There are days when you have conferences, workshops or scheduled doctor appointments planned and you know you will be out of the classroom. There are days when you are feeling under the weather and suspect you will be out the next day. Then there are days when you are unable to attend school with little or no warning at all.
Once upon a time I was sitting in my living room feeling fine. Within minutes I was in the worst pain of my life thinking I was in labor and wanting to die. (In my defense, I was 8.5 months pregnant so labor was a possibility). Turns out it was a kidney stone and I was completely useless for about 7 hours.
In case you were wondering, they do not give epidurals for kidney stones...though I think the should.
Food poisoning, car accidents, family emergencies and toddlers who decide to projectile vomit their breakfast as you are set to drop them off at daycare are just a few other examples of times when you have every intention of being in class and have no notice or ability to prepare for your sudden absence.
This week we are going to put together a sub binder and resource center that will make it easy for you to be out of the classroom without the added stress of worrying about what will happen to your class for that day.
We will be able to put the majority of this project together right now. It will be a work in progress because some of the items that need to be included will come into play once school starts.
We are going to start today by “gathering” activities that can be used on any day of the year for each subject area. Today you need to gather at least 5 activities for reading, writing, word study/spelling and math. I have spent the past few days creating some activities for each of those subjects using the guidelines below. You can purchase the ones I made through my store, gather them from other resources or create your own.
Create a folder on your computer titled SUB PLANS. Be sure to save all of the files to this folder and back it up. If you purchase my emergency sub plans then save them to this folder once I email them to you.
After you gather them, you’ll need to slide them into plastic sheet protectors (back to back) and create a tab for your binder labeled Master Copies. Put them into the binder and you’re all set until tomorrow.
Here are the guidelines:
You do not want these activities to be a complete waste of time or busy work, but in my experiences it has been best to not have a sub introduce a new concept. Review is important and this is a great chance to review key concepts.
The activities should be open-ended whenever possible. By this I mean that the students could continue to work on them for a substantial length of time without a specific completion point. You want to avoid having the students rush through an assignment that is designed to take 30 minutes in 5 and tell the sub, “I’m done.” Open-ended assignments will allow the sub to instruct them to “add to the list” or “find more __.”
Try to minimize the need for additional materials. You want both the children and the sub to have an enjoyable, stress-free day. Asking a sub to have children cut and glue could hinder this objective.
Find activities that can be repeated so that you may use them on multiple days. This is especially beneficial because the students become accustomed to the “sub routine” which makes future absences even easier.
If you are going to do a reading extension activity, be sure that each child has a copy of the text. Having a sub read aloud a book and then asking the class to complete a story map is setting the sub up for chaos. EVERYONE (rather they need it or not) will be asking to get out of their seat to see the book. It is also setting children up for failure and frustration if they are not able to recall details from the read aloud and do not have access to the book. My suggestion is to access reading A to Z and print a copy of the book for each student or use a story that you have already covered from your reading basal that each child will have a copy of. By selecting activities that go with EVERY book as opposed to a specific title, you can also differentiate instruction for the class but providing varied levels of text for each student. If you do not have a basal or class set of books then today would also be a good day to access the free trial membership to reading A to Z and print a copy of a few good fiction books to use.
See you tomorrow...get your homework done!
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