Emergency Sub Plans You Only Need to Prep Once

Tis the season to get miserably ill at 3 AM with a stomach bug that you contracted from a 7 year old who openly coughed on your hand. Yuck.

We’ve all been there. Or, if you’ve been #blessed enough to avoid any surprise illnesses thus far, know that one day you will join our club, and you will need emergency sub plans somewhere in your room so your teammates/principal/bookkeeper/students/sub aren’t floundering around your room trying to figure out what you want the kids to do.

For some of you, your regular old plans for the week translate very well to a sub. Well, good for you! Mine do not. I write a series of bullet points to myself for each subject of what standard I’m hitting, what my goal is as far as how many kids will pass the assessment, the steps for my lessons, etc. If you’re just soccer mom off the street, my lesson plans for myself will look like a different language. So, I always need to write sub plans. it’s worth it to keep the kids in the same rhythm and routine that they always have…it makes the sub’s life easier for that day, and makes my life easier when I return.

But, if I’m violently ill in the middle of the night, I’m not going to be able to remember what hour we have planning, let alone write out a full essay about my classroom jobs or what to do if there’s a fire drill. SO. My emergency sub plans are a necessity. But really emergency sub plans are the kind of thing you only want to prep once a year. I mean, our hope is that we never have an emergency and we don’t have to use them. Therefore, I’m of the mindset that we should all work smarter and not harder when it comes to emergency plans.

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I thought of everything I might need to get through an average (or unusual) day of teaching, and I wrote it up. Rosters, drill directions, student notes that I have permission to share (like who has severe allergies they must be aware of, or who has accommodations that must be met), extensions to frequently called people in the building, dismissal directions, etc. etc. etc. There is SO MUCH information that we have to hold in our heads to get through just one week of teaching. There’s no need to type it up more than once!


For literacy, I kept it simple. I have simply stuck a picture book, and a stack of basic comprehension checks in the “literacy” file. My plans only ask the sub to read aloud the picture book, have the kids fill out the comprehension check, and move on to their centers. I have talked a lotttt about my centers lately. You can find a VLOG about my literacy centers here!

Math was equally simple. I took some plastic page protectors and put about copies of some different Kim Sutton math fluency games in them. The plastic page protectors truly make this portion of the plans the kind that you need to only prep once. Kids can play the games with dry erase and wipe them clean for the next student. I also took some Color-by-Code pages from my friend Briana Beverly’s store, and I had some copies of some two-step word problems. My directions are simple: put one activity at each table group, and have them rotate every 15 minutes. This will take up most of my math block, leaving time to clean and pack up for recess. All I need to do is refresh the copies!

There you have it friends! Obviously, there’s science and social studies, along with my RTI plans. Those are equally low-stress. The purpose of this is to have something easy for a sub to pick up and do with literally NO context coming from me…because it’s for an emergency!

If you like the look of the template, I have these pages in my TPT store. You can type in whatever plans you want! Check them out here!

Happy teaching, everyone! Here’s hoping that we don’t have to use emergency plans many times in 2019.

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Stephanie Sutherland