The making of the 12 Days of Christmas – or why OneNote is awesome for planning

I was talking to a friend of mine yesterday and he asked me where the idea for my 12 days of Christmas blog series came from and just how much planning went into it. After I told him, and showed him my OneNote planning page, he said that I should really share it. So here it is!


I like my gadgets, especially if I can use them for education, and I like to think that I’m good at narrowing down the options to the one or two that could be useful. I also like to think I now have a pretty slick set of gear that is my tech kit bag. The idea was running around my head from about mid December to write a blog post on this, but I just couldn’t get away from the fact it was going to be huge! So why write one article when you can write twelve!

It was the morning of 19 December that it all came together. Frederick, my seven month old son was up very early, so I took him downstairs to give my wife some more sleep. After giving him some breakfast, he curled up on my lap and went to sleep – and I jotted down all my thoughts and ideas on my Surface Pro 3.



This really exemplifies why I like OneNote so much – I could hardly move because Frederick was asleep, but I effectively had an unlimited piece of paper to draw to articulate my thoughts. Printed out, this would be poster sized!  I was also not limited to linear, typed input – I could work around the plan, adding things and moving things as I documented all my thoughts. Colour coding and highlighting was also key to the clear plan. The plan also uses the zoom and pan note taking method that I wrote about in my November 11 blog, allowing the satellite view of the whole series, but zooming into the detail of each article.

Following this plan, I also made the decision to make video content for each article – and because I had the broad plan documented, thinking about and planning each video episode was an easy task. This was not dissimilar to the planning that we do for each of our lessons when looking at a unit of work.

As a final note, I didn’t follow the plan in it documented form – it changed and morphed as I went through the series, just like our lessons in any unit of work do!

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