Emergency Lesson Plans
posted by: Jill | September 23, 2010, 02:30 PM   

I recently mentioned the need for emergency lesson plans. And whether or not you already have these in place, take a gander at this post and then make a quick assessment of where you stand. Not that my method is the "gold standard" but see if (1) there is something you can improve about yours and (2) if there is something that you should share with us about yours. There's nothing wrong with taking a little inventory of our work.


"Musts" for an Emergency Lesson Plan:  
  1. KISS—Keep it simple, stupid
    The directions need to be so simple that the substitute CANNOT get it wrong. I used bullet points as one of my tools for keeping it simple.
  2. Lesson materials should ALWAYS be accessible, obvious, and available for the substitute. For me this meant a workbook and pen which could be found at the back of the room (refer to #1).
  3. Give the substitute a lesson plan packet. The packet should have photocopies of exactly what the students have in front of them. I also wrote notes on the plans. Annotations along the margins of the paragraphs with questions the substitute could ask and comments s/he could make to the class. The packet should also have photocopies of all the KEYS for the worksheets. This is a lot easier and lighter for the substitute to carry around than a big "Teacher's Edition" book (refer to #1).
Keeping in mind #1 from above, here are the directions from my "Emergency Sub Plan #3"
  • Read the story "The Noble Experiment" aloud as a class. This story is found in the Interactive Reader on pages 156 -170. Please discuss the questions with the class using the annotations that I've made in your copy.
  • Complete all of the questions that are found on the blue sidebars of the workbook (help students as needed.)
  • Complete all of the worksheets on pages 171 – 173 (help students as needed).
  • Correct the worksheets if time permits. You have the KEYS to every worksheet in your packet.
  • Have students turn-in their workbooks at the end of class.

Some people would probably think me to be a horrible teacher for having such simple and mindless work. To this I say—these are EMERGENCY plans, people. They are last resort kind of lessons when I am gone without prior notice. They are "gold" to a substitute who is starting from scratch with a class. And while they're not extremely exciting, they certainly get the job done.

A strong emergency lesson plan found inside of a practical-use substitute binder can mean the difference between a positive report from the substitute and a... well you know, one of those "ugh" reports.

And lastly, look into purchasing a substitute handbook that you can place in your substitute binder. These handbooks have many activities that substitutes can do with students if there is no lesson for the students to complete or if the students finish all of the work. Look at a couple of examples here, here, and here. There are a lot of others, just use Google books or Amazon and you'll find plenty from which to choose.


 

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