There is nothing – NOTHING – worse than having to write sub plans when you’re too sick to move. Am I right? That’s why having an emergency sub tub full of no prep substitute plans has been a life saver the past few years!
A few years ago, my anxiety was at an all time high and I became obsessed with making sure I was ready for any absence. My stress was your gain because I prepped and planned and came up with the best system for organizing your sub plans!
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Organizing Your Emergency Sub Tub
I love this file folder organizer because it can easily store 3 days worth of emergency substitute plans. This purple one was from Scholastic, but I found a similar black one on Amazon.
I have different colored hanging folders for each day. Day one is pink, day two is orange, day three is yellow, and extras is purple. The neon folders I bought are currently out of stock, but I also found a rainbow version here.
The editable label is a FREEBIE in my store here!
For the file tabs, I printed them on colored paper, folded them over, and stapled them to the hanging files. You can grab them for free here. To edit them, make sure you open in Adobe Reader.
The labels are also color coded by day. Usually our day also includes science or social studies, but in my emergency sub plans I reserve that time for “social skills time” (AKA play time).
I keep three days of sub plans out and ready. Now, I switch out my substitute plans monthly to make sure that they are the best fit for my students.
If I do not use a month, I just take the copies and put them in my monthly storage tubs. Then I can just pull them out the next year and have them ready to go!
You can see the monthly storage bins in the picture above.
If you don’t want to switch them out monthly, you don’t have to, though! You could keep more generic substitute plans in there, like these nursery rhyme sub plans.
What to Put in Your Emergency Sub Plans
I keep plans and important information for the guest teacher in the first folder for each day. I also keep morning work in this folder.
For my sub plans, I just keep a template typed up on my computer. That way I only have to change the activities and print.
What Should I Plan?
I use my monthly sub plan packs to plan. Each month easily has 3-4 days worth of materials included.
In the literacy folder, I will keep a book (I try to choose one that I know I have an extra copy of), and a story map or reading response sheet like this. You can also leave the book out and allow the guest teacher to ask students to pick one of their favorite books from the classroom library.
I try to make these plans as low prep as possible. If I ever need to, I can just email the file to a teammate to print.
That’s why I love these cut and staple mini books! Students love making their own books and I don’t have to do a thing.
I try to not plan anything that will require my guest teacher to teach new information. Why?
1. These are emergency substitute plans. Who knows when they will actually be used?
2. It’s very rare that I will actually get a guest teacher. More than likely a specials teacher or admin will be pulled at the last minute.
That’s why I like things like cut and paste activities, roll and color, color by code, etc. They are high engagement for my students, but my guest teacher doesn’t have to explain a lot.
I do ask them to read stories and do songs in between so the whole day is not just printables!
A Simple Craft for Substitutes
Each of my monthly sub packs comes with a one page print-and-go craft! I usually plan this craft for day one to ensure it gets used if I am gone.
Classroom Management for Substitute Teachers
I don’t usually have a points or rewards-based classroom management system in my room, but I have found that it is helpful to have something for you guest teacher. They don’t have the opportunity to build relationships like you do, so they need something a little more exciting.
This substitute classroom management system is simple, but your students will love it!
They can earn stickers on the ten frame throughout the day. When it is full, they can earn a simple class prize like an extra recess, dance party, etc.