For about 8 months I’ve been scouring the Internet for a free, easy to use, attractive, and easy to share lesson planning program. It didn’t matter to me if I could download it or use it online. I found only disappointment in my search (cue sappy violins). Then I came across this eHow article by Heidismiles (that’s her eHow username people) about how iCal can be used as a lesson planner. While this is far from perfect, it had more or less what I was looking for and beat the socks off the competition in my opinion. While Heidismiles’s guide is not bad, I felt it lacked some pictures, so I’m going redo it and throw in a video to boot! Read on past the break to see how iCal can be leveraged to help YOU out with your lesson planning.
PS iCal is only on Mac computers and the glorious video is at the bottom of the post
Step 1: Creating a New Calendar Group
This is essential as it will keep your lesson plans seperate from your other important dates and information. First go to File and select New Calendar Group. Once added, you can rename it by double clicking on the group name.
Step 2: Creating New Calendars
Now that we have a new group, we need to add new calendars to it. Make sure that your new group is selected in the sidebar and go to File and select New Calendar. You will see a new calendar added under your group and indented in a little. Add as many calendars to the group as you want and don’t forget to rename them. For this example I added, Math, English, Science, and Social Studies. Check out the pictures below to make sure yours matches mine. If you accidently made a calendar outside of your group, just click and drag your calendar to your group and it will add it automatically.
Step 3: Writing your lesson plans
This part is easy. Go to your calendar section (it will either be in the month, week, or day view) and just double click on the day you want to add a lesson plan.
This will pop up.
Form here you can change the day, time, calendar, add a file or hyperlink, and at the bottom where it says note that is where you will type your lesson plans. Now I know this is a small space but it expands as it needs and while this is certainly not ideal it does the job. So go ahead and add as much or as little as you want. Do this for each of your classes.
Step 4: Print or Share
What is the point of doing your lesson plans on your Mac if you can’t print or share them. This is where iCal is nice. To do this click on the day you want to print and click on File then select Print (or hit Command key + P) and you get this box. Make sure it is on Day on the View section (near the top).
Here you can format the text size (at the bottom) and select which calendars you want to include. Once you’ve done that click Continue. Now a new window will pop up and here you have some options. You can print it out (which is nice to have as back ups or if your administration needs them).
Another option is to save it as a PDF. Once this is done you can email it to subs, administration, or whoever. That person (or people) will have an easy to read, detailed, and beautiful looking lesson plan. To do this click on PDF in the bottom left hand corner of that Print box. A new drop down menu will unfold. Check out my pic.
You may also notice there is a Mail PDF option. If you’re at school behind a firewall, this may or may not work. If it doesn’t, just save it as a PDF and it will look something like mine below. Just lovely.
In the Cloud and one last note
If you subscribe to MobileMe (currently $99/year) you can have your iPhone, iPod Touch, iPads all synced with each other. When one is updated the others should update the next time they connect to the Internet. Also, I know that Lion (the newest operating system) will be coming to Macs in the next couple of months and I know for a fact that iCal got a major update, but these steps should still be more or less the same. If not, I’ll be back to refresh this handy tutorial.