My Sub Plans

I mentioned in my Love Hate Relationship with Sick Days post that I generally develop a basic set of plans at the beginning of the year.  Throughout the years my plan book and sub plans have changed.  I used to have a folder for my subs that I kept in the office or in a specific place on the bookshelf behind my desk, then I graduated to a 3 ring binder, now that 3 ring binder keeps my all of my information so it stays on my desk.

During the last year I spent in my previous district my former partner teacher had become a sub, long story, I was so incredibly lucky that she was able to sub for me frequently and our team was thrilled that she was able to cover the maternity leave of our science teacher.  Each time she came in I was able to ask her what she thought about my plans compared to those of other teachers she had subbed for, I was able to really improve my plan book.

So here’s a breakdown of my plan binder:

  • General information – Master calendar for the school year, school map, evacuation routes map, school-wide expectation chart, and specials master schedule as I am a specials “teacher” (reminder my actual position is classroom assistant but I teach technology which is a specials class), in the past I have had short instructions for common drills but my building has a 3 ring binder especially for that so I just keep it near my desk in an easy to spot place

  • rosters and seating charts – this is pretty self-explanatory but I keep complete rosters of all of my classes here so I have to them for quick reference during drills, I also try to keep current seating charts for each class (I’ve been in classrooms where teachers did not leave seating charts and subs have to call on students by saying things like “you in the purple shirt” “the boy in the back” This just bothers me kids should be called by name.)

  • plans – again self-explanatory these are my master plans which are often in shorthand that only I understand, I e-mail the detailed sub plans to the sub, administrators, and secretaries (gotta cover the bases and make sure the plans are available)

  • attendance and pick a stick tracking – I use pick-a-stick as part of my classroom management, I have a cup of numbered popsicle sticks, at the beginning of class I draw a stick and watch that child, I don’t ever tell the class who it is until the end of class and then only if that student had a good day because they then get to pick a dance from my Pinterest Classroom – Movement board or color in an additional key on the golden keyboard, when the keyboard is filled in the class earns a game day (these directions are always part of my sub plans as well), I mark the date next to the pick-a-stick students name on the chart

  • think sheets – I have two different think sheets in my binder, both specific to my school, one for younger grades which requires drawing a picture of what happened and one for older grades where they answer questions in sentences

  • behavior sheets – we have two different behavior sheets in our building, one is a half sheet that shows the steps taken that day it follows the student class to class the other is an office referral form for those straight to the office behaviors like fighting, physical violence, and threatening

My basic sub plans always start with the classroom management system, a quick explanation that is, then I go class by class giving the time of the class, grade level and teacher’s name and where students are coming from or if the sub needs to pick them up somewhere, I then give pretty specific instructions for the class (my sub plans tend to be several pages), I end with when students should sign out of the computers and where they are going.  After that all I need to do is fill in the blanks with specific plans.  Here are a few examples from my last set of sub plans:

10:40 – 11:10 4A: They should come in from PE and take out their folders from the file cabinet right away, in their folder they have a packet on computer viruses.  We have already completed the first and second pages.  They need to complete the quiz on page 3 but as it’s been a while since we’ve seen the video, please go to Brain Pop (username: *********   password: *******) and show them the computer viruses movie, they can then take a few minutes to complete the quiz on paper.  After that do the quiz online please and have them check their answers as they go.  Next go to,  click KIDS, it will take you to a signpost, if you hover the mouse over the wooden right arrow you will get a list of places, select Episode Theatre, when you get there click the arrow to go inside, the side box with the fish (that’s Sprat) is what you want: the interactive episode, feel free to stop for discussion when the pause appears on the screen but be warned even when you click the pause it may not stay that way.  If there is time after the video is done, go back to the episode theatre by clicking stop and show the music video, the lyrics are on the back of the packet.  And if there is still time they may each pick a virus or other bad computer thing (phishing, pharming, spamming).  At 11:08 they need to put their packets back in their folders and put their folders in the correct space in the file cabinet drawer.  Please remind them of this as some have the tendency to just drop their folder in anywhere then are unable to find it at the beginning of the next class. They should line up by the door starting at the tape line on the floor and watch for their class to come down the hall from strings, as their class passes by they will walk out and join them.

12:40 – 1:10 Teacher 2nd grade: Meet the students at the door as their teacher drops them off.  Ask them to go sit at their computers but NOT to log in just yet. First students need to get a pencil out of the supply box by their computer and sharpen it if necessary, then they need to flip their keyboard so they cannot see it.  Please hand out a blank keyboard worksheet, they have 5 minutes to fill in as many letters and numbers as they can, there is a timer on my desk.  This is just a quick assessment to see how they are doing, we will be doing this again so please tell them to relax and just do their best it’s perfectly ok if they don’t know it all, I don’t expect them to at this point, we will keep working on this for the rest of the year.  Then after you have collected their papers they may sign in to the computer.  If they are not done with Dance Mat Typing that is where they should go, when they finish a level they may put a sticker on the chart, if they have completed Dance Mat they may go to and play any typing game but they must work on keeping their fingers on the correct keys. Should they need a reminder of where they are on Dance Mat they may go check the chart on the back wall by the file cabinet.  Please have them log off starting at 1:05 if the pick a stick student has done well today share who it was and ask them what Just Dance Kids song they would like to dance to from some of those videos don’t play on Pinterest but if you click through to youtube they will work, they should line up in number order at the tape line, please walk them to PE where you will also pick up your next class.

These are not my most detailed plans but they give you the idea of what I usually do.  So what about you teachers, what do your plans look like?



  1. This is wonderful information. I was substitute teacher for 15 years while my sons were younger, and the lesson plans left for me made all the difference in the students’ attitude and mine! Therefore, during my last 10 years of teaching, I ALWAYS made extensive lesson plans including many of the same elements you’ve detailed above. I sure hope current teachers follow your blog.

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