Thursday, August 20, 2015

4 Google Apps to Share Lesson Plans

Sharing lessons online is becoming the standard, and why not? Students want to know what they missed. Parents want the ability to take a peak from time to time. And teachers should make it easy to share with colleagues – not to mention the ease of access to the plan next time around.


Here are four Google apps that work well for sharing lesson plans. It's important to note, however, that each app is geared for a slightly different audience. For example, a lesson published for sharing with colleagues may not be the format students and parents want to read. 

I use a combination of Blogger and Google Classroom.

1. Blogger

This is my favorite! Using a blog feels, to me, like a wide open space. If it's organized well, users can skim and click on resources or read every word to fully understand the lesson.

Blogger is the best app for sharing detailed lessons with colleagues because of the public nature and commentary opportunities. Just make sure you balance the jargon with points that non-educators can understand pretty quickly. 

Click the image for an example.



2. Classroom

Classroom is definitely a space that requires brevity. In fact, I like to write two or three days worth of lesson plans in one post, especially considering that my lessons often start during the last 20 minutes of class. Straddling the meeting times is a good way to keep students thinking beyond the scheduled class.



Notice how the resources are shared in order of appearance. This is important because kids (especially teenagers) will ask which resource they need, even if the titles match perfectly.


Right click and print for sub notes (click link for example).  

3. Sites 

Google Sites is not much different than Blogger. The nice thing about using Sites is that students and parents can go to one place for everything, depending on how the site is organized.

Insert an announcement section on your homepage, and users will be directed to the most current information. 

If your users want email updates sent automatically, they can subscribe to the announcement posts. In fact, all four of these apps allow users to subscribe to changes, posts, announcements, etc.


4. Docs

I do something different with Docs that's great for unit planning. The curriculum is pasted into a document, and I include links in the text to the resources students need. As we progress, I include some activities in lieu of a slide presentation if I think it will save time. 


Example: 3.1 Post Classical Unit  

Consider using the table of contents feature, which works with the headings automatically. 
  1. Insert a table of contents at the beginning of a document.
  2. Make your document headings with the automatic stylizing.
  3. Refresh your table of contents to make the jump link. 

What's Next?

This year will be a bit different because I'm teaching at a different school in a different state. But I'll try some new things like writing the lesson plan on Classroom and pasting it into Blogger where the elaboration and more formal writing will finish it off.