6 Tips for Planning for a Substitute Teacher
Whether you know you’re going to be absent or are unexpectedly out from school, planning kindergarten sub plans can be stressful. There’s a lot to think about between class information, easy prep activities, time fillers, and more. These tips for prepping for a sub will make your life and your sub’s life easier whenever you’re out.
Tips for Planning Kindergarten Sub Plans
You never know when you’ll have to be absent from school, whether it’s a stomach bug, appointment, or family emergency. Therefore, it’s best to always be prepared for a sub.
Some schools require teachers to have back-up lesson plans and some don’t, but it’s better to have your sub plans ready for anytime you’re in a pinch.
Having back-up kindergarten sub plans makes life easier when you’re planning to be out, are gone half a day, or even on the days where you just don’t feel great.
Tip #1: Have a folder with all important class information.
It’s important to provide subs with all the important class and school information they’ll need (or could need).
- Class list
- Class schedule
- School map
- School staff contact list
- Emergency folder with evacuation procedures
- List of allergies, medications, and medical issues of your students
- Transportation list for bus riders, car riders, kids that walk home with siblings, etc
- List of where to find important items
- Class rules and procedures
- List of specials teachers and teacher’s aides and/or paras you work with
- Technology instructions, procedures, and passwords
- Any other notes, such as helpful students or students who may need extra guidance
Be sure to revisit and update this information throughout the year so subs always have the most current and accurate information. It’s especially important if students change the way they go home and/or you get new students.
After you compile this information into a sub folder, tell someone, such as a teacher on your grade level team or a neighbor teacher where to find the folder in case you’re out unexpectedly.
You can also give them a back-up copy or provide your school secretary with a back-up copy.
Tip #2: Create a set of lesson plans that a sub can use in a pinch.
Creating a set of kindergarten sub plans that a guest teacher can use in a pinch will ensure your bases are always covered.
Plan and prepare 3-5 days worth of basic, low to no-prep activities for each subject to get them through the days in case you have to be out for more than one day unexpectedly.
You may want to tweak the activities you include monthly or quarterly to match the skills you’re working on.
Make copies of the activities ahead of time so you’re always prepared. You can even prep them at the beginning of the year. If you don’t use them all, you can use them as review later on or for next year’s sub plans.
Tip #3: Be detailed in your lesson plans.
The more detail you can give in your kindergarten sub plans, the better.
Think of any possible situation or question a sub may have, such as:
- Where do I find manipulatives?
- Do students stay at their seat or move around?
- Where do I put the completed work?
Include that information in your lesson plans. Always give options for what students can do if they finish early. Activity mats and games they can play are great to include.
If you follow a curriculum and there are parts of the lesson you skip or tweak, let them know in your notes.
Tip #4: Create a sub tub to place everything in.
Place everything your sub will need in a large tub or crate, including your 3-5 day set of lesson plans, your folder of important information, and any materials/activities they need for the lesson plans.
Having it all in one place will keep you (and them!) organized. If they will need additional supplies that don’t fit in the crate, leave a sticky note telling them where to find them in the classroom.
You can also leave time fillers, such as read aloud books, brain break ideas, and quick time filler games to pass the time if needed.
Leave one day’s worth of lesson plans and activities in a smaller sub tub and the subsequent days in a separate tub. These tubs can stack inside the larger crate.
Ask a neighbor teacher to set each day’s lesson plans and activities out so your sub doesn’t get confused. This is especially helpful if you have a different sub each day.
Do this in return for your teacher friends. Teachers always have to have each other’s backs!
Tip #5: Include a classroom management tracker.
Classroom management is one of the most nerve-wracking parts of having a sub. It’s natural to wonder if your students will behave, follow directions, and respect the guest teacher.
The key is to keep your behavior management plan consistent by including a classroom management tracker for your sub to use with your students.
This tracker should state what the class reward is that the students are working towards. Maybe they are working towards earning 5 stickers as a whole group in order to get 5 extra minutes of recess when you return.
This is a great way for the sub to keep track of their behavior and leave feedback.
Tip #6: Ask the sub to leave feedback.
When you’re absent, you’re likely thinking about how your students are doing and wondering how the day is going.
In order to stay in the loop, ask your sub to leave a note about how the day went and if they got through all of the activities and lessons you had planned.
This will help you praise your students and have conversations with those that may have needed extra reminders. It also lets you know what activities they did and didn’t get through.
Emergency Kindergarten Sub Plans
If you’re looking for easy prep kindergarten sub plans for the year so that you’re always prepared for the unexpected, check out this Plans in a Pinch bundle.
This year-long resource has everything you need for your emergency sub plans (or anytime you’re in a pinch).
This sub plan resource features:
- Binder covers and storage labels
- Editable sub forms, such as class lists, schedules, procedures, and dismissal routines
- A classroom management tracker
- Literacy, math, and writing worksheets
- Science and social studies activities
- No prep math and literacy activity mats
- Time filler games and activities with optional follow up pages
- Teacher led Listen and Color activities
No more stressing over lesson plans or throwing activities together when you don’t feel good. With these tips and kindergarten sub plans, you’ll be covered all year long.
Do you have a helpful tip for preparing for a sub? Comment below or come share it in our Kindergarten Teacher Facebook Group.