Microsoft OneNote – Teacher Planning – Part I


There are numerous ways in which Microsoft OneNote can be utilised in education. There are plenty of posts about the versatility of this software, and how it can be used.

This is a little different.

Obviously, one of those ways is for lesson planning and teacher organisation. Having a central place where lessons and units alike can be located and linked to within, with a seamless transition for the teacher to manage the learning and paperwork within their class.

It is all well and good knowing that OneNote can be that one place where this can happen; but the resounding question I always had was “How?”. How do you make it so that OneNote takes care of all your planning and paper-work.

Obviously the way teachers plan varies from teacher to teacher, and requirements for planning vary from school to school. There is no set requirements as such. Each teacher will have their way of creating their plans, and over the last few years I have explored many different options to find a method of planning that I can manage, that works for me, incompasses technology and, if possible, is void of paper.

Google Docs

Last year I utilised Google Sheets for my planning. Week plans, Overviews, etc all had their own sheet which was then duplicated as each week progressed. Each Term of the year had its own Google Sheet. Unit plans for the school had been converted into Google Docs for collaboration, but very few units required planning with other classes. It worked well, and is a system I am happy with and comfortable with.

One Note

Along came OneNote. I had heard a lot about it, but hadn’t looked much into it, as Microsoft had lost its way somewhat with its focus around Surface, Windows 8, after a somewhat rubbish MS Office 2008 and 2010. Luckily, 2013 has been much better, as has Windows 10, and the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book look the money as well.

So this year, I have been looking into how I can use Office 365 and of course OneNote as a way to organise the myriad of paperwork teachers encounter.

The most obvious way to begin was to tackle planning. But like many, that question of “How” lingered as I began to get to grips with the OneNote interface.

Then I saw this video. In it, the process for using OneNote for teaching and planning is outlined. Within 30 seconds, I had it full screen and was zooming in to see how her folders were arranged, and what pages she had added to each.

Over the next few weeks I developed this video into my own working templates, copying some layout features from the Google Docs I had set up last year. It took a little longer than I had planned, but hopefully set it up in such a way, that it will be robust enough to survive the year ahead without too many adaptations needing to be made.

To see how I did it, please continue to my next post – Microsoft OneNote – Teacher Planning – Part II