Thursday, August 19, 2010

Prepping for a Sub: The Grand Finale

My apologies.  I really wanted to finish up the sub plans video and post it as the completion to the project, but technology is not on my side.

Nor is the cleaning crew who is holding my classroom hostage with floor wax and barricades created with heaps of furniture.  So some poorly shot pictures will have to do since I couldn't get in my room to dazzle you with my cinematic skills.

We left off having completed the following:

a binder with a cover
tabbed sections for: classroom info, school info and masters of the activities for each subject

Let's wrap this puppy up.


When it comes to writing sub plans my advice is to prepare for a sub as if he/she has never subbed before...or been around children...or lacks ALL common sense.  Chances are your sub will be a professional who will do a stellar job, but preparing for the opposite end of the spectrum will help to ensure that things will run well in your absence.

The bad news is that we are going to write very detailed plans for each day of the week.  

The good news is that it isn't nearly as hard as it seems.

Start with your longest day.  Yes, school starts and ends at the same time each day, but you know those days without prep certainly feel longer than others.  By writing out the plans for this day first, you can make some quick changes on the computer and have your other days banged out pretty quickly.

In the lesson section I include specific instructions as well as a "script" for the sub to say to the students.  This is not to micromanage the sub, but rather to make sure the little cherubs know that I have communicated the expectations to the sub and that he/she knows the drill.

It is very effective.

I try to think of the typical things a 3rd grader would do in my absence and include it in the "script."  For example: "As a reminder, if your pencil breaks you will need to raise your hand.  No student should be using the electric pencil sharpener."

The fourth column is for notes.  I include page numbers that the sub could find more info on as well as notes about students who leave for services and teachers who come in for services.  I also include any other info that pertains specifically to that time of day.

After you have created a very detailed plan for your longest day, save it to your hard drive with the name of that day of the week.

Next, edit the document to make the changes needed to reflect every other day of the week.

Print each set.


After you have planned out an entire week, make any copies that are needed for each day.  

I like to use Post-its as tabs to divide the piles of work.

Place each day's worth of materials into one of the plastic drawers with the lesson plans on top. Let the sub know that she can write on this copy.
Label the drawers with the days of the week.

If you bought the kind like I have you will have a total of 6 drawers.  I fill the top one with general activities that can be used in a pinch (word searches, crossword puzzles, math drills) and a couple of picture books the sub could read.


Include a copy of each day's plans in the binder.  

As an extra I print out a couple of sheets of large labels with the students' names that the sub can use as name tags.

Include a note so that the sub knows where to find the materials for the day.

Show everything to several colleagues.  They will be great resources in the event of your absence.  They should know where to locate the binder and the materials.

By following all of these steps, you could miss an entire week without worry.  A sub would simply need to start with the first day's plans and work through the days in the drawers.  By keeping the masters in your binder, anyone could make additional copies as needed.

Be sure to replenish the drawer as soon as you return.  By doing so you will always be ready.


Sunny said...

Aw, I was hoping to see your video! Darn those people for holding you up! :)

I had to chuckle when you said prepare as if the sub has no experience being around children...and possibly no common sense. Some of the subs we got at my last school, I honestly had to wonder if the sub service was just allowing ANYONE in because some of them were so clueless. Poor souls.

Anonymous said...

Awesome! Thank you so much!