Sub Plans

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Elizabeth09, Mar 13, 2016.

  1. Elizabeth09

    Elizabeth09 Rookie

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    Mar 13, 2016

    I am a first year teacher and one thing I hate is making sub plans. How do you guys prepare your plans? Do you have the subs teach the lessons you would be teaching, or plan something completely different? I would love to hear how others handle this, and even see samples if you'd like to share!
     
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  3. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Mar 13, 2016

    I usually leave an activity, such as worksheets or book work, the kids can do with minimal teaching time. I do not have the sub teach something they have never seen before.

    If you type and save your sub plans, you can edit as needed for the next time you need a sub.
     
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  4. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Mar 13, 2016

    This is exactly what I do.
     
  5. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    Agree with the top two posts. I leave something engaging that doesn't need someone to teach it. I have saved sub plans explaining the normal day-to-day (bell schedule, lunch, procedures, etc) and I edit the part on what the classes should do. I also always leave "student helpers" to help take role, set up technology, etc. They know who they are and they are listed in the plans. I always inform them ahead of time to make sure they'll be there to help out.
     
  6. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    I write very detailed sub plans with step-by-step directions. I often have subs teach, but it really depends on many factors: if I know I will be out ahead of time, who my sub will be, the duration of time that I'm out, etc. If it's an unplanned absence or just one day out, I often leave "busy" work, generic read alouds, etc. If I'm know I'm going to be out ahead of time and have found a competent sub (hopefully a retired or aspiring teacher), especially if I'm going to be out for multiple days, I usually have the sub teach lessons. My pacing would get too far off if I left busy work every single time I was out.
     
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  7. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Mar 13, 2016

    If I know the sub, I expect them to teach, and will leave sub plans for that. If I don't know the sub, I assume that they are less capable of teaching a classroom than the most responsible of my students, and write my plans accordingly.
     
  8. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Does your district have fairly competent subs, then?

    We have a hard time finding any subs, period. So, you may get a great person, or you may get someone who does not have any classroom management or teaching skills at all.

    This is not meant as a judgement, because I always appreciate having someone step in to take care of my class. However, in my state, you do not need to even have a college degree to sub - just a certain number of (non-education related) credits.
     
  9. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    We have a handful of known subs for our school... a mix of retired teachers and generally competent subs. We also have a large pool of people who have no business ever working with kids. I've had subs that can't speak English and that can't read before... so when I say I write plans assuming less competence than one of my third graders, I mean that literally. I had a student one year that basically taught the class because the sub was so hopelessly incompetent.
     
  10. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Mar 13, 2016

    We don't have many competent subs. In fact, we have a hard time getting any subs at all. My district did raise their sub pay this year, but it hasn't helped. I think the problem is that there is somewhat of a general teacher shortage in the area, so any qualified aspiring teachers have likely found full time positions. The ones left are generally either not teachers at all or have not been hired full time for a reason. I leave mostly worksheets, but I don't think they're totally not valuable. I use some of the same activities when I'm teaching, just not on so large of a scale. For example, a lot of times I'll leave explode the code (phonics) packets or math fact practice. Those are valuable skills that my students need to work on.
     
  11. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    Mar 14, 2016

    I work as a resource teacher and often get pulled to sub when there is shortage. Since the teachers know me they just leave basic plans and I move through whatever lesson it is, (math unit 11 or whatever). There is one 5th grade teacher who the resource teachers hate subbing for because she leaves the most complex and convoluted plans and you end up leaving something out. She'll give you a main plan that refers to her math plan (or language plan or science plan) which refers to a post-it in the book, and homework can be listed in any of three or four places. Naturally as you're trying to navigate all of this, the kids are taking advantage of the distraction so management becomes an issue.

    I'd say keep the instructions and assignments simple. You may think the kids know how to do things, but I promise you, mass amnesia sets in when anything out of the ordinary happens and they "forget" how to read or add or do fractions. Don't leave that on a sub. Its the quickest way to give yourself a headache afterward.

    If you have younger kids, reassure them that the world won't end if the sub says/does something different than you do it. If you have older kids, make threats ahead of time. On the plan, designate a good student who will tell the truth if the sub needs assistance.
     
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  12. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Mar 14, 2016

    I leave pretty detailed plans. I keep a folder for the sub by my computer with current seating charts (I don't make them special for the sub, it's the one I make for myself), a copy of my schedule, and some basic information about our school. If the timing is right, I leave worksheets on the topic we are currently studying. If not, I leave review work. Map reading for social studies, graph reading or current events for science. I also have a drawer of "Sub Papers". These are simply papers I copy for practice that we don't get to. I make a key and file them for a sub to use later (or me on one of those days where I need to take a step back). My co-workers know where the file and drawer are, as well as 3 students in my room that are helpers. I have a template typed in the computer that has the basics and because we are departmentalized, I only have to type in what to do in science and social studies and tell them to do that with all 3 classes.
     
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  13. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Mar 15, 2016

    First, I hope and pray it's the day Spanish class falls on library day with an assembly in the morning and the coundelor wants to teach a lesson so there's less material to put together. I then plan for some familiar procedure lessons and a nice writing activity.

    I have emergency plans but I don't want to actually use them.
     
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  14. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    Mar 15, 2016

    I generally have my subs teach what I normally would, but there are exceptions. If material is brand new to the students or if an activity is more involved (like a science experiment) I will rearrange or substitute activities that are more of a review. I also liked to use these days to show videos that are part of the curriculum with some kind of question list or worksheet for students to turn in as soon as it is over so I know they paid attention rather than goofed around. I always kept a sub folder with extra filler lessons complete with worksheets and made it clear to the subs that I trusted them enough to use these if they needed extra work or if one of my lessons did not make sense to them. They rarely used these fillers, but it was nice to have them available. One thing you want to be certain to do is explain all details of procedures clearly. Kids need their routines, some more than others, and it is a huge help to the subs if they know what the routines are. It makes the day much easier for everyone.
     
  15. Clay Morgan

    Clay Morgan Rookie

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    Mar 15, 2016

    Viewing this from the other side of the coin, as a sub (and aspiring teacher), I have mixed feelings.

    There is little that makes me feel like I'm just wasting time than to essentially be relegated to the role of babysitter.

    There are some teachers who know me and are realizing I can move a lesson plan forward, if they need me to, and I appreciate being asked to teach.

    That said, I have to recognize my limits as a substitute. I cannot teach some of the advanced math. I cannot teach science. In those classes, when I am asked to sub them, while I don't like feeling like a babysitter, I do appreciate that the teacher can load the students up with relevant assignments/worksheets.

    I would think the challenge for any teacher assigning a sub is to know the sub and his or her capabilities. I think any sub, before he or she assumes he can TEACH the class needs to honestly assess whether he or she is going to do more good than harm.

    English Lit, History? I can likely teach. Trigonometry? Geometry? AP Biology? I know my limits. I can manage the class and ensure they complete assignments, but I have no business teaching them.
     
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  16. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    In large districts like mine, I likely won't know who my substitute is unless I personally schedule that person. I have no idea about the sub's interests or capabilities. I must assume, therefore, that the sub knows nothing (which happens more often than not anyway) and leave the most basic plans requiring the least involvement possible from the substitute. It may sound cold, but I just can't be bothered to care about the sub's feelings in this situation. He or she is doing a job, the most important aspect of which is supervision of students. If he or she doesn't feel personally or professionally fulfilled by the plans and activities I've left, that's not my problem.
     
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  17. mrsammieb

    mrsammieb Devotee

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    Mar 16, 2016

    At the beginning of the school year I set up my subplans with dismissal procedures, class list, behaviors, and my daily schedule. So then when I am out, I all have to do is plug in the assignments for math, reading etc. Typically, I do not really have the sub teach, but reinforce a skill already taught.
     
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  18. TeachCafe

    TeachCafe Comrade

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    Mar 17, 2016

    I'm very OCD about subs and sub plans. I leave step by step detailed plans. Basically I write a script. I teach AM and PM classes so I lay it all out for the morning class then adjust the times for the PM class and put "repeat morning lesson" and go.

    I picture the lesson how I would teach it and write a script acting out what I would do. I mean I have quotes for what to ask them during independent reading, probing questions, etc. you name it, I write it.

    I leave a stack of everything they need so they don't ramble in my stuff. Writing utensils, paper clips, timers, etc and my plans and any materials needed to pass out.
    All my subs leave me note thanking me for being so detailed and organized.

    Teaching wise, it depends on what I need for that week. I've had a lot of PDs recently so I needed them to actually teach so I laid it out. We use AESOP so I have a preferred sub list. I have told my P about subs that weren't up to par. My students told me one fell asleep for a bit. We have a few long term subs so with testing season coming they've filled in for me because I know they'll teach well.

    Sometimes if were making some kind of fold able or something for their interactive notebooks I have the subs do that because I just can't with my students and scissors and glue. It annoys me like crazy. I don't think I'll ever have the patience for that. I do it under the doc camera and I always get someone gluing upside down, cutting too much glue going everywhere, etc. like I'm in the K room teaching advanced origami.
     
  19. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Mar 17, 2016

    There are usually teaching opportunities in nearly any lesson, unless the teacher has just left a video.

    I usually leave a worksheet that students can do on their own. However, I really do appreciate when the sub takes the time to read directions over with the kids and do a few together and/or check their work. It's not necessary, but it's great to see that it happened. I think a good sub can actually teach in a lot of different circumstances, even if it appears to be review or busy work. There are always kids who need some extra help!
     
  20. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Also, as a teacher, I like when subs leave a "how the day went" sheet that some seem to carry around with them on their own accord. The forms are different, but usually have a space for who was absent, who was good/bad, what work was done, etc. I'd like to leave forms like that in my sub folder but never think to do it when the time comes.
     
  21. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Mar 18, 2016

    I leave a Sub Report form for the sub to fill out. For each class they let me know who was absent, who caused problems, and if they got to everything left to do. Then I have a spade for them to let me know if they had any problems with the plans I left. I always invite them to help themselves to my snack box, and bottled water. I do sometimes have to leave busy work, but I try to leave practice for whatever skill we're covering. I spent my first 6 months as a sub. I learned a lot, most especially that subs can have a hard job, especially when the teacher leaves them high and dry. (One of my first sub jobs was 5 days of kindergarten with no plans. :eek::eek::eek:)
     
  22. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Mar 19, 2016

    I usually don't know who my sub is either. Quite honestly, we have some barely literate subs and I don't trust them to teach any new material. There are some subs that I would be comfortable leaving any lesson in our repertoire. It is easier to prep for the barely literate sub and hope that you actually get one of the competent ones.
     
  23. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    It depends on the sub. Many of our subs are retired teachers, who like to teach what I would normally be doing. Here is are my sub plans from last Wednesday. This substitute has a teaching degree, and is familiar with my school's routines and expectations, but it was her first time in my classroom. She was in my room Wednesday-Friday last week. (Sorry if it's long, and doesn't copy/paste well!)

    8:30 Morning Jobs:
    • Jobs are listed on the easel.
    • They will stop at the door, and show you their responsibility logs. Stamp signed logs with the star stamp (in the basket on top of the mailboxes). If both sides of their log page are completely full, tear it out, and recycle it.
    • Remind them to put gym shoes on right away in the morning.
    • They may need reminders to enter the room quietly, book shop, and read quietly at their table spots.
    • When the bell rings, they will stand to say the Pledge of Allegiance right away. Book shopping time is over, and they should be reading quietly at their table spots.

    9:00 Cursive:
    • The next letter is t.
    • Here is the path to get to the videos:
    • If they’re doing well and you have time, feel free to do two letters.

    9:30 Science:
    • Watch Brainpop Jr. video on Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
    • Complete reduce, reuse, recycle sheet with a partner

    10:00 Gym

    10:30 Bathroom Break

    10:40 Snack/Math Workshop:
    • Money review and practice
    • Give each student a dish of coins.
      • Have them make a certain coin combination. (For example: “Find 3 quarters, 4 times, 2 nickels, 1 penny)
      • They should raise their hands when they know how much money there is.
      • Have a volunteer come to the board, and write the amount with a dollar symbol, and with the cent symbol.
    • After some practice, have them put the money away. (They can dump it into the clear bin, and you can put it away in the math manipulative cupboards. The white dishes can stay out.)
    • Have them get out their math notebooks and a pencil. Work on solving the money story problems. You could have them do this with a partner, or you could solve them whole-group.

    11:40 Recess/lunch

    12:35 Bathroom Break

    12:40 Writer’s Workshop:
    • Comma Activity
    • I found this lesson on a teacher blog, and I use it every year. I find it to be very helpful, and the kids refer back to it often. Here is how the teacher that created it explains the lesson:

    “I don't introduce commas by telling the kiddos the rules. Instead, I have them come up with the rules themselves. I give them a Comma Hunt paper and with a partner, they search through books to find three different ways that they see commas being used by real authors. They try to find 3 examples to prove it is a rule. Then they try to come up with a rule to present to the class.

    Once we discuss possible rules as a group, we create an anchor chart together. I have the rules printed out and cut out already, so that I can easily glue them on. We talk about the rules one at a time and the kiddos are THRILLED when they discover their rule is real! I use examples the kiddos give me to record on the anchor chart.

    For the next lesson, students search through books to find one example of each rule being used correctly. They love this. It gives them a real sense of ownership because they were involved in "making" these rules. I tell them to make sure the authors used commas correctly, so the kiddo think they are looking for an author to make a mistake.”

    • You may need to spread this out over a few days, and finish it on Friday.

    1:35 Bathroom Break

    1:40 Snack/Comprehension mini-lesson:
    • Read aloud during snack time: Upside-Down Magic
    • Practice the strategy “ask questions while reading.” I often call them “I wonders.”
    • Model and call on students to share any questions they may have.

    2:00 Reader’s Workshop: (I left guided reading plans for her in a separate document)

    2:40 Word work/spelling:
    • Meet with the following students:
    • The rest of the class should do a written sort:
      • They sort their words, and then write them down in their spelling notebooks.
      • They can read when they are finished.
      • They should work independently at a voice level 0.

    3:10 Ready to go home:
    • Open homework document on smartboard, and fill out. Write “library books,” to help them remember to bring them back tomorrow.
    • Pick a student who is sitting quietly to pick 2 fishsticks. These are the people that you will be secretly watching while they get ready. If they’re both quiet, they each get 2 paws. If one of them talks, the other one gets all 4 paws.
    • Call some students at a time to empty their mailboxes, and go back to their tables to fill out their logs.
    • When they are finished, they can stack their chairs, and they will wait for you to call tables.
    • Call tables to get ready in the hallway.
    • If they are ready before the bell rings, they should line up in the classroom.
    • When the bell rings, they should wait for you to dismiss them. Otherwise, they tend to hurry out the door and push one-another.

    3:20 Dismissal
     
  24. mrsammieb

    mrsammieb Devotee

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    Mar 21, 2016

    One thing just to add, is I used to leave a script because it made me feel better. However, I then go the opportunity to sub for half a semester and well, reading a script is hard to keep eyes on what is going on. So I've learned to pear it down. I always leave a pile of "extra" things just in case. I also leave alternative things to do like if you do not feel comfortable teaching geometry, do this... this way it is easier on the sub. I don't do that for each assignment but when I have the opportunity. I leave money for the soda machine and/or a nice little candy treat too. I love it when they grade papers for me so I leave answer keys to EVERYTHING... even if it is like duh stupid.
     
  25. showmelady

    showmelady Companion

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    Mar 23, 2016

    From the point of view of a sub........

    I have worked as a sub for about years. I have subbed for all grades, from K to high school, and for students with severe learning disabilities to the "gifted" kids, to those who go to alternative schools for behavior problems, so I have a LOT of experience.

    I really appreciate it when the sub plan is more or less the same schedule as the regular lesson plan. I do have the means to refuse an assignment if I would be uncomfortable with the subjects. For example, I usually refuse middle school math assignments, because it is very hard for me to watch students in those grades doing math by counting on their fingers (which sometimes happens)

    But for most assignments I can pretty well follow the regular lesson plan and as long as I take a few minutes before class begins to review the material, I don't have much trouble teaching the subjects.

    In my district many of the teachers do know when I will be their sub, many request me when they know they will be out for one or more days. (I recently did an entire week for elementary music).

    If the absence is anticipated I like the teacher to email me the lesson plan the day before if possible, so that I can see where we are going and also see if I may have some particular bit of info that I can incorporate into the lesson. For example, I have done some free-lance writing and when subbing for a writing class I shared with the students how they, if interested, might go about getting their own work published.

    Also, sometimes for the younger students, if I know they will be learning about something like (recently) polar bears and the arctic, I printed out pics of the animals to give out to the students as rewards for good behavior. I knew that one student who had behavior problems was also a gifted artist, and took some artist materials to class, and he was rewarded for his behavior with them at dismissal.

    The main things I always need are (1) lesson plan, (2) if a smartboard is used, info on how to access materials on it, and (3) lists of classroom procedures and the names of any students with behavior issues. I also want a complete class roster, the phone extensions for the office, ISR if that is part of the school discipline procedure, I check out the procedures for evacuation for fire drills and tornado drills. I also want to know what the procedure is for students to leave the classroom for any reason (do they need to go in pairs?), what the lockdown procedures is (I have been through three lockdowns), and are the classroom doors to be locked at all times.

    My first thing when I enter a class is to establish THE RULES! And when I know the rules the teacher has it is much easier. Things usually go smoothly from there.

    I LOVE my job, love the kids and am lucky to be a sub.
     

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