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Easy Things to Assign For Substitute Teacher Lesson Plans

One of the reasons it’s difficult to take days off as a teacher is because of the time it takes to come up with sub plans. 

Planning for a substitute means you need to have explicit instructions for how your classroom is run and find assignments that can be done independently for the most part.

In this blog post, I’m sharing 5 easy things to assign for substitute teacher lesson plans. These are low prep and kids can mostly do them on their own but are still meaningful and it won’t be a wasted day.

Multiplication Slides for Substitute Teacher Plans

Interactive Learning Slides for Independent Instruction

If you have devices this first idea takes no prep after you’ve created them. Create interactive learning slides for any content you want the kids to learn or review. 

Create each slide so it takes them through a series of instructional charts as well as some slides that let them try the skill on their own.

For example, if you want the kids to learn or practice area and perimeter, create slides that show them examples of how to find the area or perimeter of a shape. Then include slides where they have to find the area or perimeter for themselves. 

After they go through the slides, they can turn them in through your school’s online platform so you can assess them when you return to school.

You only need to create the slides one time and then assign them as needed. This also works great for students that are absent and need the instruction they missed.

girl reading

Independent Reading

If you train the kids at the beginning of the school year, they should be able to read for a sustained amount of time. 

This is an easy and no prep thing to leave in lesson plans for substitute teachers. In 3rd grade and beyond, it’s possible for kids to read for 30-40 minutes with no interruptions if they are trained properly.

There doesn’t need to be any assignment like a reading response attached to it but you can definitely include that if you like.

Keep reading responses open-ended like writing about what happened to the characters in their story or writing 5 facts they learned in their nonfiction book.

You can check out this blog post about getting kids to read independently: How to Get Kids to Read Independently.

Kid writing

Opinion Writing

Kids love to share their opinion even when not asked. This is a great assignment to leave for a sub because kids are more likely to spend more time writing. 

A couple of my favorite opinion writing topics are – Do you think teachers should assign homework? If you could create a law at school, what would it be and why? 

When assigning opinion writing, make sure to include in the directions for kids to explain why they have that opinion. This great practice of evidence in a text and also extends the assignment.

News Magazine

If you’re lucky enough to have a news magazine subscription like Scholastic News, you might have old issues lying around. 

These are great to leave for substitutes. Have the sub read the articles with the students. Then students can complete the questions or assignments that are included on their own. 

An extension assignment can be having students write 5-10 facts they learned in the magazine. You can have students turn them in but I generally don’t grade things that have been completed when I’m not present.

Online Math or Reading Program

If your students do an online math or reading program like iReady or Lexia, you can assign them minutes. 

Usually, these programs are designed to work on the child’s independent instructional level, so they won’t need much assistance from the sub. 

To keep the kids accountable, assign them a certain amount of minutes. Leave the sub a note to tell the kids that you’ll be checking their minutes as well as how they did. You can offer a reward like extra recess for those that completed their time and scored well. 

If you teach reading and math, you can assign a reading session in the morning and a math session in the afternoon. 

Coming up with substitute teacher lesson plans doesn’t have to be a daunting task that takes forever. You deserve to make it easy on yourself when taking a day off from school.

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Interactive Lesson Slides

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