Some of you may have seen my Facebook post a couple weeks ago that 3 out of my 4 aids were all absent on the same day (if not, you should follow my Facebook page #shamelessplug).
I went into the day ready to be calm and relaxed by having this photo available in my phone to look at over and over again. However, realistically, aids are going to be out…and teachers are going to be out too (check this post on how I prepare for a teacher sub!). So, how do we prepare for the days our aids are out? I have some general tips to share with you.
1) SCHEDULES. I provide my subs with a schedule when they walk in. I keep these stored right by my door (check out this post for more must-have items to store by your door) so they are easily accessible.
2) STRUCTURED ACTIVITIES. Usually a sub will be at one station for the entire morning and then have a couple of activities they run in the afternoon. All of my aid-run stations are already set-up in a structured and routine way. I have posted visuals at the stations, binders that have sections of work labeled with days of the week, etc. This not only makes it easy for anyone coming into the classroom to run the station, but it also allows my kiddos to learn the routines. Usually I tell the substitutes, “just follow the kids’ lead…they know what to do.”
3. BACKUP ACTIVITIES. However, sometimes you don’t get substitutes for your aids. In these situations, I may do something like allow the kids to do work on iPads at that station, or do independent work such as puzzles or functional work tasks.
I also keep a couple larger group activities in my pocket to whip out on these days. Sometimes we play with shaving cream, play bingo as a group (my favorite is sound bingo…check out this post), or play Pictionary (some of my students insist on calling it “dictionary”) or wheel of fortune (check out this post).
Another thing I can easily adapt to any season is a “tearing paper craft.” This is where I have students shred up paper into small little pieces and then glue them into some sort of seasonal shape (flowers, shamrocks, candy canes, hearts, ice cream cones, rain drops, and on and on!). The kids really like this craft, it is easy set-up, works on fine-motor skills, and it takes up some much needed time on a day where you are lacking staff.
Do you have any suggestions or tips for what you do on days like these?