Need Sub Plans? We've Got You Covered!

It was my third year of teaching when I had my little girl and decided to take a break from the classroom and sub for the year while I worked more as a stay-at-home mom.  I limited myself to just a couple days a week and stayed in the upper elementary grades where I thought I would feel more comfortable.  Boy was I wrong!

Soon I was getting regular call backs to the same 4th grade teacher's room.  Mrs. Sampson was a phenomenal teacher who kept her class in order and produced amazing results, so I thought nothing of subbing for her.  That was until I got there and realized 4th graders are a whole different breed of animal from the 6th graders I was used to.  After 3 days of being bombarded by stuffed animals in shoe boxes, make believe friends, and petty he said-she said fights, I said no to anymore of Mrs. Sampson's sub requests.

It wasn't all a lost cause though, because Mrs. Sampson taught me just what to do when I had a sub, and it's something I've followed ever since.

1. Type up detailed plans for the day.  Assume nothing and explain everything and you'll come back to much fewer headaches.

2. Layout all your materials for the day in chronological order and better yet, label them and put sticky notes on the pages that will be needed.

3.  Leave a list of kids that can be counted on and kids that need extra attention.

4. Include more material than you think will be needed.  Subs don't tend to teach as in-depth and with as much passion as you may like, so they'll tend to get through material faster than you may have planned.  Make sure they have plenty to keep them busy.

With that in mind, my color by number sheets have been called the perfect sub activity repeatedly.  They come in 13 different skills for any age from kinder all the way up to 8th grade and cover every month of the school year.  They can be purchased individually by sheet when you just need something quickly for one day.  Or better yet you can get a Monthly Bundle of one particular skill if it's something you need to master over the course of the year.  With these in your back pocket, you're bound to have plenty to keep the kids busy, just in case.

 Check My Categories for the Coloring Pages

5. Include a sub-folder which has all your copy codes, emergency numbers, teaching cohorts, and more.

6. Have a friend or a co-teacher be willing to step in and check on how things are going, answer questions, and take control if things are going awry.

Hopefully by following these 6 steps and gathering some go-to sub folder lessons of your own, it won't be such a pain to call in and take a sick day the next time you're feeling under the weather.

Thanks to the ELA Buffet and Desktop Learning for putting this fun and informative blog hop together.
product links:


  1. All of your ideas are good, but #3 is especially helpful.

  2. Yep. I nodded my head all the way through your list of what to do. Over-planning and sticky notes - a must!

  3. Planning for more than you think you'll need is a great tip. We want to keep them busy!

  4. Great ideas for a successful day with a sub!

  5. I subbed before I became a teacher and learned a trick or two from that time. You're right - it's all about keeping them engaged! :)

  6. What a nice tribute to Mrs. Sampson. I love numbers 4 and 6-crucial!

  7. A great list of what to have in your sub folder! Thank you!