Organizing Sub Plans for Your Classroom with Ease!

Everyone loves being gone from school, right? It’s a day of no stress, right? If you’re anything like me, being at school is always way easier than being gone. It’s difficult to put our classroom into another’s hands. If that’s how you feel, you are not alone. However, organizing sub plans for your classroom before you need one doesn’t have to be a big task, and it can really take the pressure off of being gone. Want to know how to have a stress free day off? Let’s talk about how organizing sub plans for your classroom can be stinkin’ simple! 

Why Organizing Sub Plans for Your Classroom is Essential 

A well-crafted lesson plan is the pinnacle of teaching. However, when it comes time to create sub plans, those well-crafted lessons need to be a bit more, well, meticulous. To start organizing sub plans for your classroom, start with clear objectives. When your sub knows what you want to accomplish throughout the day, it becomes way easier to get those things done. Next, make a list of all the needed materials and resources and where to find them. After, make sure you give detailed instructions that are easy to follow. Finally, include essential class information like seating charts, students with special needs, and any other need-to-know info. 


You might be thinking, “That sounds like a ton to get ready! Plus I have to plan activities for students!” Don’t you fret! We have a secret weapon Review In a Snap No Prep Printables. These are ready-to-use bundles that can be a lifesaver when you’re in a pinch and need quality resources to add to your sub plan. Before we get too deep into these awesome resources, let’s talk about the basics of organizing sub plans for your classroom. 

Use Clear Communication 

When it comes to organizing sub plans for your classroom, communication is key! Communicating well bridges the gap between your usual classroom routine and what a substitute teacher will experience. To maximize communication, make sure you do the following. 

  1. Leave Detailed Notes 
  2. Explain Emergency Protocols 
  3. Create Space for Feedback 
  4. Have Contact Information Available 
  5. Provide Classroom Culture Insights
  6. Teach Digital Platforms
  7. Develop Early Finisher Activities 

Leave Detailed Notes 

While you are naturally going to leave your basic lesson plans, you might want to do more when organizing sub plans for the classroom. Adding information about your classroom dynamics can be very helpful. This means considering which students work well together and those who don’t! If there are conflicts, make sure the sub is aware of them. This can prevent a fire from being started. 

Explain Emergency Protocols

Every school has its procedures and policies when it comes to emergencies. Make sure when you are organizing sub plans for your classroom that you are including this information. You never know when there is going to be a random fire drill or storm drill or when a real problem will happen. Make sure you explain evacuation routes, first-aid kit locations, and any other emergency details that the substitute may need. 

Create Space For Feedback 

When you’re gone, you’ll want to make sure you know how the overall day went. Make sure you set up a system for your teacher to provide you detailed feedback. This can be a simple form or a notebook you have designated for substitute feedback. In this document, substitutes can talk about what went well, what was challenging, and any other observations. The feedback will only help you perfect your sub plans while giving you insights into your classroom dynamics that you may not be aware of. 


Have Contact Information 

Another important component you’ll need when organizing sub plans for your classroom is a list of need to know contacts. While you may not be available, make sure your substitute has people he/she can reach out to with questions or in case of an emergency. This can be a neighboring teacher, the department head, or an administrator. 

Provide Classroom Culture Insights

Another aspect of your classroom you’ll want the substitute to know about is the overall culture in your classroom. Every classroom has its unique culture and rhythm. Make sure you tell the substitute about class rituals, routines, or any special end-of-day activities students are used to. This helps the substitute maintain balance and normalcy. 

Teach Digital Platforms 

If you use any digital platforms for classwork, attendance, or communication, make sure your substitute is familiar with them. You can give them a brief tutorial or a guide. This is especially true if you’re not using a website that isn’t super well-known. 

Develop Early Finisher Activities 

When you are organizing sub plans for your classroom, make sure you are planning for those early finishers! Whether your lesson didn’t take as long as you thought or a student gets done early, you want to make sure there is something to do that is still meaningful. You can do this by leaving a list of Early Finisher activities or resources like Review In a Snap No Prep Printables. This ensures the substitute isn’t left scrambling for something to do at the last minute and you ensure students are getting quality practice. 


Ensure Students Stay Engaged

We have all heard the horror stories of what happens when the regular teacher is away. Having clear communication will help this. However, ensuring students stay engaged is a great trick to use when it comes time to use a sub. As a part of organizing sub plans for your classroom, make sure you are leaving activities that are substitute friendly but also engaging. These can be activities you have done but don’t do often. You can also use group work, critical thinking, or even a bit of fun to keep the class in order and engaged. If you’re short on ideas, make sure you check out Our RIAS activities that are ready-made solutions for engagement! 

Utilize Technology to Organize Sub Plans 

We live in the digital age and we need to take advantage of it. Organizing sub plans for your classroom is easy when you use platforms like Google Classroom or Seesaw. These platforms let you share resources, activities, and make it easy to communicate with your substitute teacher. If you are looking for materials to populate these platforms, we have your back! Our math and literacy centers for kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth, and fifth grade have digital versions that can be assigned with ease on these platforms. 

Organizing Sub Plans for Your Classroom Goal 

The overall goal for your classroom is to make sure your substitute teacher feels supported and equipped to handle the day. When you have open communication and anticipate his/her needs, you are setting your substitute and your students up for a successful day. 


Organizing sub plans for your classroom is essential. By doing so, you are ensuring your students continue to learn and engage even if you are not there. While it might seem like a lot to get ready, having a ready-made sub binder or two can make a huge difference. Plus, you can always use digital tools to communicate and assign work and provide resources for students. Any effort you put towards a better educational experience for your students is a step in the right direction. So, keep shining, keep planning, and know that even on your days away, your students are thriving. 

Until Next Time…Keep Being Educational Rockstars! 

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