Summer Prep: The Substitute Binder

It’s in-service week. You have multiple meetings during the day, and your room to get set up by Meet the Teacher night in three days. Oh, and you’re emergency sub plans are due by Friday!

Sound familiar? One of my goals this summer has been to tackle those things I know will be due in those first few weeks of school while I have more time to do it. The first of those has been my substitute binder. Free resources are linked at the bottom of this post.

What I started to include in my binder because of the great resources I read:

  • The Great American novel, detailing every moment, every student, and every possible thing that could go wrong. (Hey, it’s summer, right?)

What I actually included in my sub binder:

  • Two Page Spread as soon as you open binder
    • Page 1: The daily schedule (with duties), my specials schedules, contact information (office and nurse), and when/were to turn in attendance/lunch count
    • Page 2: Map of the school, with the staff restroom, vending, specials classes, and my duty marked. My principal sends out a floor plan every year, so I put it in PowerPoint and used drawing tools to mark it up.
  • Section 1: Class Information – Rosters, Routines, and Seating Charts
    • A list of basic classroom routines – bathroom, pencils, quiet signal, etc. One page, with bullet notes.
    • I created another two page spread – rosters/notes, and a seating chart. My plan is take a picture of each group to include after school starts.
  • Section 2: Lesson Plans
    • A generic lesson plan form and plan that I can tweak when I know I will be out ahead of time. This is on my computer, not printed out.
    • A note that if there is no plan in this section to turn to the emergency plans.
  • Section 3: Emergency Procedures
    • What to do during a fire drill, tornado drill, earthquake drill, and lock downs.
  • Section 4: Emergency Lesson Plans
    • My school requires a week’s worth, including copies if needed.

What I learned:

  • It can be tempting to over plan and over share about students. Keep confidentiality in mind.
  • Photos and maps – sometimes you have substitutes who have never been in your building. A picture is worth a thousand words. You can create a map of your classroom using this tool from Scholastic.
  • Keep it pithy – use bullets, and consistent formatting to make things easy and quick to read.






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