Google Sheets Teacher Planbook

Digital planbooks have gained popularity throughout the years as they allow educators to access, share and collaborate on their lesson plans from any device or location. Over the years, I have created my digital lesson plans using a variety of different Google Workspace applications- but Google Sheets is my FAVORITE!

Why Google Sheets?

While most people primarily use Sheets to manipulate and share data, I have found a variety of innovative uses for the application through exemplars posted on social media and during my own exploration. Sheets allows your to create and customize a template that may be duplicated each week as you complete your plans. If interested, you may color code Sheet Tabs and also add calendars, links, text, Emojis and images. Educators may share and collaborate with colleagues, substitute teachers or administrators while assigning different editing permissions.

If you understand the basic functionalities of Sheets such as how to add, hide and merge cells then it easy to create a nice template for your lesson plans! Or, click here to make your own copy of my Google Sheets Planbook Template. Pro Tip: I use the Crop Sheet Addon to remove extra columns and rows.

Screenshot of Template (Click to Access)

Example Template created in Sheets (Click to access)

Video Tutorial

What application do you use to create your digital planbook?

Pump Up the Jam(board)

What is Jamboard?

Jamboard is a FREE collaborative whiteboard application that is part of the G Suite for Education. Educators have found Jamboard extremely beneficial for increasing engagement and opportunities for collaboration. Students may collaborate in real-time while using the drawing, text, image, sticky notes, shapes, and laser tools. Users with access to a PC or Chromebook may use the web application at or But, if you have access to a phone or tablet, the FREE app allows users to add files from their Google Drive. Activities created using the Jamboard app or website are frequently referred to as “Jams”.

In the market for a new hardware? There is also a touch-screen whiteboard available for purchase as well. The physical Jamboard device allows students to pull information from websites, access the handwriting recognition feature and draw with a stylus.

Note: Jamboard must be turn-on by the domain administrator.

Are you already using Jamboard in your classroom?

If you are already using Jamboard in your classroom, I hope this blog post provides you with some new ideas, tips, and templates to “Pump Up the Jam” in your classroom!

Needs some integration ideas?

Educators are constantly finding new and innovative ways to enhance their daily instruction during both onsite and online instruction with Jamboard.

Here are some ideas:

General and SEL

  • Daily Checkins
  • Attendance
  • “Bucket Filling” or kindness walls
  • “Motivational Monday”
  • 2nd Step Reflections
  • Brainstorming behavior expectations during remote learning activities
  • Sharing examples of respect
  • Goal setting
  • Picture of the day


  • Sharing problem solving strategies
  • Collaborating on a problem
  • Using the whiteboard to demonstrate solutions
  • Collaborating while posting examples of 2D and 3D shapes
  • Sharing learning and reflections
  • Correcting errors


  • Annotating text
  • Sharing predictions, inferences, connections
  • Book Recommendations
  • Demonstrating revisions and edits
  • Locating evidence
  • Sharing example images of writer’s craft
  • Sharing reflections, questions, and learning
  • Locating and sharing examples of the parts of speech
  • Book talks
  • Reviewing sight words

Social Studies

  • Sharing examples of the 5 themes of geography for states, countries, and regions
  • Labeling maps
  • Collaborating while researching locations
  • Sharing examples of what students notice and wonder
  • Sharing thoughts on current events
  • Discussing educational videos


  • Sharing hypothesis
  • Locating and sharing evidence
  • Sharing results from experiments
  • Collaborating while researching
  • Brainstorming and collaborating on ideas supporting animal adaptations, habitats, and ecosystems
  • Sharing examples of what students notice and wonder

What would that look like?

Check out this Wakelet collection to see some fabulous examples of completed activities from educators on Twitter. (You do not need to have a Twitter account to click on the links in the Tweets.)

Templates Galore!!

I have curated dozens of templates from amazing educators on Twitter. Simply click on the Tweet that interests you and “Make a Copy” of the Jamboard activity. Click here to view the collection. I’ll continue to add to this collection throughout the year so make sure to bookmark it for later 🙂

Jamboard Templates

Want to Pump Up the Jam even more?

Check out this collection of curated tips as well! In this curated collection, you will find posts explaining how to insert animated GIFs, create a scratch ticket effect, create a mystery spot, play Bingo, and access more blogs and webinars!

How do you share Jams?

Since Jamboard is part of the G Suite for Education, it’s super easy to share your Jams by clicking the Share button and inviting specific collaborators or posting the link. You may also add your Jamboard activity in Google Classroom or create a Jam on the fly during your Google Meet!

Generate a Jam on the fly in Google Meet

How have you used Jamboard in your classroom? I’d love to hear from you!

Read and Write for Google Student Activity: Grades 3+

Many educators truly appreciate the benefits of using the Read and Write for Google Chrome Extension by TextHelp in classrooms! When students use the Read and Write extension they have access to a variety of tools that may help all learners with their reading and writing skills. Read and Write provides support for Google Docs, Google Slides, websites, PDFs, and ePub files.

Using this extension students can:

  • Have text read aloud
  • Use a translator
  • Share audio recordings of their reading
  • Simplify busy webpages
  • Collect highlights from websites into one Google Doc
  • Leave Voice Notes
  • Access a picture dictionary
  • Use a screen mask while reading
  • Access speech-to-text typing
  • So much more!

Once you have a subscription to this amazing tool you will obviously need to teach students how to use it. Here’s an activity I made using Google Slides which shows students how to use the Read and Write Extension through different activities. This activity is also good for teachers new to Read and Write to hone their skills too!

If you’d like to edit this template you may by visiting

Read and Write is FREE for teachers, but you do have to purchase a subscription for students to use the extension. They also provide many video resources on YouTube and have helpful information on their website.

How do you use Read and Write?

5 Digital Resources for the Global Read Aloud 2019

What is the Global Read Aloud?

The Global Read Aloud was founded in 2010 with the goal of having one book to connect the world. According to the Global Read Aloud website, now over 4 million students in 80 different countries have participated in this event!

Educators selected recommended titles that they’d like to read with students during a 6 week period of time known as the Global Read Aloud. They make efforts to discuss the literature while making global connections.

This year, the Global Read Aloud runs from September 30th to November 8th. There are no age restrictions on the books so educators may select the titles that work best with their students. The Global Read Aloud helps students and educators become part of a global celebration of literacy while demonstrating how technology may allow us to use digital tools positively while communicating and collaborating with a global audience.

Digital Resources and Activities If you would like to get involved in the Global Read Aloud you may sign up at This website answers many important questions you may have, shares information on this year’s book selections, and offers many resources for you to explore. Make sure to check out the official website of Pernille Ripp. She is the founder of the Global Read Aloud and an expert in literacy and technology integration!

Facebook Groups- Educators have been creating Facebook groups to connect with educators from around the world. Here, you may find lesson plans and amazing opportunities.

Facebook Groups:

Twitter– The official hashtag this year is #GRA19. You don’t need to have an account to search the hashtag to view posts with ideas and opportunities. Educators may also participate in Twitter “slow chats” where they may respond to questions about the literature posed by authors, educators and students.

  • Diaz Has Something to Say – #GRAStellaFront Desk – #GRAFront
  • The Bridge Home – #GRABridge
  • The Marrow Thieves– #GRAMarrow
  • Picture book author study – #GRAYuyi

Seesaw– There are so many amazing activities for students to discuss this year’s selections when you search the Community at Seesaw. Enter keyword #GRA19 and you’ll find dozens of amazing activities submitted by educators. These activities allow students to share their thinking about the literature and receive feedback from classmates. Many of these wonderful activities were submitted by Seesaw Ambassador @smalchow.

Here are some example activities:

Flipgrid Flipgrid is one of the world’s most popular video platforms for allowing students to share their ideas about any topic. Educators may search for pre-made activities in the Disco Library or create their own topics for students to engage and collaborate. Many educators use Flipgrid to create a class or school shared read aloud. Or, another popular option is to discuss literature with classrooms around the world by searching for educators looking to collaborate in the GridPals section of Flipgrid.

How do you use technology to participate in the Global Read Aloud? I’d love to hear about it!

5 Back to (Elementary) School Ideas with the G Suite for Education


The first week of school is around the corner and we are all scrambling for some fabulous ideas for kicking-off the school year and staying organized. Here are five ideas using G Suite for Education!

1: This is Me: Collaborative Slide Deck

Question: How could we have students introduce themselves to classmates and receive instant feedback?

It is so important for students and teachers to introduce themselves and get to know their classmates. Consider asking students (or staff) to create a slide about themselves and add it to a collaborative slide-deck. Then, students and staff may offer comments and feedback using the Commenting Tool. Don’t forget to include your own slide!

Our district’s theme last year was “This is Me! Who are you?” Inspired by music from the movie The Greatest Showman. Students put together the most amazing performance that was recorded and actually went viral. Consider including a video clip of the performance for inspiration using the Google Slides template below. It is so important that we build a community within our school. Sharing our goals, differences, and similarities is a great way to kickoff the school year! Template

2: Student Questionnaire

Question: How could we learn about our students interests and learning styles and share the information quickly with co-teachers?

Receiving input and feedback from students (and parents) is so important for understanding learning styles, study habits and other pertinent information. Google Forms makes it so easy to sort and share the information. Template for elementary school

3: Organize and Share your Classroom Library Inventory

Do you forget which books are in your large classroom library?

Question: How could we make our library searchable by titles, genres and reading levels?

My colleague, Lauren Fitzgerald asked if it could be possible to create a large database of all our reading books, including the genres and reading levels. This would make it incredibly easy to search for materials while lesson planning and sharing with staff. Together, we decided it was time to digitize the classroom library using Google Sheets and

Searchable Database of Classroom Library using

The first thing we needed to do with create a spreadsheet of our inventory. We then inserted code on a sheet labeled “Template below”. (If you’d like to learn more, my next post will explain how to make this all happen.)

Photo of Spreadsheet
Second Sheet has Code

4. Digital Morning Meeting Wall

Question: How could I reinvent my Morning Meeting wall to free up wall space?

Is your Morning Meeting wall taking up too much space? Consider going digital with Google Slides! Not only will you save wall space, you’ll also be able to archive past walls to review throughout the year.

Blog Post: Read post and get the template for editing!

5. Digital Hall Passes

Question: How could I log and sort student hall activity more efficiently?

Do you struggle monitoring student activity using a notebook sign-out system? Consider going digital using QR Codes!

By linking a Google Form to a QR code, students can scan the correct code whenever they need to leave the classroom. All data is then stored into a spreadsheet. The information can then be sorted and shared with parents, co-teachers or administrators.

Want to learn how? Here’s the blog post.

If you want to sort the student responses into separate sheets you can do that! Here’s a video tutorial explaining how:

Looking for more ideas?

Check out last year’s post “10 Smart and Simple Ways to Kickoff the School Year with the G Suite for EDU”

Sparking Innovation

All of these ideas started by asking a simple question: “How could we…?” Special thanks to my colleagues for asking questions and imagining the possibilities.

4 Easy Ways to Integrate Tech During the Global Read Aloud and Collaborate with an Authentic Global Audience

According to the Global Read Aloud‘s official website, the Global Read Aloud was created back in 2010 with a simple goal in mind; one book to connect the world!

Although it may be easy to purchase the books and participate in the readings during class-time, educators may find it difficult to determine how to use technology to connect with like-minded educators and collaborate with classrooms around the world.

Here is an easy to follow infographic filled with 4 easy ways to connect your classroom and participate in the #GRA18 this year! The event starts the first week of October and runs through mid-November.

Just click the image for a copy!

Copy of Global Read Aloud.png

Are you participating in the Global Read Aloud this year? Are you using technology to collaborate with a global audience?

Digital Hall Passes using QR Codes

This Fall, educators are doing everything they can to provide sanitized materials for our students. But what about those old, laminated bathroom passes or sign-out notebooks? If your students have access to a device that can scan QR codes you may want to consider using digital hall passes. Most all newer model SMARTphones, tablets and laptops are able to scan QR codes.

Why QR Code Hall Passes?

If students have access to a device with a QR code scanner, the codes allow students to quickly scan the code whenever they need to leave the classroom without touching a shared bathroom pass or notebook. This also creates a record system for the teacher by recording student activity using a spreadsheet.   The information may then be sorted and shared with parents, co-teachers or administrators as needed. This blog post also explains how to create a pre-filled link so even our youngest learners can scan a code with their names and destinations already selected for them.

Step 1: Create a Google Form

The first thing to do is create a Google Form. Go to and create a question for every QR code category that you would like to create. And, list student names as the answers to each question. Save yourself time by duplication each question and editing the destinations. Do NOT make answering the question a required action.

Example FORM with hall pass categories and student names.

Step 2: View Response Sheet

Once you are finished, click on View Response Sheet above. And select “View responses in Sheets”.

Step 3: Create a New Sheet Tab for Links

Open the Sheet and create a new Sheet tab for the links to the pre-filled responses you are about to create. Creating pre-filled Form responses will allow students to scan codes that already have their name and desired action selected. Use only 2 columns in this tab. One Column will be for the student links. One Column will be for descriptions.

You will want the final Sheet to look like this:

Example Sheet with Links

Step 4: Copy the Pre-Filled Links

Go into Google Forms and create the pre-filled link for each student response. In this example below, I am creating QR Codes for “Bathroom-Out” and “Bathroom-In” for Student 1.

Note: that if you are creating a generic numbering system instead of student names you will only have to do this once and not every new school year. Paste the link in the Sheet and make sure to add the description in Column B. Here’s a link to my Sheet for reference.

Step 5: Optional- Edit the link in Google Sheets to formResponses.

Now that we have the link, we are going to paste it into the Links tab in Google Sheets. But, we are going to edit the link and change it from “viewform” to read “formResponse”. This edit will allow students to Scan the code and automatically log their response. If you do not change from viewform to formResponse, students will see their names and the Form questions. It’s really a personal preference.

Step 6: Add QR Code Generator Add-On

Once you have finished copy, pasting and editing the codes, you will now add the QR Code Generator Add-On for Google Sheets. This allows you to highlight the URL for the Code, along with the student names, and create a printout of all the QR codes for your students. It’s pretty simple to use. Just go to Add-Ons, select “Get Add-ons” and add the QR Code Generator. (Note: The new update for QR Code generator requires you to only use 2 columns)

You will get a printout like this:

Step 7: Test your QR Codes

You now have a QR Code for every student. Try printing and scanning a QR Code and see if it works by logging the information into your form response tab in Google Sheets. When you scan the code it should timestamp the activity and place the student name in the appropriate column.

Example Form

Step 8: Distribute QR Codes

I used Google Slides to copy and paste the codes. Determine how you’d like to distribute codes to students. For example, do you want to laminate them and place them on their desks?

Step 9: Explain routine to students

You did it! Student QR Codes are ready to go and all student activity will be logged into Google Sheets. Now, explain the routine to students and you are ready to go!

Do you have a better system? I’d love to know!

10 iPad App Recommendations for Elementary Station Rotations/Centers

Many educators try to integrate technology into their station rotations. Yet, many popular applications may not allow students to unleash their creativity or demonstrate their learning. Sometimes it may be appropriate for students to simply consume information, but many educators may be unaware of applications that promote student productivity. There are so many FREE and inexpensive applications that enhance and redefine learning.

Why iPads?

If used correctly, iPads can not only promote creativity but also empower and engage students. Many applications provide a platform for students to share their ideas and creations with an authentic audience which then leads to increased motivation.

Rotation Stations/ Student Centers may include:

  • Creating videos
  • Screencasting
  • Creating animated presentations
  • Communicating using video response platforms
  • Maintaining digital portfolios
  • Providing feedback to classmates
  • Blogging
  • Goal Setting
  • Reflections
  • Formative assessments
  • Jigsawing ideas
  • Brainstorming
  • Revising and Editing

Do you need new ideas for your iPad stations?

Here are 10 amazing and apps that can be used for all content areas across the elementary curriculum. And, integrating these apps into your stations requires little to no preparation!

  1. Seesaw– Seesaw is a student-driven portfolio system that makes it incredibly easy to engage and empower students. Students can access teacher activities and notes, annotate images, create videos, blog, make screencasts, and give feedback to their classmates.
    • Center Ideas: Have students add artifacts to their portfolio, share their thinking about topics, comment on a classmates’ work, or complete a shared activity.
  2. Flipgrid– Flipgrid is an educational video response platform used by millions of educators across the world. Students may create a video in response to any topic and then reply to their classmates’ responses. The stickers and social media features truly engage students.
    • Center Ideas: Have students share their thinking about any topic. Or, add a topic directly from the Discovery Library into your classroom. When students are finished responding they may reply to their classmates’ ideas.
  3. Explain Everything– Explain Everything allows students and teachers to collaborate and create presentations that show their ideas. Presentations may include text, audio, video, and images.
    • Center Ideas: Students collaborate and create a presentation to demonstrate their understanding of an important concept.
  4. Book Creator– Book Creator as a wonderful app for student creativity. Students may add images, audio, text, and video to create a variety of books, manuals, portfolios, reports, or comics.
    • Center Idea: Students create a short book or comic strip about a topic to demonstrate understanding.
  5. Sock Puppets : Sock Puppets allows you to create your own video while syncing your voice to an adorable sock puppet. Add images and scenery from the gallery or import your own!
    • Center Idea: Student creates a short video explaining a topic, reviewing a book, or sharing an idea.
  6. iMovie Book Trailer: iMovie’s Book Trailer feature allows students to create short trailers just like you would see in the movies. Students may add images, narration and animations to their trailers.
    • Center Idea: Students may summarize a book they read, retell stories and share ideas about any topic by creating these fun trailers!
  7. Doink: Doink allows student creativity to reach new heights as they record short video clips while using a green screen.
    • Center Ideas: Record a news broadcast using a content related photo as a backdrop. Or, students can illustrate their own backdrops using art supplies and then take a digital photograph of their work.
  8. Shadow Puppet EDU– Even Kindergarten students can easily create a video using Shadow Puppet EDU! Students import photographs , record voiceovers, and add text that they may interact with while recording!
    • Center Ideas: Create a video sharing your ideas about a topic.
  9. Google Slides– Google Slides allows students to create and collaborate on a slideshow by adding text, video, images, and animations.
    • Center Idea: Create a slideshow about a concept learned in class. Or, collaborate on a slideshow as a class to jigsaw ideas or use as a formative assessment.
  10. Google Keep- Google Keep allows students collaborate while adding ideas or annotating images on a virtual sticky note. Students may add audio to share their thinking and a transcript will be provided.
    • Center Idea: Take a photograph of an assignment and annotate the image to show corrections. Then, use the audio tool to record your thinking. Edit the transcript to practice revising work.

But, how do students share what they create?

There are also many applications that will allow students to share their work. Some popular applications include Google Drive, Seesaw, Padlet, or Google Classroom. Of course, students can share all G Suite for Education apps simply by clicking the SHARE button.

In Summary

If you have access to iPads in your school you are extremely fortunate. There are hundreds of applications out there that will promote creativity and productivity. The next time you plan a center consider selecting an application that will allow students not only to learn, but also to demonstrate and share knowledge. And, as long as the app has been approved for student use, don’t be afraid to give it a go even if you don’t feel like you are an expert user. The students will show you how it’s done!

How do you integrate iPads into your student centers?



Do Your BookSnaps Seem Flat or Disorganized? Spice Up and Organize BookSnaps Using Google Drawings while adding GIFs, Bitmojis, and Word Art to Code Text!

What are BookSnaps?

BookSnaps is a term used for annotated digital snapshots taken by students while reading texts. Popular apps for BookSnaps include SnapChat, Seesaw, Instagram, and Explain Everything. Tara Martin is one popular educator credited for coining the phrase “BookSnaps” and sharing her fabulous BookSnap ideas all over Social Media.

Do your BookSnaps seem flat or disorganized?

Use Google Drawings to help students stay organized while promoting creativity!  Use animated GIFs from Sticky Al app, or add images using Google Search or the Bitmoji Chrome Extension. And, don’t forget how simple it is to use Word Art to code the Text! Or, if you have never created BookSnaps, consider starting your journey using Google Drawings!

Google Drawings is my favorite tool for a number of reasons:

  1. Students may collaborate on BookSnaps using the Share Tool.
  2. Students may provide and receive feedback using the Comment Tool.
  3. Google Drawings saves in the Cloud.
  4. Students may use the Explore Tool to locate images and research topics.
  5. A Key for coding the text can be provided in the margin or “gutter”.
  6. Bitmojis are easily integrated using Chrome Extensions.
  7. Insert animated GIFs or captioned student-created images Using Sticky Al App.
  8. Students can use the Screencastify Extension to explain and record thinking about their BookSnaps.
  9. Students can “Turn In” their work using Google Classroom.
  10. Teachers can “Make a Copy” of a template for every student or differentiate by modifying templates to meet individual needs.

Example BookSnap With ANIMATED GIF! Click Image to View

Screenshot 2017-10-11 at 6.53.47 PM

Student Created Stickers for Annotating Text

Students may create their own images  or ANIMATED GIFs by using the amazing FREE apps such as Sticky Al. Sticky Al allows students to create their own selfie-stickers and GIFs that may be used with Google Drawings by:

  1. Using the Free Sticky Al on iPad to take photos using various facial expressions and gestures to use in the reading responses. (I recommend students model being surprised, angry, sad, happy, confused, and also using hand gestures. Then add fun labels to express the thoughts.)
  2. Uploading images into Google Drive and placing them in a folder. Students may now use the images for the rest of the year. They would only have to do this once!

Go to Insert-Image to locate student-created images and insert them to BookSnaps.


You can even caption the images or customize animated GIFs right in the Sticky Al App! Awesome!


Google Drawings BookSnap Template (Click and Make a Copy)

booksnaps template

Here is a template you may wish to use with students.  I provided the Bitmojis for my students using the Chrome Extension as they are too young to have their own Bitmoji accounts. I would provide both male and female Bitmojis so students may select the desired gender. But, ultimately, student-created images using the Sticky Al app would be the way to go! Click the image above to create your own copy and modify as needed.

Video Tutorial


In Summary, I think Google Drawings allows teachers and students to stay highly organized by inserting a coding key and distributing assignments using Google Classroom. The ability to work in the Cloud while collaborating with group members is also a key to engaging students. Immediate feedback using the Commenting Tool is surely a way to allow students to revise and reflect with peers and educators. Throw in some animated student-created GIFs and Bitmojis and you have a winner!