How to Build a Sub Kit

I got the idea for Sub Kits from The Baby-sitters Club.  The girls created Kid-Kits containing board games, art supplies, books, toys—whatever they thought might interest their charges.  The items in the Kid-Kits did not have to be new, they just had to be new to the kids.

The girls only brought the Kid-Kits on some of their jobs.  This kept the kids on their toes and kept the baby-sitters from having to lug around those boxes all the time.  After all, if you have an after school job with the Papadakis kids across town by Kristy’s mansion, you might not have time to run home and grab your Kid-Kit.

Click here to see the contents of the girls’ Kid-Kits at the official Baby-sitters Club site.

I developed quite a sub kit during my subbing days.  I had a class set of Archie comics that I had found at a used book sale for a quarter apiece.  I had about a dozen Choose Your Own Adventure books from the 80s, also from used book sales.  I rounded that out with simple worksheets I found or made.  One of the most popular was make-your-own comics.  I could keep a whole class quiet with that activity for at least an hour.

Subs, consider making your own sub kit.  Teachers, consider setting aside some supplies, fun worksheets, read aloud picture books, games—whatever, just make them only for sub days.

Here are some ideas:

  • Picture books that make a great read-aloud regardless of the season (our all-time favorite is The Dumb Bunnies’ Easter)
  • Instructions for the sub to ask students to write a summary of the story, write a new ending, write a letter ot the character—whatever seems appropriate.  If necessary, soak up time by letting students illustrate their work
  • Fun worksheets from follow-directions books or I’m Through! What Can I Do?
  • A bingo game (multiplication bingo, president bingo, etc)
  • Word searches, mazes, crossword puzzles, Sudoku—any sort of puzzle
  • Art supplies for a simple project (leave behind a bio of a famous artist and let the kids imitate the style, have kids illustrate paragraphs or sentences, whatever)
  • Movies—for example, Balto is in our reading book.  I tell the kids that I am putting the Balto movie in emergency sub plans.  Some day during the year, I will be out with no notice to the kids, and they can watch Balto.

Have fun with your sub kits!

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Posted in Classroom Management,First Year Teachers,Substitutes,Tips for Teachers by Corey Green @ Nov 22, 2013


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