Saturday, November 30, 2013

That's How I roll - Emergency Sub Plans

We're moving into flu and cold season and since I'm only a second year teacher my immune system of steel hasn't fully matured yet. Which reminds me, I really need to stop high fiving kindergarterners. Or start bathing in hand sanitizer if I don't want to get sick this winter.

No one likes to be out sick, especially teachers, the one profession where it takes more work to be out than to just come in feeling awful. I'm OCD about planning ahead so I always have my emergency sub plans done before the first day of school so that I can stay home without guilt when I need to. The problem of course is that while there are lots of subs out there willing to teach elementary school and there are some subs out there willing to teach Spanish, the pool grows much smaller when you try looking for someone who is willing to sub for elementary Spanish. And infinitesimally smaller when the elementary Spanish is also on a cart. Basically no one wants to be my sub. 

Okay that's not exactly true they do sometimes (rarely) give me their cards and ask that I add them to my preferred list but I don't always trust their "I can even speak some Spanish!"  So what's a sickly Spanish teacher to do?

Plans in English!

Yup, I'm sure that sounds like heresy but give me a chance. This year my students will be watching Brainpop videos on Pablo Picasso and Frida Kahlo, then they will discuss and write three facts that they learned about these artists, and then they draw a self-portrait in the styles of Picasso and Kahlo.  These plans work for me for the following reasons:

  1. Students are learning about famous people in the target culture in an in-depth manner I can't accomplish during our regular class time because I can't go that deep in 90% target language and due to other curriculum constrictions.
  2. The students like videos and they like to draw. When they are doing something they like they are less likely to behave badly for the sub.
  3. My art teacher loves me. I was out last month and a week later a student went up to her in class and asked if one of her posters was a Picasso. Then they listed his different periods, including the blue period, rose period and cubist period. She was blown away. 
  4. I can count this as both collaboration between Spanish and Art as well as towards our Arts and Humanities Program Review (you know what I'm talking about KY teachers!)
  5. I don't have to worry about Sally Substitute trying to teach the Spanish she learned in three semesters in college.
It's a win-win as far as I'm concerned. I have extra activities such as Picasso coloring sheets and a Create Your Own Cubist Portrait website but so far the subs haven't needed them (which is awesome because that can be the next sub plan if I have to miss another Day 3 in our rotation.)

So those are my emergency sub plans. What do you do when you have to be out unexpectedly?

1 comment:

  1. I always leave English sub plans that are culture related. I usually do something about a famous person for upper elem. and a craft for lower elem. that I wouldn't normally have time to do. Great post :-)