Substitute Planning Ideas and Freebies!

12 April 2015 / 5 comments

Hi! I am Kim from The Very Busy First Graders!
I am very excited to be joining a wonderful group of teachers to share ideas and resources through this new blog! We will all be posting once a month, so there will be new, fresh ideas continually!

Middle School Science Teacher Humor

I love this....and we all know how true it is for us!
So today, I'm giving you a few ideas for planning for a substitute.  If you are like me, I do not like to give subs new information to teach. I'd much rather they review previously taught concepts with my students. I definitely don't want to spend a ton of time planning at the last minute either.

1. I have had years where I have needed many days off, so I wrote sub lesson plans. I created a PDF available for download in Google Docs for you. Click here to get it.  It includes a checklist of important items you will need to have ready in a binder or folder, a notes from the sub sheet and my sub lesson plans for the week, to give you an idea how you could set up your own.  I make multiple copies of each day so they are ready to fill out.  I have them on my computer at home so I can easily fill them out from home too. Have a backup file of items off the checklist, in case something gets misplaced or tossed.

2. There are so many great products available on TpT that are perfect for substitutes and a can have them ready to go before you get sick or have an emergency.  

My favorite, and a huge lifesaver for me, has been Ashley Reed's B.M.E Sub Tub for first grade.  You prep it at the beginning of the year and it is ready to go at a moments notice. 

It is perfect for an unexpected sick day or planned day off.  There are three complete days worth of lessons and for the beginning of the year, one for the middle of the year and one for the end of the year.

Once you have it set up, just refill with the reproducibles for the next year after using.

B,M,E Sub Tub {Prep Once, Have Emergency Plans All Year!}    BME Sub Tub for Kindergarten

However, if you don't want to spend the money, just write up lesson plans like I shared, add some reproducibles and books, put it in a file folder, binder, etc. and you are set to go when you need a day off! A few great places to get free reproducibles to add to your sub plans are:

This site does require a paid membership for full access but you can get many sheets for free.

Do a search and then filter for freebies.

Mailbox Magazines are a great source for reproducibles for your sub plans.  

3. Leaving a list of classroom management cues that work with your class is a must, but I like to include a fun extra for the sub to use as well. I created this classroom management activity for the sub to use on the days I leave one of the B.M.E. Sub Tub lesson plans (since it is about dogs).  It's a freebie on TpT.  Read on for another free management activity.

Classroom Management    

As well as having the B.M.E. Sub Tub prepped and ready, I created a Missing Teacher Investigation to have available for a planned day off. Once everything in this packet is printed and laminated, minimal supplies are needed.  Each year you will only need to refill the reproducibles and have the supplies on hand for the day you will be gone.  This has been a classroom favorite for years in my room! I just wish I could be there to teach it! Ha! It includes everything your sub will need to teach, reading activities, writing, math and a science experiment.

Click the picture below or here to check out this whole day, substitute plan.  I created a free management activity for it as well! Click here to get it!

 Classroom Management

Sub Plans

4. Of course, don't forget to have a "notes from the sub" sheet included with your plans.  One that has a spot for behavior issues, what went well, etc. is so helpful when you return.  TpT has many freebies. Just type in notes from the sub or download mine from above.

I hope you've enjoyed my post and gained a few ideas from my substitute planning tips!  Check back tomorrow for more great ideas from another blogger!


  1. Enjoyed reading all of these great ideas. It is such a relief to know planning is already done if you need an unexpected day off! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you Sebrina! I appreciate your comment!

  2. WOW!! You provided TONS of great resources for sub days!

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Thank you Tara! I hope you found helpful ideas!


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