How to use Google's 2009-2010 School Calendar template

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Get Ready for Next School Year with the 2009-2010 Calendar Template for Google Docs

Before the new academic year begins, schools diligently work on completing the school’s yearly calendar. The school’s calendar lists all the events it anticipates to take place during the coming year like exams, festivals, PTA meetings, football games, spring break, etc. Even though dates can be subject to change depending on changing circumstances, a well-planned out calendar will ensure smooth scheduling of the school’s activities and immensely help both schools and parents alike.

School calendars are mostly developed in spreadsheets and distributed by providing copies to the recipients. But if Google docs are used to create school calendars, both these aspects could change. Not only do Google docs provide additional tools for developing school calendars, but distribution channels like email and the web can change how parents access these calendars.

To create a calendar for the school year 2009-2010, we will use the 2009-2010 School Calendar template supplied by Google Docs. To access this template:

  1. Sign into your Google account and click Documents at the top.
  2. Select New> From template…
  3. Click Students & Teachers from under the Narrow by category sub-heading.
  4. You will be presented with a preview of some of the templates available under this category. Locate the 2009-2010 School Calendar template and click the Use this template button.
  5. A copy of the 2009-2010 School Calendar template will open in a new window with editing tools at the top.

You will see the entire year’s school calendar in spreadsheet form. The first spreadsheet is formatted for July 2009. To access another month’s calendar, click on the links at the bottom of the spreadsheet. You will see that common holidays are already filled in like 4th of July, United Nations Day, Thanksgiving, etc. Now to customize this template to reflect your school’s academic calendar, simply click inside the column beside the date and type the day’s events. With up to 5 rows provided for each date, you can easily record multiple activities for a single day. You have additional space at the end of each month for important reminders or anything else you want to record.

One innovative feature of Google spreadsheets is the use of rules. Rules allow the user to set conditions on the data entered or set up notifications for particular events. For example, let’s say you want to highlight the day of the PTA meeting so parent’s should not overlook it.

  1. Click and drag the mouse to select the entire month’s spreadsheet.
  2. Click Format>Change colors with rules…
  3. In the pop-up window, select text contains
  4. Type PTA in the textbox
  5. Select the Background checkbox and choose a color you want the cell to be highlighted with.
  6. Click the Save rules button.

As a result of this rule, anytime the word PTA appears in the spreadsheet, the cell is highlighted with the selected color making it hard to miss. You can apply multiple rules to a spreadsheet.

Another useful feature of Google Calendar template is the use of forms. Suppose your school has planned a field trip to the zoo and you wanted all the parents to sign consent forms. You can create a consent form, e-mail it to all the parents and view their responses, all in the same school calendar spreadsheet. To create a form:

  1. Click Form> Edit form

  2. A pop-up window will appear where you can create the form.

  3. Name your form in the first text box

  1. In the second text box write a description of the form’s intended use. This is optional

  2. From here on, you can design any questions you wish to ask. Click on the Add question button and select the type of question.

  3. Write your question in the text box provided and click Done.

  4. To change the theme of the form, click the Themes button at the top.

  5. Use the Email this form button to email the form to all recipients. They will get a link to the live form as well the simpler form in their email. They can submit their responses either way.

You can track the number of responses on the toolbar as well as by clicking Form> Edit form> See responses.

Another significant advantage of using the Google School Calendar template is the ease of distribution. You can invite parents to access the calendar by using Share>Invite people…. You can also send a link to all the parents by selecting Share>Get the link to share… You can even publish the calendar as a web page. With so many options, just think of the time and resources it can save. And by emailing parents of any changes in the calendar, everyone can stay updated.

Anyone who has used an electronic spreadsheet can use the Google School Calendar template to create and maintain the school’s yearly calendar. With so many benefits derived from a simple template, every school should explore the possibilities of utilizing a paperless alternative for communicating their yearly schedules with their student’s caregivers.