It seems like an odd thing to do: plan to be sick. In fact, those of us who work in germ factories hope to avoid it at all costs. But it happens, precisely because we do work in germ factories. Twenty-thirty bodies jammed in one hot room, using the same door knob, pencil sharpener and desks often means that we are sharing more than our knowledge. So we need to go on hoping, but we also have to plan for that inevitable day when we wake up sick, with no lesson plan.
PLANNING AHEADWhat can you do to plan ahead, when you really don’t know what you will be doing in class at that point? Well, the first thing you can do is create a binder that has your class list, seating plans, class procedures, etc. Keep it easily accessible near your desk, so on those days when you have no energy (or coherent thoughts), you don’t have to spend anytime relaying that information. I have all of mine in a binder right at my desk (it wasn’t there yet when I took this picture!) You can grab the cover and spine I made for my binder: HERE
Ok, so your sub knows everyone’s name and where they sit, but roll call will only fill a few minutes. What then? Well, you can have a few one period lessons copied in the binder, ones that you don’t need to do, but would keep the kids occupied and learning while you are gone. You could include:
1. Grammar exercises
2. Writing activities that could be done at any time.
3. Interesting magazine or newspaper articles that they could read, discuss and respond to. (Here are some links you might want to check out: New York Times, Time Magazine, Kelly Gallagher’s article of the week)
4. If technology allows, there are many amazing TED talks that students could watch and discuss.
For both the articles and the videos, include a sheet of instructions that the sub could use. Students might be asked to summarize important points, write a detailed response or rebuttal, or they could do some creative writing based on the topic you have chosen. It would take you a bit of time to create these, but it would be time well spent. On the days when you need to stay in bed, they will be in your sub binder, ready to be copied, and you can rest, knowing your class will have something meaningful to do.
But what if you are at a place in your semester when you just can’t give the kids a “filler” exercise? What if you need to keep moving and keep them working on the text they have been studying? What do you do to keep the ball rolling while you get your must needed rest? Leave one of your great ideas in the comments –or a tip for staying healthy–and you will get a chance to win my Emergency Sub Plans, a product that has adaptable lesson ideas that focus on the texts that students are actually studying.
Stay healthy and check the linky below to get more great ideas:
History Gal says
I love that your plans are meaningful and that even though it is a sub day, it is not a wasted day!
Room 213 says
Thanks, History Gal! There's so much pressure in high school to get everything covered that it makes it hard to be sick. So, if we plan ahead we can feel better about staying home.
Pamela Kranz says
Germ factory- sooooo true! I kept wipes in the classroom and had kids wipe down their desks and pencils and door knobs and water fountain button, during flu season. I liked to think it helped. These are great ideas that could be used in my 6th grade class, as well! Thanks for sharing, Jackie!
Connie Casserly says
What totally comprehensive ideas for a sub folder. Your "The Sick Teacher's Savior" ideas are so adaptable, too. Love the graphic!
Charlene Tess says
I think leaving a folder of grammar exercises is a great way for students to review what you have taught. By the way, your web site design is really attractive!
Room 213 says
Thanks, Charlene. IT was done by Danielle at Crayon Box Designs.
Michele Luck says
Love all of your ideas to fill a sub day! I especially love the idea of having students read newspapers or magazines. That seems to be a lost art, but such a valuable lesson!
Joy Sexton says
You bring up a great point about wanting to "keep the ball rolling," Jackie. I like to have a variety of literature response work already copied that I can slip into a unit. If we've been studying literature, it makes it feel like that's what I had planned all along!
Addie Williams says
TedTalks and newspaper articles are great ideas for a Sub! It can be so hard if your sub isn't qualified in your subject area to leave something for them to do!
Amy Brown Science says
Thanks for the great ideas!!
Jenny Hall says
You can never have enough grammar lessons or writing prompts for practice! I don't know what your policy is at school but I have a diffuser and put essential oils that help fight sickness like On Guard, Melaleuca, or Lavender that I turn on either during my lunch break or after school if I'm staying late, that way the kids aren't bothered/distracted by it! I also have my students from my last class of the day sanitize the room! 🙂
Mrs. Spangler in the Middle says
I really like the ideas of saving news articles! They can be so controversial which is so engaging! 🙂
Brittany Naujok says
You have such great ideas. I love the news articles. I tended to be the teacher to keep the ball rolling by writing such detailed plans and leaving everything with sticky notes and times on them, you couldn't help but do it right as a sub.
Ms. Fuller says
Ted Talks are such life savers! When I had to sub for Statistics! Gasp! The teacher left a Ted Talk to watch– it was great and about visualizing and understanding data so I now use it when teaching about interpreting research.
Janice Malone says
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Janice Malone says
Thanks for the links to the great resources. Kelly Gallagher's articles of the week are my favorites!