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How to Create and Submit a Lesson Plan

You will need to have previously set up an account on ALEX in order to create a lesson plan (see "How to set up an account" in the Help section of the website.)

1. Go to www.alex.state.al.us and click "Login" on the left side at the top of the list of buttons. Enter your username and password on the next screen, then click the "Login" button. Click on "Personal Workspace" on the left side of the screen.

2. You should now see your Personal Workspace area. You will know you are logged in correctly if there is a greeting at the top of the page that says, "Welcome to your personal workspace," along with your name. (Notice that the word "Login" is no longer in the list on the left of the screen and the word "Logout" now appears. This word will appear throughout the ALEX website to indicate that you are still logged in. You should click that button and "logout" each time you are finished working if you are at a computer that is shared with other people. Otherwise, the computer will remember your account and bring it up each time ALEX is visited. Other people using the same computer might gain access to your Personal Workspace.)

3. Click on "Create a Lesson Plan." You will be taken to the lesson plan builder screen.

4. Read the information at the top and click on "Click here" to see the rubric that will be used to evaluate lesson plans submitted for inclusion in the public lesson plan library of ALEX. You may create lesson plans for your own personal use without submitting them to ALEX for public access.

5. Required fields are indicated by an *. The system will require you to enter text in these fields.

6. Enter a title for the lesson plan in the first field. This can be plain or "catchy." Enter an overview of the lesson plan in the next field. Give enough key information about what the lesson plan covers so that someone searching by keyword would find your lesson plan.

7. Lesson plans in ALEX are aligned to the Alabama Course of Study content standards for search purposes. Click on the "Search for Standards" button to find a content standard to which your lesson will be tied. The "Search the Courses of Study" screen will appear next. Indicate the subject and grade level (you can choose more than one) of the content standard(s) you are targeting, then click the "Display Results" button. [NOTE: If you specify a subject and/or grade that have specific courses associated with them, another box will appear with a listing of courses from which to choose. You may also enter a keyword if you have a very specific content standard in mind.]

8. ALEX will search for all of the content standards associated with the particular subject, grade level, course, or keyword that you chose. This may take a minute. The progress bar at the bottom of your browser window will indicate that the search is in progress.

9. When content standards are displayed on the next screen, you may choose one or more by clicking in the small box to the left of each content standard where it says, "Associate Standard." When you have marked all applicable standards, scroll to the top or the bottom of the screen and click the "Save Associated Standards" button.

10. You will be taken back to the lesson plan template, and the standard you selected will appear next to "Content Standard(s)" right below the "Overview/Annotation" field.

11. Continue to fill in the remaining fields. Be sure to spell check each one for errors. If you have questions as to what information is being requested, read the annotation next to each field or click the "More Details" link, if applicable.

12. Next to "Total Duration," click and hold down the mouse button on the bar with the down arrow to drop down a choice of approximate time requirements for the lesson. Move your cursor down the list to highlight the correct time period, then release the mouse button to select your choice.

13. In the "Procedures/Activities" field, clicking the "Add Steps" button will take you to a new screen. Before clicking here, it would be a good idea to save your work up to this point. Click the "Save Changes and Continue Working on Current Screen" button at the top or the bottom of the screen.

14. On the "Add Step" screen you will begin outlining the steps for the teacher to follow in teaching the lesson. The software will number the steps automatically, so do not number your steps. After typing a step in the top field, click the "Save" button at the top of the screen.

You may associate an Internet website with any step by including the next three fields before saving the step. [Please include the title of the website, the URL, or address, including http:// , and a short description of the website or specifically the information it contains that would be useful for this lesson.] The best method for getting the URL is to open a new window within your browser (Go the "File" menu and choose "New" and "Window"), find the desired website, then copy and paste the complete address from the address bar at the top of your browser window into the appropriate field within ALEX.

To reorder the steps once they have been saved, click the small up or down arrow in front of the step to move it up or down. The system will automatically renumber the steps.

To edit a step, click the word "Edit" in front of the step you want to edit. The text you had previously entered for that step will reappear in the step description box. From there you can change it in any way you wish. Be sure to click the "Save" button after you change a step.

To delete a step, click the word "Delete" in front of the step you want to delete. A popup message will ask you to confirm the deletion by clicking "OK." The steps will automatically be renumbered after the deletion, if needed.

15. When you have finished entering all of your steps, you may upload any attachments you want to include which are pertinent to the lesson, such as study sheets, worksheets, tests, handouts, slideshow presentations, etc. These can be in file formats such as Word, PowerPoint, Adobe Acrobat (.pdf), and common graphic formats such as JPEGs and GIFs.

[Macintosh users: please add the three-letter file extension to the title of each of the files so they can be opened by the corresponding Windows application. For example, title a file created in Word "attachment.doc", or one created in PowerPoint "attachment.ppt." Title a JPEG file "attachment.jpg", an Adobe Acrobat file "attachment.pdf", etc. (Use any appropriate name in front of the period and three-letter file extension.) If uploading AppleWorks files, please include the .cwk file extension and also save a duplicate file in Word format and upload both files.]

To upload an attachment: On the "Add Steps" screen, click on the words:
"Click here to upload or view attachments" directly below the step description field. Click the "Browse" button to bring up the file dialog box for your hard drive. Navigate through the files until you can see the file on your computer that you want to upload. Double-click on the file name. You will be taken back to the attachment upload screen. Notice that the name of your file, along with the file path, now shows in the box in front of the "Browse" button. If this is the correct file, click the "Upload" button. You will then see your file listed below the "Upload" button. This indicates you have successfully uploaded the file to ALEX. Repeat the process if you have more than one file to attach. Should you later decide you do not want to include an attachment, you can click in the small box in front of the file name, then click the "Delete" button, to remove the file from the ALEX database. When you finish uploading all needed files, click the "Close" button to close the attachment window.

16. If you have entered and saved all your steps (you can see them all listed at the top of the screen next to the words "Current Steps"), URLs, and attachments, click the "Return to Lesson Plan Without Saving" button. This merely means you have nothing currently in the step description box that hasn't already been saved. Then click the OK button in the popup window to return to the beginning screen of the lesson plan template.

17. Upon completion of the lesson plan, click the "Save Changes and Exit" button at either the top or the bottom of the screen to return to your Personal Workspace. You will now see an entry next to "Current Plans" with the title you gave this lesson plan.

18. In the future should you wish to add to or edit this lesson plan, click the word "Edit" next to the title of the lesson plan. To view and/or print the complete lesson plan, click the word "View." You can print directly from the "File" menu of your web browser.

19. To save the lesson plan to your hard drive, go to the browser "File" menu, chose "Save As…," then click "Save." NOTE: To create an editable version of the lesson plan on your hard drive, you have several options. In the "Save" dialog box that appears, you may wish to rename the lesson plan, then in the "Save as type" box; click the down arrow6 to see a list of choices of file types. The .txt file type is most universal, but it loses some of the formatting. Later versions of Internet Explorer let you save as .mht, which creates a single HTML file that retains all of the graphics and format. Another option under the "File" menu of the latest versions of Internet Explorer is "Edit with Microsoft Word." Choosing this option opens the lesson plan in Word, where you can quickly and easily remove the graphics, if desired, edit, and print.

20. Click the word "Submit" next to the title of your lesson plan in the Personal Workspace area to submit your lesson plan to ALEX for possible inclusion in the public lesson plan library. (Please click the words "Submission Policy" and read before submitting.) You can also delete any unwanted plans from this same screen by clicking the word "Delete" next to the title of the plan.

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