25 June 2013

Lesson Planning

I am a planning freak. I like to schedule everything and I love a good list. These organized obsessions habits keep my life on track, and make me feel more calm on those crazy days where I don't even have time to pee!

I'm going to be kind of a jack-of-all-trades special ed teacher next year. I'll be working with students who are self-contained, pushed in, pulled out, and in PPCD, as well as their general education teachers and a team of paraprofessionals. Based on that little job description, I've decided that I need to get a planner (and a new pair of Toms for comfy feet as I'm walking all over our little school!) for next year soon. I'm pretty sure I have narrowed it down to three options:

1) Erin Condren's Teacher Planner- I've had her Life Planner for the last 6 months and I love how sturdy and user friendly it is! I actually even used it to do some lesson planning/tracking while I was student teaching. The Teacher Planner seems to be well-organized and designed with a teacher in mind. I've seen tons of positive reviews of this little beauty in the blog world! I like that it's adorable and personalized, has both monthly and weekly calendars (for short and long term planning), handy student checklists, and pages to keep track of student info.


I also really feel like I know what I'm getting into because of the neat video that explores the planner with Erin and a real teacher! The only drawbacks are the price and the shipping time. While I appreciate that it is customized, the wait time for my Life Planner (about 3 weeks) was excruciating. And, $60+shipping is a pretty hefty chunk of change.


2) A Modern Teacher's Texas Teacher & Lesson Planner Editable with TEKS- I stumbled upon this cute little option while I was googling lesson planners. It is adorable! I love that it is editable so I can pick which pages and which order I want them in, and I really appreciate having all of the TEKS listed in the front for reference, because I'll be working with ALL of those TEKS next year. I like that there are so many different options for calendars so if I put it in a binder instead of spiraling it, I could potentially reevaluate how each combo of calendars are working for me and print differently the next month. 


This product is CLEARLY designed by a teacher. There are reteach schedules, a spot for monthly focus TEKS, and a grade book. The only drawback I see to this guy is paying for ink or paying to have it printed. At $8.50, the digital license is a STEAL (especially in comparison to good ol' EC). But, once I add a 2" binder for $10, and print the 100 or so pages (which I'd like in color) for 49 cents each, the total comes to a whopping $65ish. 


3) The Planbook- I also found this via my trusty friend, Google. I plan on taking my iPad to school to use for daily data tracking, so I initially thought this would work splendidly. However, I'm seeing on the website that it is not totally iPad friendly (but they're working on it). I like that this is designed by an actual teacher, like option #2, and I really enjoyed the video that explained all of the neat features. It claims to totally individualize your plans based on your class schedule and desired lesson components, give you the ability to quickly and easily move lessons around (SO important in the crazy world of teaching). 


You can also print/email lessons from this platform. It is by far the most cost efficient ($12 for AN ENTIRE YEAR) because though I could print, I wouldn't necessarily have to because I could easily access all the plans anywhere that has wifi without having to save as documents or anything. However, it is not cute. I know that sounds trivial, but I like to enjoy what I'm writing in/on! I also would up a creek without a paddle if I didn't print my plans and Internet was unavailable for some reason. 

Has anyone used these planners? Any tried-and-true methods from veterans in the planning department? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

**these product reviews are intended to be solely based on an evaluation of my needs as a sped teacher! they all seem wonderful, and everyday i'm glad that people put in the effort to make planning more manageable for teachers!

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