Helping the Substitute Teacher Succeed

Physical Education Teacher Substitute Notebook

Preparing for a Substitute Teacher

Last week I was icky sick, sneezing, runny nose, glassy eyes…and I was at school!  By the time I realized I wasn’t suffering from allergies, it was too late.  My day was half over and I was in the groove.  However, it did remind me to check my substitute notebook and make sure if I was gone, my substitute would have a successful day.  If I know I am going to be out, and I know I have a great substitute lined up, I will write up plans that correspond to our current units.  My sub notebook also covers me for when I can’t write up plans or have a substitute who isn’t comfortable being in the gym.

Here’s what I include in my notebook:

Cover Letter  thanking them from the bottom of my heart for caring enough about kids to substitute.  This greeting includes my cell phone number with a “Please call with any question”, and “Please remember the best class contest (more about this later).

General Info including principal’s name, more importantly secretary and custodian’s names, how to turn on stereo, where equipment room and bathrooms are located, who to ask for help, location of where to find the fire and lock down information, and I list my cell phone number again.

Daily schedule and in addition to what class comes in the gym at what time, I also include if they get picked up by their teacher, if they get walked down to art….

Special Instructions fire drill, lock down instructions. Along with special behavior plans a particular student might have, special precautions for students who are diabetic, along with these student’s photo. 

Plans for multiple days.  These are plans that can be done on any given day by just about anyone!  These plans live in my notebook. They are easy games that the students already know how to play varying in complexity.  I have simple stations that students already know how to do.  I also include a few lessons from the Children Moving Lesson Plan Book just incase I get a really great substitute who wants to teach.  A standby that I use in the middle of the year is Scooter Pinball. I know that students can play this k-5 because I have pre-taught it, and I love that I can have my substitute watch this video from PE Universe. 

The Best Class of the Day Contest voted by the substitute WINS a CHOICE Activity.  I allow them to vote on an activity for 1/2 of a lesson.  The activity must fall within our always true perimeters, ie we don’t play dodgeball, we aren’t going to fill the gym with water and go swimming.  Now you might be thinking big deal because you already give your students lots of choices, well so do I and it still makes a HUGE difference.

How do you prepare for a substitute?  I would love to hear your ideas!

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