Planning for a substitute in a self contained classroom can be a daunting task. Sometimes it can feel impossible to plan enough for you classroom when you have to be out. Let me help you make it simple by sharing my tips and tricks I’ve learned!
My biggest tip on planning for a substitute in a self contained classroom is to make a sub binder. I started doing this a couple years ago, and it has made planning for a substitute a breeze! I prep everything in the beginning of the year so it is ready to go any time I need to be out of school.
In this blog post, I will go through the different sections I’ve added to my sub binder. To get started, you’ll need a binder (affiliate link), page protectors (affiliate link), notebook (affiliate link), and sticky notes (affiliate link). You can find all these items on Amazon.
The first section in my sub binder is a welcome letter to my substitute. I use the Substitute Binder resource from Simply Special Ed that comes with a welcome letter. You can find it here. It is a nice way to make your substitute feel comfortable and appreciated when the sub in your classroom. Always make sure to thank your substitute!
Class Roster and Contact Information
The second section of my substitute binder is my Class Roster. On my class roster page, I include each student’s name, grade level, general education teacher, transportation, and any allergies the student has. I also include the student’s picture so the substitute can put a face to the name for each student. This is especially important in my self-contained classroom.
The next page I include is Contact Information. I include my cell phone number and email address, the front office phone number, the phone numbers to my neighboring teachers, and my paraprofessionals phone numbers. I want to make sure my substitutes have all the support and information they need.
Written Substitute Plans
Next, I include my Written Plans for a substitute. This is an extremely detailed document about my classroom, students, schedule, procedures, and routines. This document is typically a few pages long each year. Like I mentioned earlier in this post, I prep my substitute binder at the beginning of the year. The only time I have to retype anything on this document is if I have a change in my classroom. It is very simple to make the quick change and reprint.
Classroom Zoning Plan
The next section in my sub binder is my Classroom Zoning Plan. This is the schedule my classroom follows all year. You can find a template for scheduling in the self contained classroom here. I map out each time block of our day to include the activity and what each person in the classroom should be doing at that time. This system is great for me and my staff to use, and it is easy for a substitute to pick up and follow what I would be doing during each time block. Check out Alyssa’s blog post here for more on Special Ed Scheduling.
Notes from the Substitute
Next, I put a Notes from the Sub section in my substitute binder. I put a notebook in this section so my substitutes can leave my any notes about the day or their contact information if they would sub for me again in the future. Having a notebook in my sub binder has been a great way for me to get any information I need to know that happened while I was out. It is also the home for all my preferred substitute contact information.
The last section of my substitute binder is an Extra Activities bank. I print and copy enough of each activity for all my students, then I label each activity with sticky notes. I typically print activities from Unique Learning and News-2-You. This is another section I can prep at the beginning of the year and refill as it is used on the days I have a substitute. It makes prepping extra activities a no brainer!
To learn about what else to leave or have a complete done for you set of sub plans- read this blog post.
I hope my tips for planning for a substitute in a self contained classroom were helpful for you. It can be stressful planning for a substitute, but it doesn’t have to be! Let me know if you implement a sub binder in your classroom. Any questions? Leave them in the comments below!