Friday, January 8, 2016

Going Digital in 2016

Hi everyone! Tori here from Journey Through the Middle. I am so excited to be writing my first ever blog post for The Middle School Mob! This is such an fun way to start 2016. If one of your goals this year is to become more organized or utilize technology to make your life a little bit easier, then this is the blog post for you. I can't wait to share with you how to go digital in 2016 by creating your weekly lesson plans on Google Slides and saving them in your Google Drive.

I have been doing all of my lesson plans digitally for about a year-and-a-half now, and I honestly do not know how I functioned before. Having all of my lessons plans and accompanying assignments in one spot on the cloud has allowed me to keep track of and use the plethora of amazing resources I have amassed over sixteen years of teaching. Yep, sixteen years of hormonal and apathetic, yet empathetic and honorable 8th graders. I just love middle school! Alright, let's get started. 

So, obviously the first thing you need to go digital is to have a Google account and make sure you are logged into it. If you do not have a Google account, they are free and super easy to set up. Once you are logged in, go into your Google Drive and click on the red "New" tab. Then, click on "folder" and create a new folder for your lesson plans. Title the folder as you please. I titled mine 2015-2016 Lesson Plans. Once you have typed in your title, click the blue create button.

Open up your new folder. Now, click on the link below to open up the FREE template I have shared with you.  I love this template. It covers a whole week on a two-page spread to give you tons of room and make for easy printing if you want to print them off and put them in a notebook.

The template will open up in "View Only" mode. Simply click on "File," "Make a Copy," rename the file, and click "OK" to save it. I always save mine under the title of the week's lesson plans I will be writing, i.e. Week of January 11-15. Open up your saved copy.

Now the fun begins.  You just start adding your information into the text boxes. I love Google Slides because it is so similar to PowerPoint. You can easily change the font styles, size, or color; change the background color and shape; insert hyperlinks and pictures; easily make duplicate copies of any page, etc.  

Here is a sample of one of my completed pages for next week:

I add in the vocabulary words we focus on for each story we read on the left-hand side and a To Do list to help me focus. When I finish an item on my To Do list, I draw a line through it (highlight the text and then go to "Format" and choose "Strikethrough" to draw a line through text). I assign a majority of my work through the Google Classroom, which is why I clarify on my plans that the assignment will be housed there. If it is not in the Google Classroom, I know I probably have to make copies or students will be working in their physical Interactive Student Notebook.

When I am done typing up my weekly lesson, I share a "View Only" copy with my principal and LA team. I share it as "View Only" because I don't want someone to go in and accidentally delete or modify my plans. I also upload copies of every assignment I place in the Google Drive, handout I pass out, PP I show, and I try to take pictures of really awesome examples of student work. I place all of these items inside of the 2015-2016 Lesson Plans folder. I organize my 2015-2016 Lesson Plan folder by creating weekly folders inside of this main folder. Here is a small snapshot of what that looks like:

Here is a quick view of what the inside of my next week's folder looks like:

I cannot even put into words how amazing it is to have all of your resources right at your fingertips and organized. It helps save your sanity now, but it is life altering when you are able to go back into the folders next year and see exactly what you did, have all of your resources right there, and easily improve. No more reinventing the wheel because you misplaced something, no more smacking yourself upside the head because you realize you used a great resource the year before but forgot about it this time around, no more frantic scrambling because you suddenly realize your pacing is three weeks slower this year than last! Make this the year you organize your lesson plans (and your school life) digitally with Google Slides and the Google Drive.

As a side note, if you like the lesson plan template I shared with you, I have nine more varieties available in my Lesson Plans Bundle in my TpT store. Not only will you get multiple digital varieties, but the bundle also comes with editable PDF and PP versions. 

Thanks for stopping by and visiting the Mob! 
Until next time,


  1. Tori,
    This is great! I currently use for my lesson plans, but will definitely have to try this out! Thanks for sharing!
    Lit with Lyns

  2. I do something similar in Google with a Google site for my 2 classes and it has literally changed my life! and made things so much easier! Thanks for sharing these templates...They're fantastic! :)