Ideas for Substitutes: Engaging Children with ADHD by Playing to Their Strengths

Life Mental Health / Foter /  (CC BY 2.0)

Any substitute teacher walking into a classroom will probably have at least one child with an ADHD diagnosis in the room, no matter the age group. According to the CDC, about 10% of students ages 3 – 17 have been diagnosed with this disability.  Instead of having to deal with it, or even fear it, embrace the children who struggle with this issue by knowing their strengths. Then keep them in the back of your mind so that when a child is struggling, you can come up with ideas for substitutes to help them succeed.

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Substitute teacher ideas for Classroom Management

Being a substitute teacher in a new classroom (which is more often than not!) can be a challenge because you’re confronted with a class of students with whom you have not bonded and with whom you are unfamiliar. However, according to an article on teaching in, there are some good, simple substitute teacher ideas for managing a classroom that might make that first time a little easier.

First, when entering an unfamiliar classroom, it behooves the substitute teacher to identify the students who are disposed to be helpful. Among the class clowns and the usual discipline problems there are a few who will be able to assist you in finding classroom materials and can help to keep things running smoothly. If you are able to visit with the regular teacher beforehand, he or she will be able to help you identify these students.

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Free Teacher Resources: Lesson Plan Libraries for Math, Social Studies, Science and Reading

Bryant Park
Ed Yourdon / Foter /  (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

When it comes to free teacher resources, substitute teachers should really be more on the ball than permanent teachers. After all, subs don’t have the benefit of access to all the resources available to those with a tenured gig. Check out the vast wealth of tools available for use by substitute teachers out there that are all completely free. 

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Three Overlooked Sources for Substitute Teaching Resources

ciro@tokyo / Foter / (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Woe to the substitute up late the night before a lesson combing the internet for free handouts and reproducibles. With just a little bit of extra effort, it’s possible to glean excellent substitute teaching resource material on your own by looking no further than three oft-overlooked sources.

Three Overlooked Sources for Substitute Teaching Resources:

1) Public Libraries. Although it is easier in a pinch to resort to online searches, online searches can often return results that are hit and miss, and the information’s accuracy can be spotty. Books, however, due to the nature of the editorial accountability, are much more reliable guides. Setting aside one Saturday morning per month to research and glean data from books at your local library may seem time-consuming, but it is a smart move that will pay rich dividends in the long run.

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Substitute Teacher Ideas: What Happened During April?

San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge

Photo credit: davidyuweb / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

So here it is April, the school year is almost over and you have just about used up all your best substitute teacher ideas. What to do? The answer is right there in front of you. Turns out April has been an exceedingly fruitful month through the years for events capable of being turned into assignments.

Mr. Howard and the Dirty Little Coward

The year was 1882 and April in Missouri didn’t seem to be starting out as the last that Jesse James would live to see. While living quietly at home under his non-bank robbing nom de plum Mr. Howard, Jesse James picked probably the worst moment in history to dust off a framed picture. The result was a bullet to the back of his head from Bob Ford. April 3, 1882 launched a legacy that provides multiple teaching possibilities.

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Obviously, People From Texas Eat Squirrels: Teaching Kids The Value of Mnemonics

Funny Lass
Tomi Tapio / Foter / CC BY

One of the most valuable teaching ideas for substitutes to keep in their back pocket is the memory tool known as mnemonics. Why is this a valuable teaching idea for substitutes? Because you can use it with students of any grade and in just about any class.

Teaching mnemonics is also a great idea for subs because it may be one of the few things you can teach during your limited time with students that they can actually use for the rest of their academic career. Finally, of all the ideas for substitutes that you may come across, a lesson in mnemonics will almost certainly rank near the top when it comes to you and the students having fun. These are just a few ideas to get you started. The fun comes in getting the students to come up with their own examples for something they need to remember for an upcoming test or quiz.

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Three Easy and Unexpected Tips to Being a Better Teacher

On the platform, reading
moriza / Foter / CC BY

If interviewed, probably every classroom professional would admit the desire to be a better teacher. For this reason, teachers attend seminars, work on professional development, undergo evaluations, and study to stay current in their respective fields. There are, however, three easy and unexpected changes that most teachers can make right now in order to be better teachers.

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The Substitute Teacher Dilemma: How to get more jobs…

Çocuk parkı
Foter / CC BY-SA

Once you have had your first few subbing opportunities under your belt, you can’t help but wonder how to get more jobs. Many school districts try to send out notifications to everyone so that all substitute teachers have an “even playing field,” but you know there are certain subs that seem to be called all the time, and you want to be in that group.

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Three Benefits of Collaborative Professional Development

Inspiration Is Contageous ~
Viewminder / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Teachers are under constant pressure to stay on top of developments in their own fields. They read blog posts, books, and magazine articles. They attend seminars. They keep themselves apprised of current research and discoveries, often sharing what they are learning with colleagues who teach similar subjects. Because this process is often time-consuming, many teachers find little time left over for collaborative professional development.

This is a shame, really, because collaborative development offers benefits that cannot be found any other way.

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Substitute Teaching in Special Education

So happy =)
horizontal.integration / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

For many special education teachers, getting a substitute when they are gone can be a real struggle. People feel uncomfortable dealing with kids they do not understand, and many people form stereotypes about special education children. This misconception has led many people to avoid substitute teaching in special education classrooms. It is important to understand special education is not a part of the school to fear but a place where you can have great substituting experiences. In most schools, special education will be divided into different levels to accommodate the different students’ needs.

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