I have taken the leap into substitute teaching and the best way I found to prepare and ease my nerves was to plan and pack my sub bag.
I have a zip top organizing utility tote which holds four water bottles, perfect for my water bottle, tea, coffee and smoothie (should I decide on a health kick ;). I have it packed and ready to got at a moment’s notice because calls come first thing in the morning when life is pretty crazy in my house. I don’t have time to run around packing a bag, I’m busy packing lunches and getting children out the door.
My sub bag includes:
- Sub Binder
- Favourite picture books with corresponding activities
- Story Sparkers
- Pencils and colouring pencils
- Business cards
- Yoga cards
- Basic Supplies
- Prize Bag
I keep my division substitute handbook at the front with a map to all the schools I may be travelling to. After that everything is divided up in subject areas. Some are structured and others are open ended tasks which work for a variety of abilities. They often begin structured and extend into more complex thinking.
Writing Process Magnets which allow students support through the 5 steps: prewrite, draft, revise, edit, publish. This helps to illustrate the writing process and have a visual reference on the whiteboard.
I also have back up white paper and lined paper should we need it.
Favourite picture books with corresponding activities
Having a few favourite books on hand means I am ready to jump in with my story if a lesson runs short or we need a change of activity. I only bring a few as most classrooms have some good quality reading books.
These 50 photos cards contain beautiful photos and stimulus for writing.
The preprinted sentence starters and open ended questions encourage different types of writing. They can be used in conjunction with the Writing Process Magnets.
Pencils and Colouring pencils
I expect to be able to find pencils and colouring pencils or crayons in the classroom but just in case have a class set of each.
As I move around the classroom I can also put a sticker on their work to show that I have discussed their work. It helps me keep track and can be used as a motivator. For the younger years they are a happy way to end the day.
Always good to have on hand. I leave a couple with the class teacher and make sure the secretary also gets one for future call backs.
Yoga is a great way to refocus a class and teach breathing and calming techniques. I use a couple of resources and one of them is Body Poetry: Yoga Cards.
The cards are split into three levels: easy, intermediate, and challenging. On the front is a photograph of a child surrounded by a bright image. On the reverse are illustrated instructions. They are clear enough that students can help lead the activity.
So this is quite a list but I won’t rummage through a teacher’s desk and don’t like to be caught short so I have:
- Scissors (4 pairs students can use)
- Mini white board eraser
- Mini stapler
- Glue Stick
- Post its
- Binder Clips
- Paper Clips
- Pen (I love my Bic 4 Colour Ball Pen)
- Wet Erase White board marker (to write student names)
- Dry Erase White board marker
I know it is a long list but it all fits into 2 pencil cases.
I like to write a list of student names on the board and tick by their name when I catch them following the class rules and working well. This reminds me to focus on positive rather than the negative behaviour.
In a ziplock I have a selection of prizes:
- Math Bands (brilliant for learning skip counting!)
- Highlight Strips (to help concentration when reading)
- Bookmarks (a cute selection can be found here)
- Double Dice
Students can have their name in the prize draw by getting a certain number of ticks by their name. This encourages them to work and me to focus on praise.
Yes, my bag is a quite heavy! I am however, prepared for a wonderful sub plan or very little assistance. What is in your sub bag?