With the holidays around the corner and flu season underway, it's important to be prepared for unexpected personal or sick days. When it comes to a day out of my classroom, I can easily get overwhelmed with getting lesson plans ready for the substitute. As READ 180 teachers we spend a significant amount of time learning the program and planning our classes. We spend weeks getting our students and ourselves into an efficient and productive routine. It is difficult to write a quick summary so that a sub can effectively run the class. I know how vital every day of instruction is for my students who are below grade level and if I have to be gone, I still want the day to count for my students.
Since the instructional model is the heart and soul of READ 180, we have had several subs who were given training on the program. These subs were invited to come and observe different teachers in their classrooms on a normal day. Then, we were able to create a preferred sub list and for the most part we get those subs, especially if we have absences we know about in advance. If your district doesn’t offer sub training for your class, consider inviting subs to come and visit your classroom on days they are off or even during plan time if they are subbing for another teacher in your building.
Even if I know I will have an experienced sub, I try to be purposeful about what lesson I leave for my classes. Formative assessment during whole and small group is an important part of my lesson planning. I don’t want to leave rBook lessons that initially introduce comprehension or writing skills because I need to see how my students perform on a skill. In my experience, subs have done very well with LBook lessons and I can feel comfortable that students are practicing and getting reinforcement on skills that I have already introduced to them, while they are expanding their vocabulary. I also like to prepare lessons for subs that are based on the True Teen Stories from the Scholastic Action Magazine. My students enjoy these stories, so I trust that they will be fully engaged in the lesson and they will also be practicing comprehension skills with grade level text. If you are not familiar with the LBook or True Teen Stories, take a look at my blog on those two resources to see how you can use them in your class.
Here is an example of what my sub plans look like. I would love to hear your suggestions and what has been successful for you when you have a sub.