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Emergency Sub Plans for Elementary School: How to Keep the Students Engaged

substitute lesson plan bag
Canton Public Library (MI) / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

As a substitute teacher, you never really know what you are going to walk into. The classroom teacher may have left detailed lesson plans that tell you exactly what you should do with the students each minute of the day. On the other hand, you may walk into a classroom where there are no plans and it’s just you and the students staring blankly at each other. Because of this, you should always be prepared as a substitute teacher with emergency sub plans.

Create an emergency substitute bag

The bag you create is in a sense a portable classroom. You should pack things that you will need to use to teach kids of varying levels. The bag should contain activities, books, and other supplies that will help you get through a day of no or sub-par sub plans. Your bag should contain:

  • Stickers and other fun rewards
  • Books-story books that interest a majority of the kids, funny poetry, a how-to-draw book, and other books that you feel would interest children
  • Worksheets that appeal to students-brain teasers, word finds, math puzzles, and hidden picture worksheets can all be found easily online
  • A whistle (just in case you have recess duty or teach PE)
How to use the books in your bag
  • Read-aloud
  • Sequence the events
  • Draw a picture from the story or poem
  • Create an alternate ending, a different title or cover
Engage students

In order to keep the students happy and well-behaved, they should be occupied and engaged. You can use the items in your bag to compliment the plans left by the teacher if there is time, use them if there are no plans, or if the plans end early.

By preparing for your job as a substitute teacher, you can make your job easier and more productive. For questions on becoming a substitute or for more helpful information contact us and we would love to help.

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