Wednesday, June 2, 2021

5 Tips for Writing Sub Plans

1. Be Explicit

Be very clear about what the sub should be doing and what the students should be doing. As the teacher, YOU expect that your students know what is expected of them and that they will follow those expectations when you’re not there……but this isn't always the case.
I’ve done my fair share of subbing in classrooms, luckily I know the teachers and their procedures. Too often than not, kids try to bend the rules and get away with things. It’s helpful to clearly outline all expectations so that the substitute knows exactly HOW students should be working (quietly at their desks? No walking around, etc).

Short on time and want to just get your plans done? Here are all the templates that I used to make my own sub plans.

2. Label and Organize 

Label all of your worksheets and assignments with post-it notes so that your sub. knows EXACTLY what to give out when. Be sure to use the same language in your plans as your labels, this helps to avoid any confusion. If you have several different assignments for one subject, you could use color-coded post-it notes and designate which color to hand out when. (Send home math homework-(blue post-it). 
Click here for a tutorial on how to print on sticky notes.

In addition to labeling everything, organizing all of your papers in the order that they are to be handed out is helpful for your substitute teacher. This takes out the guesswork and sets them up to avoid any confusion.

3. Student Transitions

Make it easy for your substitute to keep track of when students need to leave for special classes or services. In the designated time block, write out who needs to go where (and at what time). Use a different colored font so that it stands out. 
*Bonus tip: leave a note on the board so that older students can watch the clock and remind themselves. 

4. Plan for Quick Finishers

Provide your substitute with a checklist to keep track of which students finished what assignment. I always advised the sub to collect work back at the end of the block so that he/she could keep track of who is finished and/or who needs additional time.

Let the sub know what students should do when they are done with their work. It's helpful to include a list of activities your early finishers can do. Since the sub already has a list of students who need additional time to complete assignments, there won't be any issues for them to direct the quick finishers to the extra assignments.

*I also like to include a page in my sub plans that help the substitute come up with activities or things to do with the class with extra time. Sometimes lessons will finish earlier than expected, so providing them with a backup plan is always helpful! I include a one-pager with different activities and instructions as well as the estimated amount of time the activity will take, that way subs can choose which ones will work for them! If you'd like to take a look at that, it's included in my Emergency Sub Plans.

5. Be Concise

Too often than not, substitutes come to school right before the bell and often don’t have time to read through your entire set of plans. Be as clear and concise as possible. Include enough information so that they are clear on what to do, but don't add TOO MUCH wording/instructions as it may get glossed over as they are rushing to read through plans as students are coming in.

It helps to break up the text and blocks so that the subs can read through the information in chunks. 

Last but definitely not least, plan for emergencies! You never know when a bug will hit you hard or you find a dead car battery when you're already running late to work. Having a set of Emergency Sub Plans for those last-minute, unplanned situations that occur will save you A TON of stress! 

Set your plans up in an Emergency Sub tub or Binder. 

If you're a 3rd-grade teacher, I've got you covered fwith an already written and ready to assemble set of Emergency Sub Plans! All you need to do is add specific information to your class, students, and schedule using the editable pages! You can find that set here


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