How to Write Sub Plans for Guided Math

How to Write Guided Math Sub Plans that You Can Make Ahead of Time!

Imagine this: You wake up sick (or your child wakes up sick) at 4:00 am and you realize… there’s no way you’re going to make it to school in the morning. Time to make sub plans.

Now, would you believe me if I told you that it’s actually possible to run guided math even when you’re not there? Today I’m answering a few of the most common questions about how your students can stay on their typical guided math routine even when you’re out!

FAQ for Running Guided Math Sub Plans

Question: What will my plans look like for guided math when I have a sub?

Answer: When you’re out, keeping students on their typical routine is essential. If you have 3 math rotations (teacher table, independent work, math centers/games, etc.), keep your students on that schedule.

Image shows guided math notes for the sub.

In your sub plans, explain that your students will move through their typical rotations. However, we know that unless you have the sub of your dreams, he or she won’t know where you store centers, independent work, teacher table activities, etc. That leads us to the next few questions…

Question: What will the sub use to teach my small groups?

Answer: When students come to teacher table, provide the sub with a simple, no prep math game. Whether it’s fact fluency, place value, or something else, I suggest choosing a skill you’d like your students to review while you’re out. This will ensure that your sub doesn’t have to teach new content that your students aren’t ready for. Plus, students will stay engaged since they get to play a game!

I’d recommend choosing a game from these no prep math fact fluency games or these no prep place value games!

Image shows an example of a printable place value board game to use in your sub plans.
This is an example of a place value game that would be perfect to use with a sub!

Question: What will my students do when they aren’t at the teacher table?

Answer: Let’s move onto the independent rotations you use in your guided math. Because you never know when you’re going to need to take an emergency day off, plan ahead by copying class sets of independent work and math centers.

For your independent work, choose a skill you’d like your students to review. This will ensure your students aren’t struggling with new content while you’re out! These monthly no prep math printables have tons of options for students to use during the independent work rotation!

Image shows an example of a printable color by code worksheet.
You can find independent practice work just like this in my monthly no prep packets! This color-by-code page is from the May packet!

For your math centers/games rotation, consider providing another no prep math game for your students to complete for the day. Yes, just like a game they’re completing during teacher table – just pick another favorite!

Image shows an example of a printable subtraction partner game.
This is an example of a fact fluency game that would be perfect for students to play during math centers!

Your sub can introduce a simple game before starting rotations, so students know what to do. Better yet, choose a game you’ve played with your students before! This should minimize any issues with your sub trying to figure out where you store math centers and how students complete them.

Question: Should students still rotate through their typical rotations?

Answer: If your guided math runs like a well-oiled machine, then YES! Just be strategic in the activities you select for your class to use while you’re out! You can read more about my typical guided math rotations and see my student rotation charts in this post!

Question: Talk to me about storage… where do I keep these emergency plans?

Answer: After you choose the resources your sub will use while you’re out, grab a zippered pouch or velcro envelope and pop your plans in there. Use all your favorite organizational tools, sticky notes, paperclips, colored paper… whatever you have! Label everything so it’s clear as day for your sub!

Image shows a collection of resources for guided math sub plans including notes, activities, and math centers.

Plan today for the emergency sick day you might need to take soon! Here’s a quick review of some of the helpful resources mentioned in this post!

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