Ep 192: Sub Plans That Are So Good, Even the Science Teacher Can Rock Them - EB Academics

Ep 192: Sub Plans That Are So Good, Even the Science Teacher Can Rock Them

At some point this year, it’s going to happen. You’ll get super sick unexpectedly, have a child or parent to care for, or be suddenly asked to attend a workshop. No matter the reason you’ll be out of the classroom, you need sub plans at the ready, so you don’t have to worry about your students while you’re attending to something else. Today, Caitlin and Jessica will show you just how to make these effective lessons!

You never know who your sub will be – they may not have any ELA experience at all – so you’ll want lessons that are relevant to your students but still achievable without much teacher direction. In this podcast, you’ll learn how to set your sub and your students up for success while you’re away. A day with a sub doesn’t have to be a wasted day! 

Listen in as Caitlin and Jessica show you how and why to build an emergency sub binder, then give you THREE ideas for rigorous and engaging packets that you can leave for your sub. We promise – your future self will thank you for using these great ideas!

Tune in now to hear:

  • [01:00] Caitlin talks about the need to have sub plans at the ready. 
  • [02:00] An ideal sub plan: a lesson that is relevant to students’ learning needs but does not require long or complicated directions. 
  • [02:40] Why sub plans do not have to (and often should not) be part of your current unit of study. 
  • [03:30] Jessica shares her experience in the hospital while pregnant, without any sub plans set up for a guest teacher.
  • [04:10] Jessica talks about how helpful it can be to have an emergency sub plan binder on hand, along with copies already made.
  • [04:30] Caitlin talks about the sub plan binder she created and used. Read the blog post about it here or watch the video here! Here are the components:
    • 1. Helpful information for your substitute teacher (things like a seating chart, bathroom/water break policies, student-specific accommodations, location of emergency information, etc.)
    • 2. A feedback form, so subs can you let you know how the day went
    • 3. Copies of activities or packets for the sub to pass out (make sure these are aligned to ELA standards and not too easy or too difficult)
    • Caitlin also explains how she tied in her sub plans with her 15-minute classroom management system to help students stay on their best behavior!
  • [10:00] Caitlin and Jessica share ideas for a sub plan activity packet you can make. These are standards-aligned packets that are independent of your current unit. Note: EB Teachers, you can pick these up with your free coupon code if you want these activities already made for you. Non-EB teachers can purchase them here. Otherwise, you can make them yourselves after listening to the rest of this podcast!
  • [11:00] Don’t forget to include an answer key or sample response key, so if students have questions, your sub has a tool to help guide them. (This does NOT mean you have to grade these packets when you return! For example, you can review the activities as a class when you come back, instead of giving yourself off-hours grading to do.)
  • [12:40] Packet idea #1: Aesop’s Fables. Find 4-5 Aesop’s fables online and leave student directions instructing students to identify the moral of each fable and justify their choices in writing. Not enough for a whole class period? Instruct students to write their own fable once they’re finished! They can trade with a classmate and identify and justify the morals of others’ fables.
  • [16:20] Packet idea #2: Transitions packet.Go online to find a list of transition words and phrases. Print these out, then find an article to print out for students. Create blanks in the article where students could place transition words/phrases from their list.Then extend students’ learning by having them write two paragraphs using their transition words and phrases. These paragraphs could be based on any topic and genre you’d like!
  • [19:30] Packet idea #3: Poetry packet. Go online and search for information about acrostic poems and golden shovel poems (with examples). Include this information in your packet, so students can read about these types of poems. Students will write their own acrostic, golden shovel, or both! (Note: For the golden shovel poem, you may want to include a simple poem or poems for students to draw their words from.)
  • [24:00] Final reminder: Get that emergency sub binder put together! Your future self will thank you. 

More helpful sub plan links for non-EB teachers: 

Emergency Sub Plans Part 1

Emergency Sub Plans Part 2

Emergency Sub Plans Bundle (Parts 1 and 2)

Click here to listen now!

Click here to watch on Youtube!

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Then, pick the date you’re going to teach it in your classroom, and sit back while you watch as your students show up to your classroom pumped about what the day holds…and gush about your class to their parents on the car ride home!

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