Ultimate Guide To Organizing Digital Files: Part 3 - Digitizing Lesson Plans

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Hello friends!

Welcome to the third and final installment of my series on organizing digital files. In part one I discussed how to use folders (and tags for those Mac folks) to help you easily find what you need, when you need it. In part two I talked through using cloud-based file storage, specifically Dropbox and Google Drive, to store your files. Today we're going to put these two together to learn how to digitize lesson plans and keep them tucked away all nice and neat where you can pull them up anytime, anywhere.

Earlier this year my administration started requiring all teachers to post weekly lesson plans. My husband, who is an English teacher, is also required to do this at his school. In both cases, Google Drive is the method of choice. The administration has created one folder that the entire school has access to. Within that there is a folder for each grade level/department and within each of those a folder for each teacher.

At first most of us moaned and groaned about having to do this, but in the end I'm happy we've been asked to do this. It's forced me develop a much more efficient system for creating and saving my plans without the hassle papers and binders. (If you're someone who needs to have a hard copy you can, of course, print everything and put it all in a binder to have on file.)

The perks of digital planning

  1. Create templates that you can easily duplicate and edit each week
  2. Compile song files, visuals, presentations, links, and any other digital resources for each lesson into one folder
  3. Easy to share with administration
  4. Quick to go back and edit without scribbling and making a mess of your original plan

What is looks like 

This is what the shared folder at my school looks like in Google Drive. The blue arrows point to the folder hierarchy. If you're using Dropbox you'll see something similar at the top. You could also make similar folders on your computer, but remember it will only be accessible on the device it is saved on.

Creating and Using Templates 

Note: This section will specifically talk about Google Docs. At the moment there is no way to create and edit documents within Dropbox, although it appears they are working on a feature called "Paper" that might allow you to do this. To learn more about the differences between Google Docs and Dropbox and to view tutorials on how to use each of them, check out part 2 of this series.

See? Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy! Now your lessons are all tucked away neatly in one place, easy to go back and edit, ready to share, and available on all your devices!

Thank you for joining me in this 3-part series about organizing your digital files. I hope it has been informative and you were able to learn something that will make your lesson planning a little bit easier in the future. Remember to check out part 1 and part 2 if you haven't done so already. 

Now it's your turn...

Do you already make and organize your lesson plans digitally? If so, what's your method? If not, does this change the way you think about your planning? Share in the comments and join the conversation!


  1. This is an excellent blog post. Although I use google drive all the time-my folders are not as organized. Great ideas to get me going on that. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Thanks, Sandra! Let me know how it works out for you!


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