Remember that day when you woke up at 3 am sick as a dog (or maybe it was your child) and you knew that today just wasn’t your day already? Not only were you sick but you had left your classroom in complete dissaray the day before and were planning on heading in a bit early to get your copies for the day made? Yea, we have all been there! Today I want you to take an hour and plan out your Emergency Sub Plans because we all know the one that we threw together at the beginning of the school year isn’t necessarily the best.
The first step to havin a smooth transition into a day with a substitute, where planned or not, is to have a complete Substitute Folder. I’ve used many different “folders” in my time but I’ve found those that have multiple pockets to be the best for my classes. This way I can have each class information and work in their own pocket and things are just together. When you have multiple class periods, go through and label each pocket with the class period (I suggest using labels and not permanent markers for ease of changing next year when your schedule changes). Because I only had 7 class periods, I used the first pocket to keep a copy of my personal daily schedule, my rules, my discipline policy, and some paper for the sub to leave me notes.
In each of the pockets for the class periods I keep a copy of my roster, seating chart, notes about helpful students and those to keep an extra eye on, and then any other important notes for that class period (allergies, pull-outs, modifications/accommodations, etc.). After those items (easy to do on one sheet of paper and printed double-sided), I then kept copies of an assignment they could easily complete without much help from a substitute. This was because I never knew what I would get for a substitute since we weren’t able to request a sub and our pool seemed to continue to dwindle over the years.
I would update this over the course of the year about 4 times because what I would have for my students in the beginning of the year woudn’t be what I wanted them to work on later in the year in case of an emergency. I would simply file away the other items until the following year. You could also have four different folders prepped and then just have them accessible throughout the year as long as you keep your roster and seating chart updated.
I have also used a single folder before when I taught all of the same class. When I did this I kept my rosters, seating charts and procedures in one pocket and then copies of the days work in the other pocket. Most of the time when I had a substitute I only left a class set of materials and told her to make sure the students didn’t write on it but rather in their notebooks on a certain page or on notebook paper to turn in (for ability to check to see what they did or didn’t do).
Over the course of time I have not only created numerous resources that are perfect to leave with a substitute but I’ve also used several from friends of mine. Depending on what you are working on in class you may want to make sure you have several of these on hand for those days when you are out, or maybe you just need a break from constant talking.
Pirate Geometry is a perfect project to review Geometry skills for 4th-7th grade students. In this project based lesson students will have the task to create a pirate map that includes a point, four line segments, a perpendicular dock, an obtuse, acute and right angle along their path, parallel palm trees, intersection perpendicular lines, and four rays within given parameters.
Left, Right, Answer is an easy activity that you canhave prepared ahead of time for students to use with ANY set of Task Cards to review skills that you are learning. It is a spin-off of Left, Right, Center and makes answering questions a little more fun because it adds in a bit of chance of not having to answer the question. The things students don’t know if because they are working with their group and communicating, they are still doing the work!
Another great and engaging activity that you could easily incorporate into any class (because she has awesome templates as well) is the Brainy Day Relay by MissMathDork. Students are in groups and working together as a group to solve a problem and then based on answering correctly (checked by the substitute), one student then adds something to their collective drawing. These turn out so cute and sometimes HILARIOUS and are a great addition to your classroom decor.
And if using Math in Real Life wasn’t important, this bundle of In My Dreams Math Stories by Teaching Math by Hart are perfect for making students think about how to use math naturally in daiy life. The different activities in this bundle include Calculating Sales & Discounts, Calculating Deposits & Loans, Calculating Mortgages & Commission, Designing a Room on a Budget and Surviving on a Salary which are all defintiely things that students in middle school and high school need to get a grasp of before being thrown out into the real world.
I hope that these tips will help you as you prepare for the upcoming semester. We all know that being out of the classroom is not always planned or wanted but it happens. Heck, that is why they give us those days to use each year! So whether you are taking a Mental Health Holiday, a sick day or a Professional Development Day.. make sure you are prepared!
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