Planning for a sub in a block schedule--yikes.

Discussion in 'High School' started by bdteach, Oct 1, 2008.

  1. bdteach

    bdteach Companion

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    Oct 1, 2008

    I'm not going to be gone because I want to be gone but rather because my school has me in an all day training. Short of putting a movie in, which I really don't want to do, how do I leave plans for a sub that will actually keep my kids engaged and be meaningful? Our classes are an hour and a half, and I have two remedial 11th grades and one general 10th grade.

    Thanks for any suggestions!
     
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  3. Loretin

    Loretin Rookie

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    Oct 3, 2008

    What do you teach? I teach Algebra and also have block schedule. When I had to leave due to training I left plenty of exercises for the students to work on. Next week I am going to be gone for 3 days!!! (anothter training) so I am planning to leave an Algebra movie and several worksheets :(
     
  4. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    Oct 4, 2008

    I had a sub for two of my 80 minute blocks this past week. I had the students create review board games from the unit we were working on. I left markers, crayons, index cards pre-cut in half, large sized papers, and instructions. They also had an article to read and do a written response to which took 15-20 minutes. My students are used to working in groups so I said they could work in groups of 2 and create 20 questions to go with the game or groups of 3 with 30 questions. The note from the sub said they were "delightful" so it was a success in keeping them positively engaged, minimal work for sub, and actually useful to them!
     
  5. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Oct 4, 2008

    Like Ms. Mar, I've also had good luck with "cut and paste" or "foldable" activities on sub days. It's a perfect way to review, and it keeps the kids engaged.
     
  6. sumnerfan

    sumnerfan Comrade

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    Oct 5, 2008

    Can you elaborate? I am always looking for ideas.
     
  7. sumnerfan

    sumnerfan Comrade

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    Oct 5, 2008

    I would also love to hear (see) the directions you left you your kids.
     
  8. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Oct 5, 2008

    I just used to leave a movie with questions and let them know their will be a movie quiz the day I return. They can use their questions on the quiz of course.
     
  9. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Oct 5, 2008

    It is the history teachers who gave us all the great gift of the foldables. These links have history examples, but let your imagination run wild!

    US History Foldables

    Foldables Wikipage (includes some language arts examples)

    and more Catawba Foldables Page

    Do a Google for foldables, and you'll find more!
     
  10. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Oct 5, 2008

    I am rarely absent, so when I do I try to let the kids watch a movie which we would have watched anyway even if I was there. The only difference is that they probably wouldn't have a movie quiz the next day if I was there for the movie. This is just so they listen to the sub. Thanks for the Links though my AP kids will be doing the Articles of Confederation on Tuesday so I will be using one of the foldables then.
     
  11. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Oct 5, 2008

    Bdteach, don't you teach English?

    Can't you give them a short story to read, with questions afterwards?

    And/or a writing assignment that will take a full period?

    How about their autobiography? For the Juniors in particular, it might help those teachers who will have to write their college recommendation letters in a few months.
     
  12. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    Oct 6, 2008

    I don't have my directions page here at home but I'll try to remember to get it so I can share. It was pretty basic though so please don't anticipate anything too fancy! The hard thing for me for a sub is I teach Intro to Foods and there's no way I'd make a sub manage 28 students in 5 different kitchens!
     
  13. bdteach

    bdteach Companion

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    Oct 8, 2008

    But my kids are special...

    And by special I mean high maintenance, not very independent, and so forth. You get the idea.

    Yep, I teach English, and that was what one of my colleagues suggested too--just have them go back and read a story from our text that we hadn't already read and answer questions.

    Of course, that's not what I did. I had them work on group projects that I'd assigned the day before. Thought they had it all under control, but then the sub came in and misinterpreted the instructions, and they did it all wrong. Not catastrophically wrong, but not the project I'd intended.

    That same colleague said after the fact, "Never give a sub anything you care about."

    Lesson learned.

    Wait--scratch that--lesson learned not to be gone!
     
  14. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Oct 9, 2008

    We sub for each other, so I suppose it's different.

    But I would never ask a sub to supervise group work. The noise level is quickly going to get out of hand, and the sub doesn't know the kids or the acceptable noise level. It's setting up both the sub and the kids for some problems.
     
  15. Anjuba

    Anjuba Rookie

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    Oct 25, 2008

    Personally, as an English teacher and a sub, I take offense at bdteach's last post. "The sub came in and misinterpreted the instructions." How about taking responsibility? I am a very good sub and oftentimes teachers assume that terminology they use on a day to day basis does not need to be explained. If I have not subbed for you before, I am completely walking into a foreign environment. I subbed for a teacher yesterday who left no instruction whatsoever. Therefore, I left no feedback whatsoever. In leaving no instruction, that showed a lack of caring for her students, not me. The worse thing a teacher can do is leave busy work. Subs are licensed professionals and our jobs are to educate.
     
  16. sumnerfan

    sumnerfan Comrade

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    Oct 25, 2008

    Wow, subs are liscensed in Ohio. I wish ours were. That's not to sugest that they do a bad job I'm just saying in our case most subs are older ladies whose children have grown up and flown the nest or who have retired from some other occupation.
     
  17. bdteach

    bdteach Companion

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    Nov 2, 2008

    Sorry Anjuba, didn't mean to offend you and any other strong subs out there, but where I teach, the subs have been awful. We all fight over the good ones, but sadly there aren't enough to go around--or worse (better for them) they get a full time job. These are not my absences, they're for BTSA, or the district trainings, etc, which makes it more frustrating for me.

    This sub did completely misinterpret the instructions. I spend a lot of time writing subplans, including step by step, overheads, and samples of the work. This one screwed it up. Big time. The next one I had did a better job and even thanked me for leaving such good sub plans and allowing her to actually do something other than pop in a movie, but then this week again, I had bad luck with my sub. Well, the first one didn't even show up, so I spent the first 15 minutes in my classroom waiting for a second sub, which meant I missed the first 15 minutes of the teacher whose class I was supposed to be observing.

    In addition, I teach in a district that has really wild kids and little or no parent support much less involvement. When I get a sub who doesn't follow the subplan, I have a difficult time getting the kids back in line for the rest of the week. This time I left referrals and told the sub not to put up with any crap. I even filled out the referrals in advance for those most likely to offend. He didn't send out kid out. And there was a cell phone stolen, food eaten...not to mention, only four kids did the word out of 28 in a an hour and a half block. What were they doing!? In addition, he didn't even read my subplans, and therefore when 4th period came along, he was in the wrong classroom. I'd put this information in BIG BLOCK LETTERS at the start of the subplans and again at the top of the section for 4th period.

    So, I'm sorry you're offended, but I have an idea if you were subbing for me, I wouldn't be here complaining. And if you saw what I'm left with after one of my subs, you'd understand.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2008
  18. bdteach

    bdteach Companion

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    Nov 2, 2008

    Also, not all of our subs are licensed professionals. If we're lucky they either are licensed or are in a credential program; more likely they're people who want something to do part time. In LA, they're often out of work actors...which is probably good--they can at least entertain.
     
  19. Ross

    Ross Comrade

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    Nov 2, 2008

    I have been a substitute many times in schools with block schedules. I found the worse situation is to put on a movie and expect the class to sit quietly watching for 90 minutes. Even with the threat of repercussions, they class will eventually drift away from the video and begin to talk.

    An effective tool is to have a worksheet with questions that they need to answer as the movie progresses. It forces them to stay alert. Also, only have part of the block period watching the movie. Have some other appropriate work related to their current lesson. For example, read a section of the chapter and answer the following questions.

    I know you don't know the quality of substitute you may have in your class, but there are some of us with extensive teaching backgrounds that really want to help the students learn their current lesson and are able to provide assistance and insight. My children have told me stories of horrible substitutes that provide no learning and let the class run wild. No wonder some teachers are distrustful.
     

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