I decided to start lesson-planning with a computer, instead of with old-fashioned paper, for four reasons:
1) Ease of access. Lesson-planning on paper gets bulky, especially towards to middle and end of a school year; I found myself never having access to past lessons when I wanted to refer to them at home. If I intend on doing school work of any kind, however, I always have my computer with me to access past files. So why should lesson-plans be any different?
2) Synergy. Microsoft Office is a big part of my teaching; having access to all of the documents I have created while lesson-planning, and being able to create new documents without changing mediums, is powerful.
3) Sharing. I post a lot of stuff on my class website so that students, parents, and administrators can have ready access. I figured that all three of those parties might also be interested in seeing my lesson-plans posted from time to time. Having my lesson-plans on the computer also makes them easier to share with fellow teachers (e.g., via list-servs).
Notice how the word "access" appears at least once in each of those three reasons. (And I tried not to repeat myself!)
and finally, 4) Speed. With the document I will describe and share in this post, it is quick and easy to create detailed lesson-plans.
Description of Document
Here is a look at the document I created to streamline to lesson-planning process:
Note: The "Standards" section refers to the "Standards for Classical Language Learning."
The document is "macro-enabled," which means that when it is "locked," only the "text fields" can be edited. This is very beneficial because one does not need to waste time formatting while lesson-planning.
To make changes to the backbone of the document (for example, to change "Do Now!" to "Bellwork," or to change "Stage" to "Chapter"), you must "unlock" it. When you are finished, you can "lock" it again to make your changes permanent. To toggle between "locked" and "unlocked" will be a little different if you are on a Mac or PC.
If you are on a Mac, go to "View," then "Toolbars," then "Forms":
You will wind up with a new menu that looks like this:
The "lock/unlock" option is circled in red above, the button furthest to the right.
If you are on a PC, look here for a good guide to forms.
Finally, you can make the document a "template" so that when you save it, you do not save over the original but are instead prompted to save as a new file. The process is a little different if you are on a Mac or a PC.
If you are on a Mac, find the locked version of the file you want to make a template, right-click, and select "Get Info":
Now select the "stationary" option:
If you are on a PC, look here for a good walk-through. Look under the section "Create a Template Based on an Existing Document."
lessonPlanTemplate (57k .docm)
Remember that if you want to make changes, you will need to unlock the document, make the changes, then lock it again (see above for brief directions). Remember also to make the document a template (again, see above for brief directions).