Substitute Plans Made Easy!

Substitute plans and sub tub

Substitute Plans for busy teachers

Writing substitute plans is one of my least favorite things to do. I hate waking up at 2am, feeling sick, and thinking please don’t let me be sick. I can’t write sub plans right now. Anybody else? It’s the WORST!

Substitute Plans: An Inside Look

I’m dedicating this post to sharing how I write my substitute plans without losing my mind. I’m going to share with you the contents of my sub binder, as well as what I put in my sub tub.

Substitute binder and tub

Plus, I have some freebies for you throughout this post!

Putting together your sub binder

For my sub binder, I used a ½ inch sized binder to house all of my information. I organize it into 4 sections: About Our School, About Our Class, Lesson Plans, & Class Forms. My sub tub is a 20-quart Sterilite container from Target. For my copies, I used colored expandable file folders (affiliate link) that you can find using my Amazon link or in most office supply stores.

Inside My Sub Binder: Lesson Plans

The “Lesson Plans” section is where I get the most questions. At my school, we don’t have to turn in our lesson plans (thank goodness), so simply leaving my plans for the sub is easier said than done. I don’t write out every single detail for myself, so I can’t just copy my simple plans and expect a sub to know what to do.

A look at my substitute plans

In my lesson plans section, I give a rundown/schedule for the day that is good for the ENTIRE year. I give all of the times that we do everything so routines stay the same. Instead of detailing what to do for the reading lesson for the day, I let my sub choose! They pick a read aloud and activity from my sub tub. This allows them to choose something they’re comfortable using!

Inside My Sub Tub

No, it’s not fluff.

My sub tub is full of engaging read alouds that I know my students will love,
as well as activities that are standards based. I don’t want my sub introducing a new concept, so most of the activities are review.

There are certain skills that my students can work on all year, and those are the types of activities I include.

They are not all just worksheets.

I include task cards, craftivities, and math games that are no-prep. I love adding some of my no-prep math games for addition and subtraction in my sub tub. 

Sub Tub

This year, after I chose all of the activities I wanted to put in my sub tub, I saved it for a parent volunteer to copy for me. She organized everything I gave her and put it in my tub for me. Win-win-win!!! 

At the end of my substitute plans, I write that if there is an assembly or special event for the day, someone from my grade level will let them know what time and where to be. I tell them that they may adjust the daily schedule and activities I have listed as they see fit. I also add daily reflection sheets for my sub so they can write a quick note to me about how the day went.

Substitute Plans

You can download a free sample of these substitute plans here!

Inside My Sub Binder: School Info.

In the “About Our School” section, I give the basic information about my school. This includes address, school start/end times, important phone extensions, and emergency procedures.

In the “About Our Class” section, I give details on routines, procedures, and expectations specific to my classroom. I share classroom specific details like our class line order, restroom procedures, sharpening pencils, etc. I also include important student information such as allergies or individualized behavior charts that they’ll need to use.

It’s important to explain a behavior management system for when you’re out. I leave index cards and small stickers in my sub tub. I tell the sub to give each student an index card to put their name on and then they earn stickers. My kids LOVE earning stickers! When I return, sometimes we’ll trade those stickers in for rewards. I also leave these “Substitute Reward Coupons” that are in the freebies section of Mrs. D’s Corner.

The last section of my binder is for “Class Forms.” In this section, I leave blank class lists for attendance and anything else a sub might want the class list for.

I hope you all found some helpful ideas and tips as you put together plans for your substitutes! It really is SO worth your time!  

You can snag the sign for your sub tub for free AND the free lesson plan template by clicking the picture below!

Free Sub Tub Cover

AND, if you’re in need of a sub binder, here’s the LINK to mine!



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