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Monday, November 19, 2012

Custom Lesson Plans to Easy Sub Plans!

So, if you're here, chances are very good that you found me through my customizable, editable lesson plan template. (The thing has- no joke- over 98,000 page views. Thank yoooou, Pinterest!) Well, if you've made one, I have news for you...

It's now super easy to make sub plan templates in Microsoft Word. It takes a little time up front, but trust me when I say that it makes sub plans so much easier later, when you need them.

I make my plans at the beginning of the year, but for the next few weeks, I try them out and make notes to myself of what I need to change or add. Things like "Johnny to speech" and "Kasey to O.T." are great little notes to add in in a tiny font as they come up.

Once I feel like I've got it just about perfect and definitely not right before I actually need sub plans for the first time, I make sample sub plans. If I have the basic format, this is so easy to do ahead of time, and makes it much simpler to just fill in later. Here's how:

First, save a copy of your lesson plans with a different name. No need to accidentally lose your lesson plans! Then, I like to open it so I can see a 2-page spread.

Next, you'll need to split the cells that are merged going across, if you have any. Just highlight the cell, right-click, and go to Split Cells...

Now, highlight the column you want to make plans for. I'm making sub plans for Friday. Copy this column, and then open a new Word document.

Paste it into the new document.  You may want to adjust the margins. When I did this, my table fell off the side of the page. Oh no! What to do now?

Not to fear! Go down to the views and click Web Layout. It'll let you see the edge of the table so you can bring it back in again. You don't have to be exact- just bring it in a little.

Then you can switch back to the normal page view to adjust.

I go back and copy/ paste the time column, too, to stick in front of the Friday column.

Hit Save As... and name it something like Sub Plans- Monday 2012. (I put the Sub Plans part first so that they all end up right next to each other in my folder.) I totally suggest using DropBox for this, so you can access it from home or school!

Now, I go through and type in more details where a sub would need them. I always include this in a folder that has more information about normal procedures, but I want to put the most necessary things here, such as attention-getting, behavioral system, and any special health needs.

It's okay if your table goes over one page. My sub plans are usually 2 or 3. I still like how the table breaks up the day into parts and makes it really easy to tell when something major (like a special or lunch) is happening. I leave the subject spaces empty to fill in later.

 If you want to keep making plans for each day, keep this document open so you can copy and paste the explanations that stay the same from day to day.

You can go back to your lesson plan page and copy relevant columns to make a document for each day of the week. Delete or add columns until you have just the time and day. Then, proceed to copy/paste any relevant explanations (for instance, my explanations for lunch, attendance, and dismissal stay the same every day) and fill in any that are different.

Now, when I need to be absent, I have a file ready for each day with most of the complicated stuff written out, and spaces for each subject.

My sub folder usually includes:
- these lesson plans (and an extra copy of them)
- a map of the school
- classroom roster with photos
- allergy or medical info they need to know
- behavioral issues they need to know
- more detail about procedures
- seating chart (using Post-Its in a file folder made this EASY to leave!)
- list of student jobs
- some "just in case" activities (Color By Number works well for this because it can take up plenty of time as needed!)

I always include an extra copy of the sub plans in the folder, and underneath I put copies and resources in order, paper-clipped together, with Post-It notes labeling each one.

I usually also leave enough change for a Coke in the teacher's lounge with a little thank you note, and the plan for bribing motivating my kiddos to behave. (5 cotton balls for our behavior jar are a BIG motivator!)

Of course, if you're looking for sub plans that are easy to leave in a pinch, I posted about some of my favorite lesson plans to leave for subs at the last minute and linked to 5 freebies for you, so be sure to check out this post!

Meanwhile, you may be wondering why I put myself through all this work to leave sub plans for last Friday.

Well, my "twin" got married this weekend! We've been friends for as long as I can remember, she was one of my bridesmaids, and it was incredible to stand up with her on her beautiful (and incredibly crafty) wedding day. Congratulations, Sarah! :)

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