When you are too sick to teach, you are also too sick to drag yourself to school before dawn to create lesson plans, make copies, and organize for the day. Create Emergency Sub Plans so you don’t find yourself in this predicament.
Early in the school year, I restock my Emergency Sub Plans. I add worksheets, simple games, and packets that students can do if I am unexpectedly absent. The supply is large: it fills a crate-a-file. The selection is wide: I stock lessons in each of the major subjects, plus fun packets.
I supply the Emergency Sub Plans with lessons that students can complete at any time during the school year–nothing too difficult, whether it’s used in September or May. For math, I leave review worksheets with puzzles to solve or pictures to color after you do the math. For reading comprehension, I use fun worksheets with interesting passages and questions. For writing, I tend to leave draw-and-write activities that keep kids engaged with minimal help from the teacher. A favorite is to design a tree house, then write about it.
I also created Super Seatwork packets for my Emergency Sub Plans. These packets consolidate worksheets for the 3 R’s (reading, ’riting, and ’rithmetic) with fun worksheets involving dot-to-dot, hidden picture, puzzles of all sorts, mazes, and anything else I can find. The Super Seatwork packets are easy to grab if no sub is available and your class is split to spend the day with other teachers in the grade level.
Your Emergency Sub Plans can have more than just seatwork. I tuck fun read-alouds in the file so subs can read a story I know students haven’t heard. I have a separate place for simple games; I find them in file folder games books or books of reproducible board games.
You can leave a note for your sub to let the kids do special activities if it seems appropriate and they are behaving:
Educational board games
Free reading time (let the kids sit on the floor if they are being really good!)
Extra recess (a great way to make it through the last 20-30 minutes of the day)
Extra computer lab time (some schools have free space teachers can reserve: your sub could check before school, during special, or at lunch)
Spelling bee (leave a list or tell your sub where to find one)
Whatever else you can dream up!
IMPORTANT: don’t forget an ADMIN FILE in your Emergency Sub plans! Always have current copies of your class list, daily schedule, students who are pulled for special instruction, and especially allergies or physical conditions the sub needs to know about.
You might want to make notes in your lesson plan book to check the Emergency Sub Plans every few weeks or so.
IMPORTANT: make sure other teachers in your hall or grade level know where you keep your emergency sub plans. When you call for a sub the night before or day of your absence, send an email to the school secretary, copied to your grade level team, with instructions on your sub plans and notes for the day. Someone can print this and give it to the sub.
I hope Emergency Sub Plans help you as much as they have helped me.