elementary substitute teacher tools?

Discussion in 'Substitute Teachers' started by modgirl, Apr 27, 2009.

  1. modgirl

    modgirl Rookie

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2006
    Messages:
    93
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 27, 2009

    Hi everyone!

    I've been subbing since October and overall it's been good, but when I have difficult classes - it can be super frustrating and discouraging.

    What materials do you usually bring with you? what tricks do you find to be helpful?

    I thought we could start a post so that we can all share ideas and help each out.

    One trick a sub shared with me is to bring in already sharpened pencils, because a lot of elementary kids always seem to be missing pencils and don't seem to take responsibility of their supplies. I think she might label them and expect them to return it somehow. I haven't tried this yet, but after today, I think I will try it.

    What's worked for you?
     
  2.  
  3. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2008
    Messages:
    2,019
    Likes Received:
    19

    Apr 28, 2009

    Always bring stickers for rewards. Preferably the scented kind.

    These young kids liked competing to do things the fastest or the quietest (my favorite). Ie) split the class into 4 teams - let them name their teams - then compete to get assignments done. Whichever section can do the assignment without one peep gets points toward a reward. Post the points on the board with big tally marks or stars. Even tell the kids you'll leave them up for their teacher to see so she knows who did the best work.

    When I knew I was going to sub a difficult class or school, I'd bring big cheap bag jelly beans for rewards. The kids will compete just for one jellybean!

    Elementary subbing is exhausting, by the way!
     
  4. filochica

    filochica Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2008
    Messages:
    58
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 28, 2009

    I bring stickers, coloring pages (ice cream cones, footballs, smiling suns, flowers, Disney characters, etc) in case kids are inside for recess, books for different grade levels and bookmarks as rewards (you can print these online). I also have a rules poster with pictures depicting the rules (ie: a child raising their hand , students in a nice straight line) written in colorful letters. I use a gumball machine for K-3 where I set a goal for the class and I draw in gumballs when they follow directions, work quietly, and so on. If the kids meet the goal, they get a sticker or free time depending on the schedule. For older kids, I write RECESS on the board and if they don't behave properly, I erase a letter meaning they've lost 5 minutes of recess. They can earn it back but I emphasize they shouldn't lose any letters.
     
  5. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2008
    Messages:
    2,019
    Likes Received:
    19

    Apr 28, 2009

    And, I always kept a few story books with pictures in my trunk. Even the older kids like them if the have a plot geared toward their age level. There was a really good one about a teacher that comes to school disguised as an evil sub. You can read it very dramatically to all the ages.
     
  6. jd123

    jd123 Cohort

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2006
    Messages:
    690
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 29, 2009

    I bring Mad Libs, a whistle for P.E. or an outdoor brain break, books, stickers, cute paper to write the teacher a note after class (and attach my business card), and story books.

    Special-t, what is that evil sub book called?
     
  7. ILoveMyCello

    ILoveMyCello Companion

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2009
    Messages:
    137
    Likes Received:
    0

    May 1, 2009

    This is the most ridiculous game ever but for elementary, I bring those tiny circle stickers that have something on them. I play this game where the kids put their heads down and I put the sticker somewhere in the room. Then they have to find it, but sit down at their desk and wait for everyone else to find it. It's really dumb but it fills up extra time when they finish everything!
     
  8. AFWifeinUtah

    AFWifeinUtah Comrade

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2008
    Messages:
    298
    Likes Received:
    0

    May 4, 2009

    I bring mad libs to complete and have them take turns filling in the blank and then I read the story, I also bring a few fun songs usually ("She'll Be Coming Around the Mountain" is good because they can do some gestures with it), and I usually have a fun book of some type.
     
  9. wuttaeal

    wuttaeal Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2008
    Messages:
    41
    Likes Received:
    0

    May 5, 2009

    I've only done elementary once this year :(, but there are a few things I *always* have in my bag.

    Mad Libs
    Dry Erase Markers that actually work
    Go Hang a Salami, I'm a Lasagna Hog! --This is a book full of palindromes. I can use it in a variety of ways at any grade level.
    Fruit Snacks--I like to keep a few bags of these on hand for kids who do extra work for me or something. Again, every age loves them.
    Stickers

    Diana
     
  10. MelissaG

    MelissaG New Member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2009
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0

    May 8, 2009

    Here are a few things I do if I walk into a class without anything on hand. (I always have photocopying paper with me so that I can give students blank paper)

    I ask four students to name a random object or character (for example, pirate,snow, jelly bean, princess). The students then write a story including all four words. I write a narrative plan on the board to guide them (introduction/complication/resolution).

    This is the same type of thing but more complex. It is good for upper primary. I choose a theme like rainforest or ocean and ask each student to name one thing that you would find in there. I then give them a blank piece of paper and ask them to draw each item on the sheet. They then have to write a story that includes each element. I present the idea as a great challenge.

    Before class, or while they are working on an activity, I write a letter on the board. I then ask the students to write a reply.

    If I want an unsettled class to calm down I write 20 to 30 simple sums on the board. I then write 4 or 5 more difficult maths challenges like draw a 4cm by 4cm square (or inches)

    If I think english is more appropriate I will write some basic punctuation and grammar questions followed by more difficult activities like write a paragraph describing what it is like to eat a banana.
     
  11. LNP

    LNP Rookie

    Joined:
    May 2, 2009
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0

    May 16, 2009

    Things I've done to get a classes' attention:

    -written names/words on the board in Morse code.

    -written names/words on the board in the Cyrillic alphabet.

    -brought a musical instrument to play while they do worksheets (this works quite well; kids who will shout over your talking, or who will 'fill up' quiet places, will pipe down during music and listen); requires actually knowing how to play songs on said instrument.

    For quieting down, I'll say loudly, "If you can hear me raise your hand"; make the same statement in a progressively lower voice, and finally bringing it down to a whisper, ending with my being able to speak normally.

    I make every effort to learn and remember student's names; sometimes there will be a photo roster, sometimes not, but if you can turn in attendance and somehow keep a list of names with you it helps a lot. It's a huge difference to be able to say, "Ivan, please sit down", as opposed to 'Hey you kid, sit down".

    I'll sometimes stand everybody up and walk them around the room and sometimes the hallway if they're really worked up, just to burn off some energy.

    I almost never 'write names on the board' or turn cards or any of that, mostly because it's difficult to keep track of each individual teacher's discipline set-up; I'm in a different classroom almost every day, and it's just too confusing.

    I'll insert a brief bit of comment about rewards here:
    (Due to harsh experience, I try to avoid ANY setting up competition among students over or about anything; many of the kids I work with are too aggressive, and sensitive to losing, to handle even a 'friendly' competition. This was kind of an important lesson for me where I work, so I'll elaborate: If one kid gets ANYTHING more than any other, the classes will often erupt in name-calling, verbal attacks, and physical fighting. If a kid 'wins' something, he/she will shout insults to the rest of the class and viciously mock them; if he/she loses they will assault the 'winner'. So most of the time I strenuously avoid giving any appearance of selectively preferring any kid's behavior over any other, for any reason whatsoever, whether justified or not. In most of my classes, I can't hand out 'rewards for good behavior', as the kids not rewarded become so violently provoked over a perceived unfairness. In those cases I work very hard to maintain some level of class cohesion, and treat them all as a group, so as to try to stave off fights. Any rewards are equally distributed, whether individually justified or not: one gets a sticker, they all get a sticker. This is because I've had entire classes erupt in riots over different colored pencils. It's simply because a lot of my kids can't link their behavior with punishments or rewards; they view consequences for actions as randomly occurring.)

    Speaking of pencils, I often unplug or 'disappear' pencil sharpeners, and supply a can or cup of sharpened pencils for swapping during the day, sharpening pencils during times when the students aren't present.

    What else. Hmm. Basically, for elems, if you have some gimmick or skill that sets you apart and makes you different, the kids will see you as a human being, and be nicer about things than if you are a faceless fill-in. It makes it easier to actually teach.
     
  12. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2001
    Messages:
    24,949
    Likes Received:
    2,101

    May 16, 2009

    I'm sure it's Miss Nelson is Missing
     
  13. jd123

    jd123 Cohort

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2006
    Messages:
    690
    Likes Received:
    0

    May 16, 2009


    Thanks :)
     
  14. nklauste

    nklauste Comrade

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2008
    Messages:
    327
    Likes Received:
    35

    May 16, 2009

    It could also be The Substitute Teacher from the Black Lagoon
     
  15. jd123

    jd123 Cohort

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2006
    Messages:
    690
    Likes Received:
    0

    May 16, 2009

    I'll have to check out both books!
     
  16. tsol

    tsol Rookie

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2009
    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    0

    May 24, 2009

    I have a rule; by the end of the day I am supposed to know the kids' names and they get to test me?! I am just good with names and they really like giving the teacher a test for a change. I have a behavior chart where they earn points for good behavior and later on ,their teacher decides how to deal with the earnings. I like a lot of suggestions LNP brought up.
     
  17. HeatherY

    HeatherY Habitué

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2008
    Messages:
    760
    Likes Received:
    1

    May 28, 2009

    Best thing ever and it will get the room clean at the end of the day:

    Announce that you will be playing mystery trash. Tell the kids that you have selected one piece of trash on the ground and that is the mystery trash. Whoever finds it will get a prize (bring candy or stickers or something). They have to pick up the trash off the ground, bring it to you and you say if it is or is not the mystery trash. (Be sure to put a trash can right next to you!) Here is the trick- it does not matter what the mystery trash is. Wait until the whole room has been picked up and then select one child who has been working hard and say their trash is the mystery trash. You can work up the kids the whole time too. Say things like- no but you are close! Or point to a certain area if they are not working and say it is over there, etc.... Works like a charm and teachers always comment on how clean the room is.
     
  18. emmakate218

    emmakate218 Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2008
    Messages:
    1,729
    Likes Received:
    1

    May 29, 2009

    Heather, that's a fab idea!
     
  19. Becky123abc

    Becky123abc Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    0

    May 29, 2009

    I collected these from a few different websites...sorry I didn't save the names of the websites...I'd like to give credit where it's due.

    Too High/Too Low

    Pick a number. Draw a line on the board. At the top, on the left side print "Too Low", and then "Too High" on the right side. As children give their guesses record their number on the appropriate side of the line--They should be able to "squeeze" out the number. This can be played using a number line --have children cover the too little and too big guesses--the class can see the "squeezing" as they narrow their choices.


    Sparkle (Spelling)

    I first learned this in a practicum at Streams Elementary School from a wonderful teacher named; Ginny Zemaitis. It is a pretty common game and most students have played it before. Still it works great! this is how it goes... 1. Have the students stand in a circle. 2. Pick a student to start. 3. Give the student a spelling word. Let's say, "teacher." 4. That student will say teacher and the next student will say, "T", and the next student will say, "E", and the next student will say, "A", and so on.... 5. Finally a student will say "R" and the next student will say "sparkle" and sit down on the floor. 6. The next person will start the new word and it will go down the line in the same manner. 7. Repeat these steps until there is only one person standing - they are the winner! NOTE: if a student says an incorrect letter during the game, they must sit down and the word is started again by the next person.


    A Subs Version of Pictionary

    Write current movies, books, cartoon characters, and songs on slips of paper and place them in a baggies. divide the class into two groups, and allow one student from Group 1 to come up. Hand him/her a slip of the pre-made ideas on it. Then have he/she go to the board and try to draw it. Allow either group to guess what their classmate is drawing.


    Five-O

    Suitable for teenagers. Break class in teams of around 4 or 5 so you end up with even groups. They have to think of a five letter word and compete against another team. They have to guess the word by writing a five letter word down, the opposition tells them how many letters are correct in the word, but not which ones. Example: Your word is "clash" they guess "beach" there are 3 letters the same. Next they may guess "bingo" no correct letters. They keep going till they get the correct word. Each team takes a turn, the first team to guess the word wins. Makes it easier if they keep a note on impossible letters & probable letters. Can take ages to play & really gets their brains & logic skills a work out. - Thanks Justine G.

    It's called "Howdy Partner!"
    (I've also heard of this being played as "Who Am I?")
    You pick one child to be "it". "It" sits in a chair at the front of the room facing the wall (or chalkboard), and closes its eyes. Then you pick someone in the classroom to quietly creep up to "it" and say, in a disguised voice (and it's very important for the voice to be disguised for the game to be fun), "Howdy Partner" (and this is when the giggling starts). Now it's up to "it" to try to identify that particular voice. If he can, then the child who said "Howdy Partner" becomes the new "it". If he can't, you pick another child to say "Howdy Partner". This is a fun game for the primary grades.


    Heads Up, Seven Up
    Pick seven children to be it, and ask them to stand at the front of the room. Have the remaining students sit at their desks with their heads down and one thumb up. Each student who is it very quietly and carefully touches the thumb of one seated student. When a student's thumb is touched (no peeking!), he or she makes a fist, hiding the thumb. When seven thumbs have been touched, all the students who are it return to the front of the room, and the teacher calls, "seven up!" The seven students whose thumbs are down get one chance each to guess who tapped their thumb. Any student who guesses correctly replaces the student who touched him or her as it . Then the game starts over.
     
  20. SwOcean Gal

    SwOcean Gal Devotee

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2004
    Messages:
    1,151
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 8, 2009

    tsol- I love your idea! I read it when you first posted it and ever since every time I am in a classroom- I try very hard to use names constantly anyhow- but I think about your game now too. I would love to try it. I can see the kids absolutely loving it!!!! I have third graders tomorrow- so maybe I will, but it is also field day- so I might not have much time in the room with them- so we will see. But I love that idea! I wish I tried it with my first graders today, but I wimped out! lol.
     
  21. SubtoTeacher

    SubtoTeacher Rookie

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2009
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 12, 2009

    WOW - I feel like a dud compared to you all.

    I've been subbing for 6 school years and have never brought a thing with me...except my lunch!!
     
  22. maestra121

    maestra121 Rookie

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2009
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 5, 2009

    subtoTeacher your funny..lol I also bring pencils, pens for my upper grades since I have subbed k-8th. Stickers, math games (board games), educational dvds ect.. I worked full time in the same school and mostly covered the same class for a few weeks so I knew ahead of time the schedule and subjects, but if you cover preps all these mentioned by others are good ideas. Have fun....
     
  23. jd123

    jd123 Cohort

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2006
    Messages:
    690
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 5, 2009


    You must be fortunate to sub at a school/district where the teachers prepare for a sub. While I bring much of what has been already mentioned, I don't alway use those things (except stickers and paper to write the teacher a note), because the teachers have good plans and back up activities...usually.
     
  24. betst

    betst New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2009
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 12, 2009

    remembering students names

    I think it is great to try to remember students names. When there is 30 in a class it is a challenge. What do you think of asking the kids to wear name tags?
    Do you have any games or ideas for getting the kids to have their names in front of them or to remember their names?
    Thanks!
     
  25. jd123

    jd123 Cohort

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2006
    Messages:
    690
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 13, 2009

    You could have the students fold a sheet of paper in thirds the long way ("hot dog"). The paper would be on their desks, like a triangle or a very long tent. Students would write their names on one side (decorate or color if you don't think it would take too long to do so), and have the names face you. I hope you can picture how this would look...it's late.
     
  26. katrinkakat

    katrinkakat Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2006
    Messages:
    1,577
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 22, 2009

    Wow, great ideas everyone! It looks like I'll be subbing this year. I have subbed 2 years for Head Start about 10 years ago and always brought some goodies. Oh yeah, Ms. Nelson is Missing! Great book!:lol:
     
  27. JoStar

    JoStar Rookie

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2008
    Messages:
    29
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 30, 2009

    For those of you that get stuck subbing in a school where you have to teach phys-ed, there is a game called Sleeping Lions that kids really like. I use it with kids from Kindergarten to grade 4 or 5.

    One person is chosen as the Zookeeper and all the other students are sleeping lions. They have to lie on the ground perfectly still (they are allowed to blink and breathe) and not move a muscle. Even a finger twitch is moving! The Zookeeper walks around the gym and tries to catch any lions moving. If they are caught, they're out. The lions can only move if the zookeeper's back is to them!

    It's a super fun game for the kids and it's great for teachers because it's a super quiet game.

    Also, if you find that the kids have a lot of energy and need to let some out, a good game to play is called "Run, Scream, Die." Have the students start at one end of the gym. They then have to run to the other end while screaming as loud as they can in one breath. When they run out of breath they have to fall to the ground, and die.

    The kids love this game and it gets a little energy out before they head back to the classroom!
     
  28. heymiss

    heymiss Comrade

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2009
    Messages:
    252
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 31, 2009

    Those games sound fun!

    Most of my subbing experience is in junior high (hence the name -- all you ever hear in junior high is "Hey Miss, how do we/why do we/do I have to/etc."), but this year, I am wanting to focus more on 4th-6th grades. I will probably still do some junior high subbing, but I'd rather get hired for the lower grades.

    That was a lot of background for my somewhat stupid question, which is how do you go about the distribution of stickers? Is it like one sticker per kid per day, or is it something that goes on throughout the day as long as they keep behaving well? Do you put it on their papers? Do you let them pass around the sheet and choose? Do you stick 'em on their hands?

    Also, I'm thinking about using one of those expanding files that closes with a rubber band type-thing to keep all my paper, stickers, cards, etc., organized. Does anyone have a better system that they use?

    My system last year was basically flying by the seat of my pants because I didn't sub that often, so I normally just brought a pen, a spiral notebook, some water, and a Special K bar in case I couldn't leave for lunch. Since subbing is going to be my full-time job until I can weasel my way into a classroom of my own, I really want to have a sytem that will let me get noticed (and hired, please!) and will help me be as prepared as possible.
     
  29. cynthia7759

    cynthia7759 New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2009
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 20, 2009

    great ideas...I wanted to address the "loaning things out" issue....because kids invariably do not return things ..and yes...some steal them. Kids sharpening pencils all period long drives me CRAZY. First graders will break leads on purpose so they can sharpen some more ! I found a pencil sharpener that has a suction cup that attaches to the desk -and I alone - sharpen pencils. If they want to borrow a pencil or eraser or something else of mine..then they have to leave me one of their shoes ! Yes - shoes . They think I'm kidding at first - it makes them laugh - and it works ! When I get my pencil back -they get their shoe back !
     
  30. IAMdoneSubbing

    IAMdoneSubbing Companion

    Joined:
    May 9, 2009
    Messages:
    223
    Likes Received:
    0

    Sep 11, 2009


    I hardly get extra time like that when I sub. Usually, I have to spend time on Math to make sure thy really understand it. Like today, the kids had to do comparing (>, <, and =) plus, rounding off to ten and estiamating, rounding off to hundred and estiamating, Commutative (order) property, reason part which I didn't get ot because I had to spend time to teach them how to round off since a lot of kids were not remmembering that in order to proceed to estimating.
     
  31. IAMdoneSubbing

    IAMdoneSubbing Companion

    Joined:
    May 9, 2009
    Messages:
    223
    Likes Received:
    0

    Sep 11, 2009


    It is my opinion that that's not the way to get hired. I cou;d be wrong. With me, I get impression that some of the teachers don't want the sub look (teach) better then they do.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. MrsC,
  2. vickilyn,
  3. MrTempest,
  4. MissCeliaB,
  5. Mrs. K.
Total: 437 (members: 5, guests: 419, robots: 13)
test