Traditional lesson plan books have their limitations. Being paper-based, they’re not searchable and they’re not easily shareable.
Wouldn’t it be great to be able to search quickly for a specific lesson plan instead of flipping back page by page?
How about being able to share lesson plans with others without making photocopies?
You can use Google Forms to create a lesson planner that creates documents — automatically! — with all your plans in a format nicely designed by you!
Invest a bit of time now (I’m guessing +/- 30 minutes … just my best guess) and you’ll have a system that saves your lesson plans to your Drive that you can find easily later.
You’ll create a Google Form like this one (click here) where you’ll type up your lesson plans.
With the steps in this post, you’ll automatically create documents with all of your data like this (click here)!`
I published a post called “20 practical ways to use Google Forms in class, school”. My readers — by far! — clicked most often on the “lesson plans” option. This made me think, “Why not create specific instructions so everyone knows EXACTLY how to do this?”
Here it is … step-by-step instructions to add automation to your Googlized lesson plans:
1. Create a new Google Form (on a computer/Chromebook, go to Google Drive and use the “NEW” button … hover over “More” and choose Google Forms). Change the title/filename to whatever you’d like. (Something like “Lesson plan template”.)
3. Click the preview button (looks like an eye on computer/Chromebook) to make sure everything looks good. If so, fill your lesson plan template out once with some practice text (so you’ll have some data to work with) and submit it.
4. Go back to your Google Form. Click the “Responses” tab (it’s next to the “Questions” tab at the top). Click the green spreadsheet button to create a spreadsheet. In the window that pops up, choose to create a new spreadsheet. (If it doesn’t have a file name yet, you might want to create one so you can find it later!)
5. It will open the new spreadsheet for you, where you’ll see any lesson plan responses you’ve created. (Whenever you type up new lesson plans and click “submit,” they’ll come to this spreadsheet automatically too.)
6. Now that our lesson plan spreadsheet is set, let’s set up what the document will look like with all of your lesson plan information! Go back to Google Drive and create a new document. Design that document just like you’d like it to be. (Here’s an example … click here to see it … and don’t worry about all the <<>> stuff in the document yet.)
7. Now, let’s set the document up to have information inserted into it. In the example document above, you’ll see data tags that have << and >> around them. (If the term “data tags” scares you a little bit, don’t worry … be brave and keep going. They aren’t as scary as they sound. I promise! 🙂 )
For us to be able to bring in all of your lesson plan data, we have to know where to put all of that data. These data tags do it for us. The nice thing about them — you can make them whatever you want (I’d stick to regular alphabet letters to be safe, though). They just need to have << and >> around them.
8. Once your data tags are in place, it’s time to set this whole thing up so it will generate those awesome lesson plan documents for you! Go back to your results spreadsheet and click the “Add-ons” menu. Then click “Get add-ons …”. Search for “autoCrat” and click the blue “+ FREE” button next to it. You’ll need to grant it permissions to do its thing. (Don’t worry … it’s safe.)
9. When the autoCrat add-on is installed, do one of two things (they both do the same thing):
If you clicked that “play” button in autoCrat … Quick! Run to Google Drive and check your lesson plan folder. There will be a new lesson plan document in it!
Pretty snazzy, huh?
Now, every time you enter lesson plan data into your Google Form, autoCrat will create a document with all that information, sorted and presented neatly in that document you created.
(Note: autoCrat will automatically create those documents about every three hours or so by itself. If you want them immediately, you can go click that “play” button at the end of the autoCrat instructions above.)
Want to share specific lesson plans with colleagues or supervisors? Use the blue “Share” button in the top right of the document and share it with them … or share the whole folder with them!
Want to find lesson plans for a specific date or with a specific activity in them? Just search Google Drive for the document!
Autocrat creates separate documents for each lesson plan you create with the Google Form. I’ve had questions about putting all of those lesson plans together in one document.
After doing some digging, here’s what I’ve got …
[reminder]Having trouble? I’ll do my best to help you troubleshoot in the comments below. Have suggestions or changes? Let us know below![/reminder]
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