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Thankful Thursday.... - Random babblings of a fiber-obsessed nutcase

About Thankful Thursday....

Previous Entry Thankful Thursday.... Apr. 12th, 2012 @ 09:43 am Next Entry
1. Mike and Skeeter and #5 showed up at 9:20 (won THAT bet!), ready to work. They have the j-channel, the light switch, and....stuff. I wrote him a check to cover it (I had been refunded the original j-channel, so this was just repayment), and they are *working*. The dogs went nuts, but are now snoozing, jerking whenever someone uses a hammer or saw.

2. My kids, who are currently working on something TOGETHER in Scratch. Happily. I am....astounded. :lol:


And, since Anna *gently* reminded me I hadn't linked it: PlanBook. I LOVE it - it's easy to use. And to customize - it comes with 6 boxes for the teacher to put info in; you can change the Names to make it work in your situation. I use 3 boxes: Classwork (for combined classes), Herself, and Himself. You can print reports by day or week or month (I use week); I print 1 with everything on it for me, then the kids each get one with Classwork and their box checked. That way, we all know what we need to do each day (or...we all WOULD, if the kids would just LOOK at their schedule. Ah, well....:lol:)

I'm still looking for a fantastic gradebook. I currently use GradeKeeper (no link, because I don't *love* it. Sorry) - it works, but...you have to have a separate file for each class, and you have to input all the details for each grade. It's....cumbersome. Works, but...not as intuitive as it could be. And it won't do a transcript. (Important if you have college-bound kids.)

The program I was beta-testing....just released an upgrade. I......I have to be honest. I do NOT like it. The original beta was very cumbersome, not intuitive, not user-friendly. I offered suggestions (and I was nice, honest!) - I told them up front that I used PlanBook, and liked the calendar interface; I just wanted an integrated gradebook.

The first release....sucked. Sorry, but...it did. You had to put in your entire year's worth of lesson plans at one time (because, while you *could* add to it, it wasn't very easy); the plans were in grid form, not calendar form, and you had to drag the assignments to the proper slot. NO dates - just a grid. :ick:

The new one....same thing, only now you have a calendar to drag the assignments to. I.....don't work like that. I CAN'T plan out a year in advance in EVERY subject; it just doesn't work that way for me.

I have reading schedules for most of our textbooks. (Found them online for free). What I do.....I sit down at PlanBook, with all my reading schedules (in a HUGE binder, so I have the binder on the desk in front of me) and the other books we use. I go week-by-week, and type in the pages/activities we'll do each day. I do it 1 subject at a time, at about 8 weeks at a time. With the calendar view that you type in, it's easy and fast to do it this way - I can do 8+ weeks in about an hour - hour and a half, depending on how many books I have to flip thru.

With the beta program, it took me more than 1 hour PER SUBJECT to set up the lesson plans. Then it took another 2 or 3 hours to drag the assignments to the grid (and you have to do EACH KID separately. PlanBook - combined classes are done in 1 pass. Easy-peasy!) - and I kept screwing up, because it's hard to know which assignment has already been put on the grid and which hasn't. It was an exercise in frustration......and inputting grades wasn't that much easier. (I do like that the assignments flowed to the gradebook portion....but they flowed with no dates, so if I didn't do them promptly, I didn't know which grade went with which assignment. Seriously, that's a flaw - I don't input grades weekly; I have a paper gradebook I track them in weekly, then I sit down 1x/term or so to input them. Since I keep them by date, it's easy.)

Oh, and if you wanted to cancel school 1 day, because a fantastic Field Trip came up...in PlanBook, you can "bump" the assignments to the next day. In the beta program, you couldn't - you had to RE-DO the entire rest of the term, because...well, you just did. (I don't know if that problem was addressed in the latest release, because once I saw that it was the same assignment input, I closed it.)

PlanBook also allows you to save assignments to your Library - like, Bible readings. They repeat year after year (if you follow the Torah Portions, that is); once they're set up and saved, I don't have to re-type ever again. Just click and drag when I come back to them next year.

I really wanted to like the beta-program, and I DID give it a fair shake. I just....I like easy. It wasn't - and doesn't look like it is now, either.

Anyway, I need to figure out what we're going to watch once Scratch is done......I'm thinking Shakespeare. Maybe. Might be difficult, what with the LOUD RADIO in the garage, and all the banging and sawing going on. Not complaining - I want my room DONE!

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