Substitute Plans

Share some of your ideas for substitute plans and activities. We all know many substitutes are not tech-savvy, so we have to leave simplified plans that are still engaging!



This is a free lesson pack for substitute teachers in the school library from It contains one lesson and activity for each grade K-6. The lessons review library vocabulary terms.
Free Substitute Lesson Plans (added Feb. 2016)
Almost all schools require you to leave an "emergency" set of plans, which I do leave in a blue 'sub plans' folder on my desk at all times.
If I am able to pull together plans ahead of the time I will be out, I will email a "buddy" teacher with the plans.
Read alouds are great - but make sure you have the book available!
Dictionary Game:
One activity I enjoy leaving for the sub is a "dictionary game." If you have at least 10 copies of a single type of dictionary (I purchased the paperback Scholastic 'Pocket' dictionaries for about $7 each with book fair money), you can play this game with late 1st - 6th graders.
(Susan Eley)

School District Scavenger Hunt
I left a scavenger hunt for the students in 4th, 5th, and 6th grade with questions that can be answered by looking on the school district's websites. We have 6 elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school. I created a page with questions like, "Which school is on Hillside Ave?", "Which school is Dr. Marcy the principal of?", "What is your school having for lunch on Friday?", "Who is the nurse at the high school?" etc. The students explore each school's website to find the answers. It can be done at any time during the year, and if students finish early, they can create their own scavenger hunts to submit to me (I can use them another time) or swap with a friend to answer.

Featured on the website
I keep the sub plans in plastic bags, with everything they need for the day, so the sub doesn't have to find supplies. The lesson plans for first and second I "stole" from an art teacher's collection of sub plans. I loved subbing for her because she was SO organized. I pick a picture book that has a problem of some sort in it, after the sub reads the book to the students they either draw or write an extension to the story, such as a new ending, or what happens next time to the main character. The art teacher had left me a copy of "The Dot" to read, then the students would draw a dot on their paper, and create a picture around it, much like the character in the book. -Cece

LM-NET Best Lessons. Scroll down to the Sub Plans Section

Keisa Williams' Sub Plans
This is the first year I am having to create sub plans. My library assistant used to take my classes. Now that I no longer have an assistant, these are the types of activities I will plan for my kids while I am out. Feel free to use my plans and alter them to make your own.

Lessons taught the week before the sub:
Grade K-Author study (Jan Thomas)- We read several of her books in the past 1-2 weeks.
Grades 1-3- Read Stellaluna, Watched a BrainPop video about Bats, Read a nonfiction bat book & read about bats in the Encyclopedia (both online and the physical book).
Grades 4-5- Read Harry Houdini's biography as we used a K-W-L chart & viewed a short video about magic. - keisawilliams keisawilliams Sep 19, 2011
I have a Sub Tub which is a plastic box with a lid I organize papers/books in. If I know I'm going to be out, I'll leave the plans on my desk. However, the Sub Tub is great for emergencies and I keep a standard of 5-8 lessons separated into grade levels. For example, if I'm out for an emergency, on that day the sub will have the same lesson for (K-2) and another for (3-5). I always make sure I'm prepared for at least five unexpected days for major emergencies if I cannot physically make it into the library. Always be prepared and leave the Sub Tub in a visible place and also tell a "buddy" teacher and/or secretary where it is just in case.