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January 17, 2018

Sub Day Plans: One and Done!

By Nancy Jang
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5

    There is a long-running joke among teachers that it’s more work to call in sick than to just go to work sick. Although we are dedicated to our jobs, we should follow the same rules we apply to our students. In our school district, if a student has a fever, is vomiting, or has anything contagious such as chicken pox, it has to be cleared for 24 hours before coming to school. That's why before you're at that point, make sure you have a sub system.

    Investing time into constructing a system while you're feeling well will save you countless hours in the long run, and you can even use the same system from year to year with just a few tweaks. Here’s how:

    1.      Use a general class schedule for the year.

    I keep a general skeleton schedule for myself that indicates when there are pull-outs and when I teach which subjects. I always make extra copies for my emergency sub tub.

    2.      Photocopy materials that can be used at any time of the year.

    For me, these are the worksheets that I have for different ways to practice our high frequency words in our English Language Arts program. I also throw in copies of a few different reading passages with questions about animals, people in history, and anything else I think that the kids might enjoy. If I have any issues of Scholastic News that I didn't get around to completing or social studies pages, I like to include a few of those as well.

    3.     Include read-aloud books.

    Choose at least six great books to read to kids, including at least one chapter book. Reading aloud to your class is not only a great activity in and of itself, but there are so many extension activities that a great book will inspire. The right book can be a launching point for a discussion, a journal, a story, and making connections.

    4.      Bookmark your teacher’s editions.

    Our new ELA program that we adopted has a fantastic digital planner and I love to use it, but for subs, I try and keep it simple. As I teach, I always use a small sticky note to mark the next lesson in each one of my teacher's editions. These teacher's editions live on top of my desk all day, every day. It seems like a small thing, but it makes life easier when a sub has to come in and teach. They can see where the sticky note is and teach the next lesson.

    5.      Print out daily lesson plans for every day of the week.

    I keep a skeleton outline of sub plans for every day of the week on my computer, but I also take the extra step and PRINT THEM OUT. I have a file box that has a folder for every day, Monday through Friday, and full sub plans for each of those days ready to go. In addition to the general schedule, I add a class seating chart, emergency procedures, rainy day schedule, school bell schedule, and roster for the class. These items are in the front sub folder, clipped to the sub tub.

    At the beginning of the new year, it only takes me about 20 minutes to restock the items in the bin, print the updated schedule for pull-outs, and then TA-DA, it's ready to go. Once a sub tub is set up, you can call in sick for one day, easy peasy, and even better, up to FIVE DAYS, WORRY FREE. No staggering out of bed nearly comatose, in a meds-induced brain fog to try and write coherent plans.

    So stay in bed, have some soup and crackers, take your medicine, and just be sick. No extra trips to school to set up for a sub. Get well soon!

    Happy Teaching,

    Nancy

    There is a long-running joke among teachers that it’s more work to call in sick than to just go to work sick. Although we are dedicated to our jobs, we should follow the same rules we apply to our students. In our school district, if a student has a fever, is vomiting, or has anything contagious such as chicken pox, it has to be cleared for 24 hours before coming to school. That's why before you're at that point, make sure you have a sub system.

    Investing time into constructing a system while you're feeling well will save you countless hours in the long run, and you can even use the same system from year to year with just a few tweaks. Here’s how:

    1.      Use a general class schedule for the year.

    I keep a general skeleton schedule for myself that indicates when there are pull-outs and when I teach which subjects. I always make extra copies for my emergency sub tub.

    2.      Photocopy materials that can be used at any time of the year.

    For me, these are the worksheets that I have for different ways to practice our high frequency words in our English Language Arts program. I also throw in copies of a few different reading passages with questions about animals, people in history, and anything else I think that the kids might enjoy. If I have any issues of Scholastic News that I didn't get around to completing or social studies pages, I like to include a few of those as well.

    3.     Include read-aloud books.

    Choose at least six great books to read to kids, including at least one chapter book. Reading aloud to your class is not only a great activity in and of itself, but there are so many extension activities that a great book will inspire. The right book can be a launching point for a discussion, a journal, a story, and making connections.

    4.      Bookmark your teacher’s editions.

    Our new ELA program that we adopted has a fantastic digital planner and I love to use it, but for subs, I try and keep it simple. As I teach, I always use a small sticky note to mark the next lesson in each one of my teacher's editions. These teacher's editions live on top of my desk all day, every day. It seems like a small thing, but it makes life easier when a sub has to come in and teach. They can see where the sticky note is and teach the next lesson.

    5.      Print out daily lesson plans for every day of the week.

    I keep a skeleton outline of sub plans for every day of the week on my computer, but I also take the extra step and PRINT THEM OUT. I have a file box that has a folder for every day, Monday through Friday, and full sub plans for each of those days ready to go. In addition to the general schedule, I add a class seating chart, emergency procedures, rainy day schedule, school bell schedule, and roster for the class. These items are in the front sub folder, clipped to the sub tub.

    At the beginning of the new year, it only takes me about 20 minutes to restock the items in the bin, print the updated schedule for pull-outs, and then TA-DA, it's ready to go. Once a sub tub is set up, you can call in sick for one day, easy peasy, and even better, up to FIVE DAYS, WORRY FREE. No staggering out of bed nearly comatose, in a meds-induced brain fog to try and write coherent plans.

    So stay in bed, have some soup and crackers, take your medicine, and just be sick. No extra trips to school to set up for a sub. Get well soon!

    Happy Teaching,

    Nancy

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Susan Cheyney

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