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September 25, 2015

Substitute Teacher Folder Makeover

By Rhonda Stewart
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

    Returning back to school brings newly arranged classrooms and new students to get to know. As we settle into the daily routines of the school day, we sometimes forget to prepare for the unpredictable: being absent. Every year in my building, usually a week after school starts, an email is sent from the main office: Please update your substitute folder! This gentle reminder prompted me to take a look at my current substitute folder. There’s nothing wrong with it, I just think it needs a makeover. After a while, I tend to get bored looking at the same old thing and like to change things up. So, this time I am not altering the content of my folder, just the look of it.

     

    Possible Options

    In my previous blog posts, "Your Substitute Teacher Folder Checklist," and "New and Improved Substitute Teacher Folder," I shared content and strategies for creating an effective substitute teacher folder. For this post, I want to share my process of creating a “home” for my folder.

    I should say first that I am giving the folder a rest. It has served me well, but I wanted a change. Currently, I have been in a binder mindset. I was thinking of creating a substitute binder, but after much reflection, I thought it was too close to the look of the folder. In my heart of hearts, I knew I wanted something totally different. I thought, for instance, that I could use a milk crate with hanging folders, but that wasn't a good fit either. I also thought about using a basket, but wasn't quite sure how to make it over into a workable substitute folder system. I am still struggling with being artsy and crafty, and I felt like with a basket, I would lose a lot of time in making it look spectacular! I marvel at my fellow bloggers — Beth Newingham, Genia Connell, Lindsey Petlak, and Allie Magnuson are so creative with the craft activities that they use in their classroom! So for me, it is back to reality and to do what I know and to not over think it!

     
     

    And the Winner is . . .

    The deciding factors for creating a home for my sub plans was that it had to be easy to access, highly visible, and easy to identify, but not be in a place that would interfere with the routines in my classroom. I found a plastic storage organizer that had been collecting dust in my closet. It was just the right size and would not take up too much space on the counter. It had just the right amount of drawer space to hold materials that any teacher covering my class would need. This gave me the option of placing individual folders in the drawers or just placing the materials in the drawers. For labeling the drawers, I used Scholastic's Word Workshop. It's free and really easy to use and so much fun!

     

      

     
     

    I am still working on what I want to call the sub container. Sub Zone, Sub Kit, and Sub Toolkit were just a few of the titles I was pondering over. I have to make a decision. I will try out one of these ideas and see how it works. If I don't like it, I will just change it. I am open to suggestions! Do you have any ideas? Right now, Clifford the Big Red Dog is the mascot for the Sub Station until I can get a Dr. Seuss characters to call it home.

     

    Pearls of WisdomIt’s the beginning of the year. Remember to pace yourself and make time for something that brings you joy in your leisure time!

     

    A Quick Shout-out!

    I read every comment you leave on my posts and am grateful for each one. A few comments left on my previous posts about substitute teacher folders, have made their way into my classroom! So thanks to:

    •  Cari P., who includes health care plans as well as diabetes and seizures protocols given to her by the school nurse. It's important especially if the student is prone to seizures or is diabetic. 

    and

    • Richard H., who uses the term Guest Teacher instead of substitute. It carries a more professional title than substitute.

    Do you have any tips for making a creative "Guest Teacher" bin? Please share – I love hearing ideas that make all of our lives easier!

    Returning back to school brings newly arranged classrooms and new students to get to know. As we settle into the daily routines of the school day, we sometimes forget to prepare for the unpredictable: being absent. Every year in my building, usually a week after school starts, an email is sent from the main office: Please update your substitute folder! This gentle reminder prompted me to take a look at my current substitute folder. There’s nothing wrong with it, I just think it needs a makeover. After a while, I tend to get bored looking at the same old thing and like to change things up. So, this time I am not altering the content of my folder, just the look of it.

     

    Possible Options

    In my previous blog posts, "Your Substitute Teacher Folder Checklist," and "New and Improved Substitute Teacher Folder," I shared content and strategies for creating an effective substitute teacher folder. For this post, I want to share my process of creating a “home” for my folder.

    I should say first that I am giving the folder a rest. It has served me well, but I wanted a change. Currently, I have been in a binder mindset. I was thinking of creating a substitute binder, but after much reflection, I thought it was too close to the look of the folder. In my heart of hearts, I knew I wanted something totally different. I thought, for instance, that I could use a milk crate with hanging folders, but that wasn't a good fit either. I also thought about using a basket, but wasn't quite sure how to make it over into a workable substitute folder system. I am still struggling with being artsy and crafty, and I felt like with a basket, I would lose a lot of time in making it look spectacular! I marvel at my fellow bloggers — Beth Newingham, Genia Connell, Lindsey Petlak, and Allie Magnuson are so creative with the craft activities that they use in their classroom! So for me, it is back to reality and to do what I know and to not over think it!

     
     

    And the Winner is . . .

    The deciding factors for creating a home for my sub plans was that it had to be easy to access, highly visible, and easy to identify, but not be in a place that would interfere with the routines in my classroom. I found a plastic storage organizer that had been collecting dust in my closet. It was just the right size and would not take up too much space on the counter. It had just the right amount of drawer space to hold materials that any teacher covering my class would need. This gave me the option of placing individual folders in the drawers or just placing the materials in the drawers. For labeling the drawers, I used Scholastic's Word Workshop. It's free and really easy to use and so much fun!

     

      

     
     

    I am still working on what I want to call the sub container. Sub Zone, Sub Kit, and Sub Toolkit were just a few of the titles I was pondering over. I have to make a decision. I will try out one of these ideas and see how it works. If I don't like it, I will just change it. I am open to suggestions! Do you have any ideas? Right now, Clifford the Big Red Dog is the mascot for the Sub Station until I can get a Dr. Seuss characters to call it home.

     

    Pearls of WisdomIt’s the beginning of the year. Remember to pace yourself and make time for something that brings you joy in your leisure time!

     

    A Quick Shout-out!

    I read every comment you leave on my posts and am grateful for each one. A few comments left on my previous posts about substitute teacher folders, have made their way into my classroom! So thanks to:

    •  Cari P., who includes health care plans as well as diabetes and seizures protocols given to her by the school nurse. It's important especially if the student is prone to seizures or is diabetic. 

    and

    • Richard H., who uses the term Guest Teacher instead of substitute. It carries a more professional title than substitute.

    Do you have any tips for making a creative "Guest Teacher" bin? Please share – I love hearing ideas that make all of our lives easier!

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