could probably answer myself with a little more internet sleuthing.

I picked her brain about everything from email filters, to calendar options, to doc templates, to Classroom features.

She was very very patient and totally helped me, by answering questions, and making me figure it out myself.

Then we geeked out together by comparing the writing platforms we are experimenting with this fall.
Step 2:

Create a Google template.  Really this just means creating a doc and saving it as a template.

This is harder than it sounds.

Google is sadly lacking in this area.

To create or open a template in the Google Suite, you actually have to go to a whole different website called

You can easily make and save a custom template there...someday it will be simpler (a girl can dream, 

Ok, so, the template I created is a lesson plan template.

It is the same basic configuration that I used last year in Planboard, part of

Planboard is cool and it is a freemium site. 

As a starter planner, it worked really well for me. knew it was coming...

This year, I have two new CT teachers who have not taught with me, or taught this course, before.

Then there is the whole NaNoWriMo madness...which is all new (and TERRIFYING) for me.

See, the free version of Planboard doesn't share well.

It has very limited capacity to share among a team of teachers. You can make a pdf, but it isn't easy and you lose all your links and stuff.

Given these issues, I have been thinking about alternatives.

The Google template I created is part of my attempted solution.

Step 3:

Create a calendar and share it to my team.

Calendar let's you create custom calendars for specific things and for specific groups.

It is, to be frank, freakin' awesome!

I titled the calendar NaNoWriMo Lesson Plans and shared it to my NaNo-partner and co-teachers.

Then, and this is essential, I created a repeating event for every week day called Lesson Plan.

When I look at this calendar now, I get a block of time for my classes with this title.

Step 4:

Open a copy of the template.

This is also harder than it sounds...accessing it requires another trip to

You can bookmark this site and visit it every time.

Right now, the only way to do it within Drive is to go to the Chrome store and add an app to Drive 
that will let you "Go to Templates" under the New tab.

Which still bounces you to the other website, but you don't have remember the name or create a
designated shortcut.

So, I did that app thing, I don't remember which one. The first one in the Chrome store when I searched
for "template."

Then I opened a copy of the template.

Step 5:

Write a lesson plan.

This should be pretty self-explanatory.

Objectives, agenda, DOK levels etc.

Title it with a tag related to the contents.

I thought about using the date, but to be honest, I will never remember when I taught something.

I might remember what the lesson was about.

In my Drive, I made a folder called Lesson Plans and made sure this doc was located in it.

My idea is that I can do this for every (or nearly, some lessons are more than one class period 
long) day.

Step 6:

Just to be clear, this is probably the coolest and nerdiest part.  

I go to my calendar and click on the daily event I created.

It opens to be edited.

I change the title to match the lesson.

Then, I click on "Add an attachment" and link the correct lesson plan from the folder in my Drive.

Every day, that is all I have to do to share my lesson plans complete with hyerlinks and videos and 
other materials.

That's it.

Take the plans I would already have written, write them in my template and add them to the calendar.

Seriously, how cooooool is that?

I love technology, at least when it works right.

As I understand it, Google is working on a revamp of their template system...soon I probably won't need to use an app or go to a separate website.

See, total nerd fest.

But its a good thing because it will make so many more things possible.

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