Make planning easier with Google Sheets

Towards the beginning of each marking period, I like to make a rough outline of the entire quarter. This allows me to make sure I’m  spending the appropriate amount of time on each concept and that I’m able to space out assessments. For years, I struggled to come up with a planning calendar that was flexible, easy to use, fast, and accessible on any device. When I first started teaching, I planned on pen and paper, but this quickly became a mess as I tend to play around with different scenarios and adjust my lessons as needed. I tried Google Calendar, but the inability to change the default times to my bell schedule became frustrating. Next, I created tables in Google Docs, with each week being on a different page. This worked for a little while before the document became unbearably slow as it grew. I also had to keep resizing the text and the table to try to keep a week’s worth of lessons on one page. Then I made a planning calendar in Google Sheets and I’ve been using it ever since.

Creating a planning calendar in Google Sheets has all of these benefits:

  • It’s easy to share with colleagues
  • It’s flexible. I can add/delete rows and columns as needed.
  • I can hide old weeks without deleting them.
  • I can color code the calendar to help me visualize everything.
  • It’s fast. Even when I have my entire year filled in, the calendar still loads quickly.
  • I can access it on my laptop, iPad, or phone.

You can see what the calendar template looks like below.

And here is a filled in example for two weeks. In this example, I removed two of the periods and set it up for a rotate-drop schedule. I color coordinated the 7th and 8th-grade lessons along with the preps and duty period. Your formal lesson plans could be in a separate sheet of this file if you wanted to keep everything in one place.

Now that I have been using a planning calendar in Google Sheets for several years, it makes it much easier to refer back to what I’ve done in the past. I can also leave comments for myself as reminders of what worked well and what didn’t.

To access the planning calendar shown above, go here. If you are using a Google account, you can get your own copy by going to File > Make a copy.

If you have any questions about how to set up your calendar, feel free to add them as a comment below.