You wake up and it's 5 am. Stuffy nose, sore throat, hacking cough-great. You thought you could make it one more day, but you feel miserable. Now you have two choices; take all the meds you can find in the medicine cabinet and tough it out, possibly risking making yourself worse; or wake up and try to cobble together some sub plans to send over and text your teammates hoping they can make some copies for you. Neither choice is ideal.
Ah sub plans, besides grading, probably the worst nightmare of every teacher. Waking up sick with nothing lined up for kids to do. I see it all the time in memes on Instagram, comments on Facebook. "It's better to drag yourself to work sick then make sub plans."
Whenever I see this comment I am genuinely confused. When I am sick, I stay home. Period. Not because I am some miracle worker who can whip up sub plans, but because my sub plans have been made and ready to go since August. They don't change.
This post is all about setting up reusable sub plans that will actually allow kids to get some work done, will take you maybe an hour to prep one time, with some maintenance mid-year, and then you set it and forget it. Kinda like a Crock-Pot! The next time you get sick you can take a blessed break without worrying about plans. Doesn't that sound lovely?
Ingredients for Crock-Pot Sub Plans
Some of this may take awhile to gather and sort out, but let's pretend it's the week before school starts and you're doing this in August. It can be done now, wherever you are in the school year, just don't get sick yet!
Putting It All Together
Here is the link to my emergency sub plans for the sub. This the bones of the operation, and I have gotten excellent feedback from many subs saying they are very thorough and easy to follow. All of the ingredients we gathered will be put together in this format. When you click on the link it will prompt you to make a copy. Be sure to read through them one time, and take note when I say to enter your specials schedule, daily schedule, etc. Sometimes I like to print them in color and laminate them for re-use.
These will go in a binder in the front. Next should be a print out of your daily schedule, split class list, duty schedule, Go Home List, and Pull-Out schedule. These are just for reference.
I like to put all my nurse passes, buddy slips, band-aids, and Caught You Being Good tickets in a plastic pencil case with binder holes and a zipper top in the very front of the binder.
I do not usually include a class list because our school gives a current one to every sub when they check in.
Ding! Supper's Ready!
At this point you're probably thinking, "Thanks for the free file Mae, but I still don't have anything for the kids to do! Where are these amazing reusable plans?!"
Here is where I am going to tell you to hop over to TPT and put in the search box "Reusable Sub Plans" or "Emergency Sub Plans." The idea is the same for them all, so you could easily make your own, but if you are like me then we are too lazy for that! Basically kiddos need a fiction book, any fiction book will do. In the past I printed fiction books on Reading A-Z to have ready, but I got too lazy for even that. So now I just prep my kiddos and tell the class "If a sub is here use a fiction book from your Book Box with the packet." I have also found ones where kiddos use a specially created website to search for different facts. It is well worth the money, I promise!
The worksheets you will find on TPT will cover things like characters, setting, writing, word study (how many nouns in your book, verbs, etc.) Almost all use the fiction book for math and science as well (graph how many times the word "the" and "very" and "and" are in your book.) It's genius really. I like to put the packet in order of our normal schedule, so if the first thing we usually do is writing, then the first page on the packet is the writing page. I always make sure to tell the sub in my plans to model the page and pull a small group, and I give the sub name of who to pull. There is nothing worse than my IEP kiddos struggling when I'm not there!
Once you set it up and throw all the printed packets and the binder into a tub, that's it. You're done. All you ever need to do is refresh the packet. Some plans are even multi-day ones for when you have a nasty flu.
I like to include my password to GoNoodle so my kids aren't doing seat work all day (which we all know breeds misbehavior) so be sure to put in the emergency sub plans when would be a good time to take a brain break or go outside for 5 minutes.
Brenda Kovich Independent Learning Modules Grades 3-5
Clutter-Free Classroom Emergency Sub Plans Bundle Grades 1-5
Teaching Made Practical Reusable Sub Plans Grades 3-5
History Gal No Prep Sub Plans Grade 8-12 World History
I really hope this post is clear and helpful. I want all my teachers to feel confident in their sub plans so that they can actually STAY HOME when they are sick!
I'm Mae and I am an instructional Coach, 5th Grade ELA teacher, and Thinking Maps trained.