Planning With Google

Kate Friedwald  |  Oct 2018

As a student teacher I dreamed of the day I’d have my own black planning folder sitting on my desk, looking pretty with each week planned and colour coded according to curriculum area. I am still waiting actually as this wasn’t something my school handed out upon employment.  I quickly understood why as I became comfortable using Microsoft Word for my planning. I would create a new plan each week, save it to my documents and print a copy for the day I was asked by the powers above to see my planning.

It wasn’t long into my teaching that we became a google school and I immediately jumped on the bandwagon.  WOW! I was blown away by how many steps I could skip, no more printing, no more loading to the school server and no more emailing to share with colleagues.  Planning digitally is something that I know some teachers take a while to get used to and even when they do they still like a printed copy, and that’s ok. Whatever works for you!

So about this google planning thing.  The core suite of google apps are great tools for both teaching and learning.  Below is a brief run down of how I use two of these tools or how teachers I provide professional learning for are using them.

Google Docs

 

Think of Docs as a sheet of paper, you can put what you like on there and display it how you want.  It doesn’t really “do” anything with your content so is best used for text based planning that is often long or contains many links.  A google doc is like a book so it is as short or as long as you want it, you can even add a table of contents to make navigation easier.  

 

Unit plans and group plans are my top planning tasks I use docs for. Adding links out to learning content ready for a lesson, making notes on student achievement and duplicating (you can’t have multiple tabs like in sheets) for each unit or group is what I love most.

Maths Group planning template and Changing Environment Unit Plan are available via ShareWithUs VIP Membership.

This Year/Term planning template is available via ShareWithUs VIP Membership.

Google Sheets

Sheets is far far more than the google version of Excel.  In planning terms it is fantastic for year and term planning along with assessment data and collaborative team organisation.  Cells can be merged, linked out to additional content and even hidden if not always required. Multiple tabs can be utilised within the one sheet to reduce the number of files you have but still have everything open and on hand for easy access.  Of course you can easily manipulate data as you would expect also.

In 2014, I, along with my class featured in a video series that is featured on Enabling eLearning.  This particular video highlights how I used Google Sheets for weekly planning along with setting and monitoring student learning.

I am always thrilled to introduce teachers to the world of google sheets planning, It is rewarding seeing faces light up in awe of the time they will save.

 

A template of this spreadsheet is available via ShareWithUs VIP Membership.

Google Slides

Google Slides is another great tool that some teachers like to use for planning. It can be especially useful if you wish to create your planning in a visually appealing format for use by students. A slide deck for each week or each curriculum area can make self management by students easy for all.  Slides (like docs and sheets) can be easily embedded into a google site to make ongoing access even quicker.

google-slides-icon

Google Sites

Sites is the newest (more revamped) of the tools I like to use.  It is an absolutely brilliant way to combine both your planning and communication of learning with students to be a one stop shop for the classroom. Think of it as your own website!  To use sites well you will organise your planning and students learning across a range of website pages and embed items such as docs, sheets and slides. This gives you the best of each individual app all located in the one place.

G Suite is awesome, pretty much that’s it in a nutshell.  The same tools can be used in such a huge range of ways not only for the above planning tasks but also for use for and by students.

This means we are only learning to use one group of tools and applying in a multiple of ways – time saving efficiency CHECK.

Keen to know more or after some support to give Google Planning a go?

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