Teaching With Gadgets

How Technology Can Help Today's Teacher

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

OneNote As A Planner...

Many teachers are still using the paper based coil planner to keep track of their daily plans. These are, however, not the best tool for the job because: (1) There isn't much room to write up your plans and; (2) the amount of paper used per year is simply amazing!

About a year ago I decided to see if OneNote would be able to help me. I had noticed on Microsoft's site that they provided templates for a whole slew of different careers. I simply decided to design my own template for teaching.

First, I created a template for each day of the week. As an elementary teacher each of my days are different and I need to follow a different schedule. While I am using a template it is still easy enough to change items. For example, I usually have Phys. Ed. between 9:00 and 9:30. However, if I manage to squeak out an extra 30 minutes I can simply change that on the template.

On my template I have created areas for "important events", "students to observe", "after school jobs", and "contacts to make". These sit in boxes either at the top or bottom of the template. The middle part of the template has my actual day plan schedule. I have an area for lesson objectives, materials needed, and the actual plan. Because you are not using paper the day plan can be as long as you want it to be.

What about substitutes? The beautiful thing here is that you can simply print out the plan or send it electronically. OneNote allows for HTML prinouts but I prefer to use the free CutePDF to make a PDF file (fully annotated with ink!) and send that to our school secretary. No paper ever needs to be printed.

After I have filled out the template I can then save it in a specific month tab so that all of my plans are easily accessible. While OneNote is great on a tablet PC (it's the first program that I load), it can be used on any Windows PC or Mac running Virtual PC.

Check out OneNote here and let it change how you organize your day!