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Technology Tools for Calendaring
by Russell A. Sabella, Ph.D.

(Note: You may reporting and distribute as you like
with appropriate link above. Here is he PDF version.)

I have always been a strong believer in the expression that "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail." My experience as a school counselor and now a university professor have taught me that the educational setting is one that can be quite complicated, chaotic and unpredictable. Planning is a key to successfully accomplishing goals and getting results. Planning encompasses many things including creating a vision for where your plan will take you, leading others into joining the cause, developing strategy for most effectively getting results; prioritizing, coordinating resources (human, financial, and time), and much, much more. This column will look at one aspect of planning, the action of calendaring (i.e., the purposeful and systematic system of managing time and task for accomplishing an overall mission). technology can be very useful in helping the school counselor (or anyone, really) in developing comprehensive school counseling programs.

The ASCA Model™ tells us that once school counselors determine the amount of time to spend in each area of the delivery system, a master calendar and weekly calendars are developed and published to ensure that students, parents or guardians, teachers and administrators know what is scheduled. This will assist in planning and will ensure active participation in the program. Annual, monthly and weekly calendars ensure planned activities are accomplished. Further, the ASCA Model describes three types of calendars (pg. 57-58):

Annual Calendar. The yearly calendar is a way for school counselors to identify the school counseling program priorities and their commitment to them. Ideally, the calendar s located in several prominent places such as the department bulletin board, school or student bulletin boards, class- room bulletin boards, administrative offices, parent or guardian center, career center, student store and other sites used to communicate school events. It may also be submitted to the local newspaper, the student newspaper and the school counseling department’s website to increase the program’s visibility.

Monthly Calendar. The monthly calendar is maintained and circulated to highlight the specific activities and events for each month throughout the school year and into the summer. Print the monthly calendar in a distinctive color and distribute it to all teachers for their classroom bulletin boards. Be sure to remind teachers that they are invited to participate and to encourage student participation or observance of upcoming events. Mail the calendar to parents or guardians as well. Schedule classroom guidance lessons on a monthly basis, such as one grade level per month for four to six lessons.

Weekly Calendar. The weekly calendar is not a master schedule but a fluid road map that is somewhat flexible due to crisis or immediate student needs. In addition to class-room lessons, group counseling and individual planning, build in data analysis, collaboration and advocacy into the schedule to allow for some flexibility.

Your school or district may already have an online calendaring/event system which you use. Or, they may provide you with specific software (e.g., Microsoft Outlook) to get the job done. The remainder of this brief column is to increase your awareness of various technological tools to help you keep and appropriately publish your school counseling calendars ...

Microsoft Outlook Calendar

The Microsoft Outlook Calendar is actually part of Outlook, and entire PIM (personal information manager) that includes tasks, e-mail, notes, Journaling, and contacts. This is a very powerful tool that can help you accomplish all three levels of the calendars previously mentioned. In fact, the Outlook Calendar allows you to keep more than one calendar so you can have all three under the same system. Other features of Outlook that work well for a school counselor’s calendaring needs are its ability to:

  • share calendars with colleagues and assistants;
  • view your calendar and those of your colleagues side by side;
  • coordinate meetings by finding available times (of course, everyone needs to be using the calendar to do this);
  • publish parts or entire calendars online;
  • easily set up recurring appointments and reminders (e.g., remind yourself once a year to publish a document or call someone; remind yourself to call a parent every week for the next 3 weeks).

Here are some quick tips to get more out of your Outlook Calendar ...

Outlook 2003 Calendar FAQ (must see)

A comprehensive list of frequently asked questions and answers about Microsoft Outlook 2003 Calendar from the University of Tennessee.

Publish Your Outlook 2007 Calendar to the Web

Step by step instructions.

How do I publish my Outlook 2000 calendar as a Web page?

Microsoft Outlook 2003 tutorial (20 minutes)

Know the basic types of Outlook Calendar entries, book activities into your calendar efficiently, and stay on top of important dates with more advanced features such as recurrence and reminders. Also, click here for similar tutorials.

8 Tips To Make the Most of Microsoft Outlook

How much of your day is spent on e-mail? A study done by the ePolicy Institute found that the average worker spends a whopping one hour and 47 minutes a day on e-mail, but web workers often spend far more time than that on it. That’s why it makes sense to take a break from sending and receiving your e-missives and get to know some of the efficiency-boosting tips and tricks you can use. A couple of minutes spent studying these can make you faster, better organized and more productive.

Outlook 2003 Calendar and Meeting Help and Tips

Microsoft Outlook 2003's Calendar and Meeting / Appointment reminder tool. Tweaks, locale customizations, adding holidays, and more.

Sabella’s Outlook Tips Handout

Microsoft Outlook 2003 Courses

Google Calendar

Another option is to use the free and yet powerful Google Calendar. Features of this calendar include:

Gmail Integration. Gmail now recognizes when messages mention events, and you can add those events to your calendar with just a couple clicks.

Quick Add. Just click a spot on your calendar (or use the Quick Add link) and start typing to add a new event

Calendar Sharing. View calendars that others have shared with you, and let your friends and family see your agenda.

Invitations. Send invitations for any event on your calendar by adding guests

Reminders. Never forget another event again. You can even get reminders sent right to your mobile phone.

Search. Find the date of the classroom guidance you did on cyberbullying about 8 weeks ago. Or, search public calendars to discover new events you're interested in and add them to your own calendar.

Mobile Access. Receive event reminders and notifications on your mobile phone.

Event Publishing. Share your counseling program’s events with the world.

How do I sign up for my own Google Calendar?

If you already have a Google Account, just visit the Google Calendar homepage, enter your username and password, and click "Sign in." If you don't yet have an account, you can create one by clicking here. Note that when you open a Google account, you essentially gain access to all sorts of free Google services such as Google Groups, Google Product Search, Web History, iGoogle, and more. With a Google Account, you can also sign in to AdWords, AdSense, and Google Checkout. Creating a Google Account won't automatically give you a Google e-mail account or Gmail; creating a Gmail account allows you to access all of the above mentioned Google services and more with your Gmail login information. You can sign up Gmail account by clicking here).

Helpful Websites for Learning more about Google Calendar

From Google: Learn more about Google Calendar

Google Calendar Help Center

Google Calendar Tips

Everything from keyboard shortcuts to customized viewing.

Help people add your events to their Google Calendars

Got an event you'd like to have other people remember? Use the Remind Me with Google Calendar button. All you need to do is fill out the necessary fields and ta da! A block of HTML appears that you can include in your site or blog. The next time you get a visitor, they can just click on the "Remind Me" button to add your event to their Google Calendar.

Google Calendar: Share your events with an individual,
a group, or the whole world

Google Calendar makes it easy for you to share events and publish events and calendars on your website. If your website mentions events — including reservations, appointments, conferences and shows, Google Calendar can help your users find this information and easily add it to their own calendars. This guide explains all the options.

Yahoo! Calendar

Also know that you can do many of the same things with a Yahoo! account (see here).


Sunbird or Lightning

Yet another free and powerful option for calendaring comes from the Mozilla group and is called either Sunbird or Lightning.

What is the difference between Sunbird and Lightning?

Sunbird is a standalone calendar application. It doesn't need another client application to run at the cost of a larger download and higher memory requirements. Because of its standalone nature, Sunbird does not offer any kind of tight integration with an e-mail application, such as Mozilla Thunderbird. Lightning is a calendar extension for Mozilla Thunderbird (an e-mail application). It offers calendaring features directly in the Thunderbird User Interface. Further integration features, such as e-mail invites or address book integration are planned for future releases.

Which is right for me?

You may prefer Lightning if...

* you send or receive meeting invitations via e-mail

* you already use Mozilla Thunderbird for e-mail

* you customize your applications with add-ons (such as extensions or themes)

You may prefer Sunbird if...

* you prefer your calendar to be separate from your e-mail client

* you don't currently use Mozilla Thunderbird for your e-mail

* you don't like adding add-ons (such as extensions or themes) to your applications

Other Related Helpful Websites for Calendaring

The Printable CEO™ Series

The Printable CEO™ (PCEO) was born from a desire to focus my time more productively. For me, that means things that make my freelance practice sustainable and fun. The Printable CEO name comes from the idea that a good CEO should focus primarily on those things that move the company forward; since I can’t afford to hire my own CEO, being able to print one out seemed like the next best thing! :-) Here you’ll find a series of printable forms that help manage the day-to-day chore of achieving your goals.


Microsoft Office: Back to school templates including Calendars


Backpack Calendar (must see although not free)

The Backpack Calendar lets you keep your schedule online and accessible from any computer. Work, home, vacation — you can get to it from anywhere. You can even share calendars with other people using the iCalendar file format.


Time Management: Beat work overload. Increase your effectiveness. Achieve more.

This section of Mind Tools shows you how to use personal time management skills. These are the simple, practical techniques that have helped the leading people in business, sport and public service reach the pinnacles of their careers.


Time Management: Manage Yourself, Not Your Time


Managing Time Resources


New Mexico Comprehensive School Counseling Program Guide

Use of time with downloadable forms.


Online Calendar Creator


Apple’s iCal




Sabella & Associates, LLC 2013