Let's face it - technology is here to stay. It's a great way to enrich our students' learning and can also help us stay organised better than ever before. Instead of tracking all of your curriculum outcomes (or standards), plans, and to-dos on sticky notes and heavy paper planners, it's time to switch to a digital teacher planner once and for all.
We’re partial about one in particular, so keep scrolling!
Back when I was a kid, I remember my teacher having one of those old-fashioned teacher plan books and grade books. Today, many teachers still rely on bulky teacher binders to help them manage their lessons and to-do list. Although they work, it's like heading to your teacher collaboration meetings with a suitcase full of luggage.
Instead of flipping through pages, notepads, and sticky notes, the right digital teacher planner has everything in one place! This post will help you find the best digital teacher planner to help you streamline and simplify your planning once and for all.
What is a digital teacher planner?
A digital teacher planner is a way to help busy teachers take the million and one things off their mental to-do list.
Most digital teacher planners allow you to keep track of your lesson plans, materials, and assessments in one place. Since they're digital, it's easy to follow the links in your plan to any videos, tools, or resources you need for instruction. They're powerful tools for upgrading and simplifying teacher planning.
Types of Digital Teacher Planners
Although digital planning is an upgrade and a huge timesaver compared to using a paper planner, it's just the first step in the evolution.
Editable Teacher Planners
Many digital teacher planners are simply online versions of paper planners. They often even look just like the printed planners but include editable weekly planner pages so you can see your weekly spreads at once.
Some include digital stickers to replicate paper planning and they may integrate with calendar apps or an online grade book.
Although these are a good start and an improvement over the ol’ paper and pencil, these are too rudimentary to really cover everything you need. You still have to hunt down instructional materials, videos, and resources. Every morning, you’ll have to reset your classroom to restart your daily routines, wasting precious time and energy.
Lesson Planning Software
The next evolution in teacher planners includes lesson planning software. These are a more comprehensive option as they allow you to plan for individual lessons or entire units. They are popular with the middle and high school teacher crowd as they make it easy to plan for multiple subjects at a time.
You can create and reuse your own lesson plan templates and add links to videos or digital tools for easy access.
However, even the best online lesson planner requires you to click in and out of your platform to access your resources. Sure, you can track your digital lesson plans, but what about finding the perfect instructional video or activity? Plus, many of these programs are clunky, unattractive, and definitely not intuitive.
Which digital teacher planner is best for elementary teachers?
Most online planing programs miss the mark for elementary teachers because we typically have the same group of kids all day. We need to visualise multiple subjects throughout the course of the day and manage daily routines like morning meetings, calendar, small groups, and more.
To really teach effectively, you’ll still need to set up and maintain daily slides, find instructional materials, scroll through YouTube for appropriate videos, and more. Friend, this is still way too many tabs open!
The best digital teacher planner for elementary teachers is called The Hive. It’s a one stop teacher planner that includes a powerful visual lesson planning tool, video resources, interactive apps, thousands of instructional resources, and more. It's like an online planning template, teaching resource subscription account, YouTube, and Google Slides all in one place!
Meet The Hive
Teaching is an incredibly hard job that requires our brains to switch tasks constantly. We deserve something seamless, something that manages everything in one place so we can spend more time with our students and less time trying to find that paper or that link.
As a former teacher and Assistant Principal, I know exactly what teachers need. I know how teachers spend their time because I've done it myself!
Before I started creating my own instructional resources, I was wasting precious hours of my day trying to piecemeal together the resources and tools I needed for my students.
I'd set up a Google Slides presentation with my welcome message, morning work, morning meeting prompts, lesson materials, and more. I'd also have a tab open to take attendance, another for brain breaks, another for a video from the curriculum etc.
It was exhausting and draining. Isn't technology supposed to help make our jobs easier?
It got to the point that I realised if I couldn't find it, I had to build it myself!
Fortunately, my husband Jez is a true tech wizard. He heard what I was saying and together we created The Hive.
What is The Hive?
The Hive is an all-in-one online lesson planning program for elementary teachers. It manages your lessons, schedule, daily slides, and frequently used resources all in one spot. It's a comprehensive, customizable visual scheduling platform to help you track your lessons and small groups each day.
On the surface level, The Hive looks like a really fancy slideshow program. When you log in, you see a Daily Slides section with sections for pinned apps, videos, links, and the date and time below all colored in calming pastel shades.
Don't let this organised dashboard fool you! The Hive is loaded with resources and tools to take your lesson planning to the next level.
What's included in The Hive?
There's so much to unpack with this program! Let's break it down tool by tool.
1. Daily Slides
See ya, Google Slides! With The Hive's Daily Slides, you can create your own templates (or borrow mine!) for your daily greeting, morning meeting, daily routines, and more. Friends, this is teaching the easy way!
There is a bank of ready-to-use slide templates you can add with just one click, including:
- Daily snapshot with the date, month, and weather
- Days of the week
- Daily affirmations
- Discussion prompts and games
Not a fan of these or need your own? You can also customise blank pages and embed timers, class lists, the student group maker, and more!
Find out more about our Daily Slides here:
2. Customisable Visual Timetable
Create a visual timetable to help you and your students keep track of each lesson and block of time. So many students benefit from a visual schedule and let's be honest, so do teachers!'
The Timetable feature allows you to "schedule" each of the lessons and blocks of time for your class. You can even adjust the schedule each day to accommodate early dismissals and special events.
The great thing about this feature is that it shows the class schedule as a checklist on the dashboard, meaning you can use this instead of maintaining a physical daily schedule. Once you’ve finished a lesson, check the box and move to the next!
And, one of our favourite features of all? The ability to add multiple links to each section of your timetable! You will have EVERYTHING that you need for each lesson at your fingertips.
Find out more about The Hive's Visual Timetable here:
3. Monthly Calendar
This is my favourite part of The Hive! The Timetable feature is a great way to build the basic structure of your daily lesson plans, but The Calendar is like the planning pages. You can create specific slides and timetables for each day, week, lesson, different subject areas, and more. You can also copy these across to the following week/fortnight/month, to save you valuable time!
Then, when you log in, you won't have to scroll through pages of old slides or notes to find your lesson: everything will be pulled up and ready to go.
Especially since primary school teachers typically follow set routines each day, it's easy to copy your plans from yesterday or even last month and tweak them as needed. You'll be able to get a head start planning for upcoming weeks and put the work you've already done to use again.
This makes your mornings way easier so you can start each day feeling focused and ready!
Find out more about the Hive Calendar here:
4. Pinned Apps
Before The Hive, I always kept a tab open with a video timer. So many students benefit from visual timers and I relied on a free YouTube video every day for years!
You can pin a variety of apps to your dashboard, including:
- Visual timer or stopwatch
- Roll call to take attendance
- Student picker or student grouper
- Our interactive word builder to develop phonemic awareness (the best sound boxes ever)
- Easy-access math manipulatives, including popsicle sticks, teddy bear counters, base ten blocks, ten frames, dice, and more
These are ideal for supporting literacy and math throughout the day and will become essential practices in your daily routines. Imagine how much your kids will learn this year when you implement these tools in your math meeting or literacy section each day!
Find out more about The Hive's growing Apps library here:
5. Pinned Videos
If you've been following me for a while, you know I love to create resources and materials to help teachers address teaching outcomes with ease. Well, we've been busy creating a digital video bank to help you teach and reinforce these crucial concepts with one click!
There are dozens and dozens of videos for you to choose from (and a handy search function to make it easy to find exactly what you need). Here are some examples:
- Literacy activities (counting syllables, CVC sorts, identifying beginning sounds)
- Writing lessons (describe a setting, word choice, parts of speech)
- Math lessons (addition, subtraction, geometry, measurements)
- Social-emotional learning resources (breathing techniques, discussion prompts, kindness lessons)
Instead of scouring YouTube or creating these lessons yourself, you can simply use this incredible bank of resources at any point during the day.
Find out more about The Hive's growing Video Library here:
If you love the idea of one-click videos, you'll love the Resources section of The Hive! Included in your The Hive subscription is access to hundreds of great resources. It's like your own personal teaching subscription or TeachersPayTeachers account, with everything that you need!
Although many resources are included with the basic membership, The Hive Unlimited includes thousands of evidence-based instructional resources and all of my classroom decor packs! We will continue to create more and more quality resources only available within The Hive.
Find out more about The Hive's Resource Library here:
More Features in The Hive
Pinned Links – Although we've tried to make The Hive as comprehensive as possible, we know there are still times you'll need to click out of it in your day!
Pin your most commonly used links directly to your dashboard to access them any time. This is perfect for GoNoodle or linking to curriculum sites.
Clock & calendar - The clock and calendar are embedded into the dashboard, meaning your students can see the time, day of the week, and formal date any second of the day.
Now, you no longer need to write the date on the board or change the day of the week on your wall. I know this seems like a small thing, but all of these little to-dos add up!
Is The Hive worth it?
I know that it's hard to think about adding another thing to your plate as a teacher. We're so used to schools adding another initiative or program to our already full plates.
The Hive is not just another thing. The Hive is for you.
When you are at your best, your students will achieve and surpass their goals. You deserve better than clicking between 15 tabs every day and rifling through handwritten notes and notepads.
The Hive is a way to not only keep track of upcoming lessons, but it's also a time saver. We don't want you to have to waste time hunting for resources and tools you still have to tweak to make them work. The Hive will allow you more time to focus on what really matters: teaching.
How much would you pay to feel more present and focused in the classroom? For the price of a couple of coffees per month, The Hive can help you teach with less stress. You’ll be able to shrink your to-do list, get organized, and find the exact tool you need within moments. It's a game changer and may even help you stay in the classroom longer.
I wish I had this tool when I was in the classroom, and I truly believe it will help so many teachers keep their passion for education strong!
What is the best digital planner for teachers?
The best planner for elementary teachers is a membership to The Hive. It's more than just a digital lesson planner, although it has a powerful, customizable visual scheduling tool. It also allows you to create daily slides to systematize your classroom routines and includes reusable digital products, like apps to build literacy and math fluency, dozens of video lessons, and thousands of evidence-based instructional resources.
The Hive is like having a helpful, super-organized co-teacher who sets up the things you need for you. This is truly the definition of working smarter, not harder.
How do you use a digital teacher planner?
The Hive online lesson planning platform is an intuitive all-in-one replacement of the traditional planner. You can click around to explore its many features and resources or simply watch these video tutorials to learn exactly how it works step-by-step.
If you’re ready to upgrade your teaching practice this year, join The Hive!