Review by Debbie Gorrell, Common Sense Education | Updated August 2017

Planboard

Handy one-stop digital lesson planner saves time in the long run

Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
K-12
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Pros: It's easy to keep track of classroom schedules, as well as add standards, attach PDFs, and add videos to lessons.

Cons: Setting up lessons and personalizing a schedule takes quite a bit of time up front.

Bottom Line: Although it requires a lot of setup time, this snappy tool centralizes the essential components of lesson planning.

Teachers can use Planboard to share lessons with other educators, such as substitute teachers, or colleagues who teach the same subjects. Once a lesson is created, make a PDF for any printable content or share content digitally by using a direct link or embedding the link into an outside website. Once they're invited by teachers via email, parents, caretakers, and students can gain access to the main Chalk.com platform and set up their own account. Be sure to use the Android or iOS mobile app for on-the-go access.

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Planboard is an organizational tool (website and app) for lesson planning and tracking standards coverage. Start by creating a free account with Chalk.com. Next, create color-coded subjects -- which can be further organized into sections if the subject is taught to more than one group, or class, of students. Then, add subjects to a schedule using a built-in calendar. Creating and organizing lessons is the final step; templates are available and editing tools allow users to embed videos, attach documents, include links to Google documents, and more.

Additional features are well worth exploring and using after basic setup is complete. Curriculum sets can be added to subjects; lessons can be copied, shifted, and exported for collaboration with other educators; and standards can be added to lessons. Users can sync Planboard with other apps from Chalk.com, including Markboard, Attendance, and Collaborate. Markboard helps teachers manage assessment, Attendance tracks student absences, and Collaborate is a comprehensive sharing tool.

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Planboard is a powerful tool for staying organized throughout the school year, allowing teachers to focus on delivering content with ease. Schedules are highly customizable, which is great for teachers who are on a rotating schedule or a schedule that changes often. Viewing lessons from home can help students focus and prepare for the coming weeks.

There's a pretty steep learning curve, and it requires a lot of setup time. However, Planboard should save teachers time in the long run and reduce the stress of managing class schedules and trying to keep lesson resources organized. Taking the hassle out of planning for teachers and the guesswork out of what content to expect for students is a win-win.

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Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

It's up to teachers to make engaging lesson plans, but the ability to embed videos and link to outside sources makes it easy to incorporate many different features into a single lesson.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

Teachers can customize schedules and lessons while tracking standards coverage. Integration with other apps, like Markboard, supports assessment.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

Tutorial videos do an excellent job of walking users through the features and how to use them.


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