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Lightning Bug

What it is: Lightning Bug is a fantastic resource for the writing classroom.  The tag-line of Lightning Bug is, “Your writing partner, helping you write a story from beginning to THE END”.  That is exactly what it does.  For each stage of the writing process, students have access to excellent guides and resources to aid the process.  Students can get help finding a story idea, developing the idea, and finishing the story.  Students can even have a look at what kind of writer they might be based on their personalities.  Lightning Bug has a great collection of writing resources.  Students can explore author blogs, search for character names, get some exercises in creativity, get help with grammar and spelling, and even get help for publishing their written work.  The teacher resources are equally helpful for teaching writing. How to integrate Lightening Bug into the classroom: Lightning Bug is a great resource to have going on your classroom computers as a writing/publishing center.  Students can visit the site to get help with every stage of writing.  This is an excellent site to send home and alert parents to, it would be enormously helpful for at-home writing projects.  If you have access to a computer lab or 1 to 1 setting, allow your students to walk through this website as they work on any piece of writing.  The site is organized really well and easy to navigate independently.  Be sure to take a look at the teacher resources. A few of the recommendations for the writing process include worksheets such as mind maps.  Instead of using a worksheet for students to map their ideas, consider using online tools that will let students organize their thoughts and collaborate with others as they write.  Try using online mind mapping tools such as Creza’s Mindomo or  Comapping.  Students can use tools such as Zoho, Google Docs, or Kerpoof to collaborate as they write. Tips: Many of the ideas and resources found on Lightning Bug are useful for digital storytelling. Please leave a comment and share how you are using Lightning Bug in your classroom.

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PlanbookEdu: Lesson Plans in the Cloud

Posted by admin | Posted in Classroom Management, iPod, professional development, Teacher Resources, web tools | Posted on 06-07-2011

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What it is: Planbook EDU is a great cloud-based (a.k.a online) lesson plan book.  Because Planbook EDU is hosted in the cloud, all you need is an Internet connection, your plans travel with you.   Planbook EDU is listed in the Google Apps Marketplace and is a natural fit for schools already using Google apps for education (email, calendar, documents, etc.).  The free version of Planbook EDU has nothing to install, let’s teachers access their planbook from any internet connection, is easy to use with word processor like editing, is fully customizable, works in all major web browser and is iPad/iPhone supported (word processor editing doesn’t work on these devices).

How to integrate Planbook EDU into the classroom: I am a big fan of organizational tools, they let me organize my thoughts so that in the fire hose of ideas what is important (the learning goal) doesn’t get lost. Planbook EDU is a simple way to organize and plan units and your school year.  I love that it is cloud-based so that I can access my plans from anywhere and any time.  The basic features are robust enough to get your planning in place and the extras that can be added on make it VERY useful.

The premium version allows you to embed your planbook directly in your classroom website…very handy for keeping students and parents up to date with what is coming!

Tips: For $25/year, you get all of the free features plus- attach files to lesson plans, assign Common Core Standards, embed your planbook on any website, share lesson plans with anyone, print from your browser, export to Microsoft Word or PDF, built-in spell check and enjoy access to unlimited planbooks each school year.  EVERY user gets a free 14 day trial of all the premium options from Planbook EDU.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using PlanbookEDU  in your classroom!

 

Comments (8)

Thanks for the great post.

If anyone has any questions or comments about PlanbookEdu feel free to contact me directly.

Matt Curry
Founder, PlanbookEdu
matt@planbookedu.com

I have been using this tool for over a year and love it. I have the premium version and it has been a life saver. Don’t know how I did it without it.

[…] Planbook EDU by clicking here!!For a more detailed review be sure to check out the award nominated iLearn Technology!! Posted by dkapuler at 7/06/2011 Labels: lesson […]

Thanks! As someone who hates writing lesson plans, this makes my life so much easier! I love the fact that I can add files. Will let you know how it works out when the new school year begins.

Thanks for the input from someone who has been using it Kathleen. We could all use more of those tools that make life easier!

I’ve always liked PlanbookEDU.

It is one of the best of its kind, but a few more options can be seen here…

http://www.brighthub.com/education/k-12/articles/103054.aspx

Third-year teacher and first time user of both Planbookedu and Edublogs. I am going to try to convert as many people as possible to both services, as they add value, are efficient, and affordable. My real curiosity is how well my entire year’s planbook will copy to next year with slightly different start dates and holidays. If it goes smooth, this thing could be a must-have for every teacher.

Best thing I ever bought for my classroom!

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