I hate sub plans. I would rather spend the day dying at school than write them. They happen though. And I've been caught way too many times near death and had to struggle to get something written on paper so that the kids don't spend their day going all Lord of the Flies, lest my soul shiver to the sound of a distant conch shell... I think I hated that book more than the politics chapter in 1984, but whatevs, right? I really should turn lose of my sophomore year of high school at this point in my life. Sheesh.
Super teacher mode, though, remember? About a month ago when this whole push to actually be organized and interesting started- I made myself an emergency sub binder. When I hold it in my arms I ooooze smugness for myself. The pride of my one teeny tiny organized cell blows raspberries at the rest of my dysfunctional cells. Yes, it is impowering. Plus, my binder has an adorable picture of a guinea pig being pulled in a red wagon on the front- this pleases me to no end.
I set it up to be multi-functional. It'll keep the lesson plans I actually use, plus a general guide in case I'm in some sort of situation where I didn't plan my lessons ahead (and that is the general case), as well as basic supply needs for getting through any day.
I got plastic dividers that also have little pockets in them, so I can insert time fillers and what not as I come across them. My first section holds my daily cafeteria/office envelopes, menu, and lunch choice cards in the pocket- and then the section is my lists. General schedule, class list, bus list, phone directory for the school, phone directory for the kids. All of these pages are in page protectors, so I can make extra copies and include them in the pocket, and also change things out quickly if I make a change to the original.
My second section is called Basics- and I've written here the basic rules of the room. How the morning routine works when they come in, our restroom policy, when they can go to the nurse (NEVER), the behavior management system, partnerships (the sub might as well know the low down as to who should not be with who and why, as well as who they could choose to be together), how we line up for lunch and the bus, and emergency drills. All of this is also in page protectors so I can quickly change them out if I make updates.
The third section is routines (also in the page protectors). This is my gold mine section, because I break down the day to the level of what a sub could do if I really LEFT NOTHING for them. This is the section for when I meet with some horrible car accident and am in a dramatic coma, or get sucked up by aliens, or wake up with a kidney stone sort of situation. It specifically outlines how to do attendance and whatnot for the morning, how to handle Language Arts time if they don't have the skill set to run guided reading groups, but also HOW to run Guided Reading Groups if they want to go for it. How to manage indoor or outdoor recess, lunch and encore times. Running Math in a pinch. Making it through the last 40 minutes of Inquiry time- and how to get the stinkers packed-up and on the bus. This section will one day save my butt- of this I am sure.
The fourth section I just added tonight. I know there are only three weeks left of school- but I was irritated with my plan book I've been using all year- and it occurred to me that I'm better off creating something that fits my needs AND would live in this binder. That way, one day, when I wake up and find that the one teeny organized cell has multiplied and I've actually written down lesson plans more than a day in advance- they will be right here already in the binder for the sub to look at. I made myself a month at a glance page, a week at a glance page, and then double page spreads for a single day. I'll copy them front to back for a week at a time and put them in between the week at a glance pages. I like them now, because I gave myself plenty of space to be specific about my mini-lessons plus my guided group lessons. Instead of having binders all over the place I'll have everything all in one place.
There is still a last section available that for now I have blank. I think I'd like to get around to actually creating real "emergency" lessons that could just be pulled out of a page protector and ran with, you know? That's going to have to be a summer project though. I was thinking I could make up projects- single days of inquiry- into a thematic topic that I really don't get to cover in the regular curriculum. It would be good for the kids, I think, to occasionally be exposed to something extra. And if I make up, say twelve of them- then the sub can pick something that appeals to them. Like I said, summer project.
For days that I am prepared for ahead of time- I do have a sub plans template on my computer. The first time I write sub plans for the year I just save it and just rewrite in the blanks each new sub day. I have them for half days too, both am and pm- but I'm sort of hoping that one day, I'll have this binder so awesome, I'll never have to write them. Am I dreaming, or what? The challenge will be keeping myself from ever taking the binder HOME with me. I need to keep it at school ALWAYS. Which as I type I have it here on my lap right now, at home. Let's hope the aliens don't get me tomorrow morning. Shazam!