11 Replies Latest reply on Dec 27, 2013 7:48 AM by cztech

    Calendar / multiple class lesson plans



      Calendar / multiple class lesson plans



                          I came across a thread referring to PhilModJunk's calendar layout, which caught my attention, because I'm trying to create a database that stores lesson plans, for multiple classes per day.

                          I've done this before, with a clunky 1-record-per-week calendar (approx 40 records to cover 180 school days, with "days off" in the school weeks), and separate layouts for each class, but it's gotten to the point where it's unwieldy now. I'm a "half-better-than-newbie" but haven't used scripts before except the "standard" quickie stuff (no calculations, variables). I can read a script and figure out what it's doing (I cut my teeth on computer programming back in the 70s, but that's about 3 lifetimes ago!)

                          How best can I utilize the calendar layout to insert (portal?) for each class (up to 7 classes per day)? My prior database used 7 layouts for 7 classes, 7 layouts for weekly (1 week per class) with additional data), and then 5 layouts (1 per day) to leave plans for a substitute teacher. This is where I realized a PORTAL would eliminate "sub plans MONDAY", "TUESDAY" etc.

                          Do I need to create a table with 180 records (1 per school day)?? How do I ensure that the records show in the correct "day" on the calendar?

                      I'm using FMP 12 Advanced.

                          As far as I can figure out, I'll need 180 records of lesson plans to fill in 180 school days, with multiple classes per record, each record with it's own date field?  Then I can set the relationship between the classes' DATE and the calendar DATE to display the right lessons on the right days

                          I was originally thinking I could use a combination of portals and tab-controls to make the viewing easier, fewer layouts to deal with, but not sure if this is the right tactic.

                          I believe I need at least 3 views/layouts:

                            1. Calendar view for the "big picture" planning and scheduling lessons for each class (I teach World Language levels 1-4).

                            2. Weekly view (per class) with more details, per school requirements (ie: ESOL strategies, differentiation, CCSS for ELA - new this year)

                            3. (?) a view to combine classes for a single day with extra notes to leave for a substitute (responsible students, where materials are kept, etc).

                          All suggestions greatly appreciated!!!  I procrastinated, knowing that it would take me a while to get this done, and now it's already 5 weeks into the school year!



        • 1. Re: Calendar / multiple class lesson plans

                    Do I need to create a table with 180 records (1 per school day)?? How do I ensure that the records show in the correct "day" on the calendar?

               You need more than that. You need one record for each subject that you teach for each school day in your school calendar. By labeling each such record by subject, you can then set up the portal's on the Layout to filter not just by date but also by a subject specified in a global field. Then you can select the month and the subject to see all the lesson plan record for that subject in that month.

          • 2. Re: Calendar / multiple class lesson plans

                 What I have so far...

                 I realized that my "plan" called for 7 tables (1 for each class period), with 180 records each.  I'm starting with CLASS 1.

                 I created the calendar layout with M-F, tab controls for 1, 2, 3 (I am actually teaching 3 subjects, some 2 or 3 time each day). This way, I can see on one layout multiple weeks (View -> List), and tab for the different levels (1, 2, 3).

                 I created portals for each day to view from the CLASS layout to the calendar layout, and created fields within each portal for MON, TUES, WEDS, etc.

                 I had it working (for a moment) but the Tab Controls weren't working right (want daily "word of the day" outside of the tab controls, so the same 5 fields shows each class), so I backtracked, fixed the first problem, and now the data for the first week is no longer showing via the portals on the calendar layout.  I would even "settle" for using the calendar layout to enter the data for each class, then goto the detailed "weekly" layout to add in the misc info the school wants.

                 For myself, I really just need to see the lesson/activity(s), and the resources (do I need to remember to photocopy handouts?)

                 I've tried revising the "relationships" between the calendar and the class, (both have "DATE"), but I'm failing, *AND*, I can't enter data from the calendar layout....shouldn't I be able to?

                 When I created the first incarnation of my "lesson plan database" I think I was on FMP v 3.0.  15 years ago, I could do this without much trouble, but I'm sure teaching makes you lose brain cells, if not your mind!


            • 3. Re: Calendar / multiple class lesson plans

                        I realized that my "plan" called for 7 tables (1 for each class period), with 180 records each.  I'm starting with CLASS 1.

                   No, you should have just 1 table for all 7 class periods. Use a field in the table to identify the period so that you can work with groups of records for a specific period, but you really, really don't want to use 7 separate tables for this data.

              • 4. Re: Calendar / multiple class lesson plans


                     Where am I going wrong with my portals and relationships?? On the first week on my calendar, I've entered 3 tab controls, and portals for each field (Activity) for each day (date) of the week. I have entered the field, using the relationship linking to CLASS 1 (I'll add fields for all 7 classes there plus an field to indicate which class), but nothing shows up on the calendar.  You can see the outline of the PORTAL, but not the outline of the fields that I've put into the first row. There IS data in the CLASS 1 table.

                     I'm stumped here. It's been ages (YEARS) since I've tackled FMP, And yes, I've gone thru a lot of the "knowledge base" and tutorials, but none seem to really give me a handle on what I need.

                • 5. Re: Calendar / multiple class lesson plans

                       I can't tell what are portals and what are fields on that screen shot. Can you upload a shot of what it looks like in layout mode?

                       There should be one portal for each day of the week.

                       And are you still using 7 separate tables for each period?

                  • 6. Re: Calendar / multiple class lesson plans

                         I haven't created more than one CLASS table yet (I was thinking, once I have 1 table set up, I could copy the fields to the next tables).

                         On my original DB, before the days of portals, I simply used fields like   ACTIVITY1m, ACTIVITY2m, ACTIVITY3m, etc. to cover each period (the number), and each day (the letter), and it was all on one main calendar, in separate fields. I would use 1 record per week, with EVERY FIELD in 1 single table.

                         Now that FMP has more abilities, and I need to revamp from 4 (block schedule) to 7, I wanted to start with a clean slate. There were fields in the old file that I don't even remember what they were for!!

                         The plan now was to use tab controls and portals to make it "cleaner" looking, and have the dates for the individual school days match the dates on the calendar layout.

                         Here's the screenshot of the layout.



                    • 7. Re: Calendar / multiple class lesson plans

                                (I was thinking, once I have 1 table set up, I could copy the fields to the next tables).

                           To repeat: DON'T do that. It will be much harder to work with. Keep all of this data in a single table.

                           Clearly, you have portals and an activity field from a related table on top of them. The alignment for the ::Activity field isn't exactly the same in each that could be the source of a problem.

                           As a small test, select each portal without selecting the activity field on top of it. With it selected, tap an arrow key to nudge it a few pixels. Does the activity field move with it? If not, the activity field is not correctly placed within the borders of the portal and is not "owned" by that portal and this can cause problems for the field/portal pair correctly displaying data. You may want to temporarily resize the field to be smaller and drag it to put it fully within the borders of the portal. Once it is "owned" by the portal, you can use the controls on the positition tab to align it and resize it to fit the limits of the one row portal.

                           If that's not the issue, you'll need to look at the relationship and the portal filter that you are using and the values of any match fields used in the relationship to see where the problem lies.

                      • 8. Re: Calendar / multiple class lesson plans

                             I'll work on it tonight... I'm pretty sure the FIRST "Activity" field is "owned" by its portal, but I'll follow your advice.  And yes, it will be easier to keep stuff in 1 table than having relationships all over the place, since that's part of what I'm having difficulties with! :)


                        • 9. Re: Calendar / multiple class lesson plans

                               OK... last questions here.  The portals and fields were aligned, with the fields "owned" by the portals.  So obviously something is wrong with my relationship(s) between the tables.

                               (1) Assuming I have a table called CLASSES, with 180+ records, HOW do I separate out the "level 2 class" from the "level 1 class" (to put in the correct tab controls? In the MAIN table, I have 7 coursecodes, 7 coursenames, and 7 fields for "level" (drop-down with value list 1, 2, 3, 4).  In the CLASSES table, I can designate fields for each course, with DATE as a "key" field, so I can link that table to the calendar (or other) tables/layouts.

                               (2) Problem I ran into before, and wound up "hard coding" the value lists for benchmarks into the calendar. For each day's lesson (and each class), I want a drop-down that lists all the state benchmarks for that class, so I can choose the correct one. How do I get that to work based on the class level. I'm sure there's a filter I need to do, is it actually a script or function??

                               I'm about ready to give up on this and go back to the clunky way I had it before, because I still can't get the portals and fields to behave properly!! With all the new, cool stuff in FMP 12 Advanced, there has to be a nicer way than I had it before!!!

                               Phil, you've been very patient to answer my questions, I'm just losing patience with myself, for something I used to be able to do in a day, it's taking me forever now!


                          • 10. Re: Calendar / multiple class lesson plans

                                 You are listing multiple issues. We need to tackle and resolve one at a time. Let's get data for one one class properly appearing in your calendar and then we can take a look at how to manage multiple subjects and the needed list of BenchMarks

                                 Would I be correct that the layout you have shown here is based on the Main Calendar Table Occurrence?

                                 If so, what is the purpose of Calendar Setup?

                                 And are the portals, portals to Classes or to Calendar Setup?

                                 Note that in the original calendar demo file there are two tables where you seem to have three. If there is no record in Calendar Setup with the correct values, nothing in Classes can appear in the portal on a Main Calendar layout.

                                 It looks like you need to remove the Calendar Setup table and link Classes directly to Main Calendar.

                            • 11. Re: Calendar / multiple class lesson plans

                                   Phil, et al:

                                   I've decided to go "back to basics" and start fresh.  I have identified 4 (or 5?) tables needed:

                                   1. Calendar

                                   2. Lessons (for each course x 180 days)

                                   3. World Language benchmarks (approx 330 across 4 levels)

                                   4. CCSS benchmarks (approx 35 total)

                                   (5. Global data (course IDs, CourseName, CourseLevel, School year StartDate, EndDate) )

                                   What I'd like to do, upon entering the data in the Global table is a basic script to generate the weeks/dates for the school year calendar.

                                   ** My problem: Since I first started using FMP for lesson plans, it was FMP 3, and I never did get "into" scripting, except very basics. No variables, etc.   I need: A basic script to take the StartDate and EndDate and generate the weeks for the school year.

                                   Then, I can create Lesson records in that table that include the date, and have portals in the Calendar table/layout to show the info I need. The Lesson records are housed in a different table, so I can include detailed data for each lesson. The 2 benchmark tables house different data.

                                   Then I need to make sure I have a DATE in the Lesson Plan that corresponds to a DATE on the calendar, so the correct data will display in the appropriate portal field.

                                   ** Am I on the right path? I'd rather start fresh than try to diddle with the database that had evolved from 10+ years ago and didn't have the tools and options that FMP 12 has -- and, ultimately, I'd like to be able to access via FM Go 12.