2/4 Tuesday: Substitute Planning!
I took a personal day for a doctor’s appointment last Friday and as I was preparing for the day I hit that slump of “What should I plan for this sub… who knows if it’s going to be a music person or not… Ugh!” I find it really hard to plan for someone who might have NO musical training. A couple years ago I came back from my day away from school and found that the substitute had done the Limbo song/game over and over again… for 7 hours. Every grade from K-5 did the limbo song for their entire class period. Ugh!
How do I plan a fun and musical activity for my students when their substitute teacher may not want to do anything musical at all? I still haven’t completely figured out that conundrum, but here are a couple ideas that I’m still working on, but wanted to share. Leave a message in the comments section below with worksheets that you love, ideas to pursue, or thoughts on how you might change or modify my suggestions to make things easier. This is still a huge work in progress!
#1 Composition Worksheets
“Have students fill out the paper composition worksheets. This should take 10-20 minutes (or maybe more). Students need to use the notes provided to create rhythm patterns in the space provided. If they get done early have them turn the sheet over and compose on the back. If they need help have them find someone in their instrument family to help them. Sheets should be turned in to you at the end of the composition time. If there is extra time at the end have them watch a portion of “STOMP Out Loud” on DVD.”
I left a note asking the sub to tell me if the partnering and helping went well or if that technique flopped. I know that some students are more apt to step up and help than others, but I’d love to get a recap of how things went. Of course, I didn’t hear anything from the sub about how it went over… sigh. But judging from their work, I still think the activity went all right.
One major thing that I’ve added recently is my Note Neighborhood Worksheets. These worksheets match up with the way that I teach note values and each worksheet has a powerpoint that explains how to complete the worksheet. These are SO HELPFUL for a substitute teacher because the powerpoint explains the task for kiddos as I would and gives them examples to follow.
You can see in the examples above that some of my students did really well and some had some issues. If nothing else, this activity gives me good data on who needs refreshing, who can do it on their own (or with student help), and what major issues all students might be having.
#2 Musical Books for Interactive Read Alouds
I have a couple books that I LOVE to leave out for subs to read. These are some really easy books that mirror actual songs kids probably already know and are especially good for the primary grades (and not so much for intermediate grades). They’re fun, easy for subs to read, and content related! Below are three books that are currently in my sub tub but you can find so many more books about songs when you check out this list I’ve collected on my Amazon Wishlist Account.
Eency Weency Spider by Joanne Oppenheim
Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star by Jane Cabrera
Pete the Cat – Rocking in My School Shoes by Eric Litwin
#3 Emergency Substitute Binder — The Red Binder!
This is just in case I call in sick or have some sort of emergency where I’m not able to make plans/get to the building in time to make plans. I try to cover the basics in this substitute binder and give all the important information. Here are a few of the things that are included.
- Cover page – basic info
- Daily Schedule
- How to contact the office
- Where to find remotes and technology
- What other teachers are close by that the sub can turn to for help
- My policy on instruments
- Evacuation/Shelter/Intruder Policies and where to go/what to do
Then basic ideas about lessons. What you can do if you are a music person. What you can do if you’re not a music person. What DVDs/Videos are available if you want to/need to show them. Etc. For those musically inclined subs, I have all the songs that we’ve covered in Quarter 1 (or wherever we are in the year) in case they want to go back and rehash and have a little sing-along.
I separate the class rosters by grade level so that the sub can quickly find students. I highlight the names of students who are good helpers so that the sub knows who to turn to. I try an add grade level appropriate worksheets/coloring sheets/activity sheets that ANYONE could copy and pass out to students in case the sub only feels comfortable with that sort of lesson. On the back of the binder I put my daily schedule with teacher names and grades. The sub binder is red and easy to find on my shelf!
Click on any of the pictures above to see a bigger view with explanation.
Have a music education blog? Wanna share 2 to 4 ideas? Link up your page through the linky party and share!Thanks to Steph at the “Stay Tuned” music blog for making this linky party happen!