Teaching is the only job where it’s more work to be absent than it is to show up. Planning for a sub can be stressful and time-consuming. And with the sub shortage, all that planning and preparation might not even get used. But it’s important to leave subs plans and resources to keep the kids learning and engaged. That’s why we use our Sub It Up resources to make the day fun and meaningful and easy for us and the sub. In this post, I’m showing you how I organize my materials for a sub.
Organization And Access
For sub plans and materials to be effective, the stuff has to be organized and accessible. All of our sub materials are in a bin on a shelf. If I know I will be absent I set the bin on the table. If my absence is last minute, my team knows where the bin is located so they can set it out for a sub.
The bin is divided into sections. The first section is for informational materials. It includes rosters, schedule, classroom information, our dismissal chart, and name labels. There are multiple copies of each item so there’s no need to restock after a sub. Also in this section is a feedback form so the substitute can leave me any relevant information. I also leave a short note explaining anything the sub needs to know for the day and how to use the tub and materials.
The remaining sections are divided by months.
The dividers and name tag labels are from Amazon.
We designed our Sub It Up creation to be monthly so it’s easy to use based on the time of year. We divide our sub bin into months so a sub (or my teammates) can grab the materials for that month and follow the materials. We include the directions for each activity along with everything needed for that activity. We include the read-aloud, construction paper, etc. Basically, the bin is a one-stop shop for activities for the day. The materials are placed in order of the day so the sub can follow the schedule and pull out materials for each subject as needed. And yes, there is WAY more work than needed for the day but it’s important that a sub has too much to do with the kids!
So what’s included in our materials? We have easy prep activities that are all loosely tied to a theme. The first thing is directions for a morning meeting. There are directions for the greeting, activity, and message. All of this is very easy for a sub to throw together in the event I don’t have time to prep for an absense. And all of this is already done for you in our Sub It Up resource. You just have to print and you’re ready for a sub!
We include a read-aloud and activities to go along with the read-aloud. Again, these are easy activities that a sub can do with little to no prep. We print the directions for them to follow and all the materials are included. The activities are also consistent each month. This helps build some independence for the kids. For the read-aloud, they do a story map and write and draw about their favorite part.
For math, we include a spin and graph game (paper clips and golf tees for the spinners are included in the sub bin), and a number recognition game.
We also include some additional activities to fill the day with fun and learning.
We include 3 color by sight word pages for students to work on sight words. This can be a whole group lesson or students can work on these independently as well. Included in the Sub It Up resource are these pages and we include editable versions so you can make additional color by code activities.
Also included are cut apart puzzles. My class LOVES these puzzles. They’re also a great time filler but provide fine motor practice and counting and number recognition practice.
There is also a graphing activity. With this graph, I can prepare the chart ahead of time or the sub can simply use a marker to make the graph. We use sticky notes for our graphs so those are included in the sub bin as well. There is also a writing activity to do after the graphing is done.
So you can see that our sub plans are done. I have everything printed and organized for the year so I don’t stress being absent, especially at the last minute. Obviously, if the absence is extended, some additional prep would be needed. We include a section in the back of the bin that contains lots of extra work that can be used at any time. When I am absent my students do centers so they would complete an activity and then work in centers. So the materials aren’t necessarily depleted in a single day.
If you want to make your sub plans less stressful, grab our Sub It Up Year Long Bundle! All the work is done for you. Everything is explained and laid out so you just have to print and you’re ready for a sub!
For additional easy prep resources that help make planning for a sub easier, check out these creations! (These are the resources we use to compile the extra work section of our sub bin!)