As much as we would never want to miss school, because let's be real preparing for the sub is more work than if we were actually at school that day. Most of the time that I have to be gone is for school activities but there are those times when I have the strep throat. I won't lie to you, there have been moments when my sub plans were just fluff and didn't really have any lasting impact for my students. So last year I made some changes to my sub plans and it is has really been a great thing. The chances of me ever having a certified music teacher in my classroom is a rare thing, and being willing to walk into a room full of middle schoolers is pretty daunting. Walking into a Vocal Music classroom full of middle schoolers is just down right crazy. Preparing easy to follow plans and preparing your students for that sub is so important. So whenever I have a sub, for those planned and unplanned times, I have the same lesson plan. So here is a nice little break down:
Have a binder that a sub can easily find. In that binder you need to have up to date rosters, seating charts, schedule for the day, what do in an emergency, important phone numbers (include a phone a friend/buddy teacher in case your children lose their minds), and the lesson plan. You also will need a small plastic tub that will hold all of your materials.
My lesson plan is pretty simple, easy to follow, and keeps my students singing and making music! I also have a list of pre-appointed student leaders to lead all of the activities in the different categories. At the end of this post there is a link to my favorite Teachers Pay Teachers Store for Lindsey Jarvis. If you are a music educator and more importantly a Kodaly inspired music educator check out her stuff. It will change your life. I love and use almost all of her visual aids!
- I leave a list of our favorite brain warm ups and movement games, I have about five on that list and the class will vote on two of them to do.
- After our brain warm ups and movement games, there is a list of ten of our favorite singing games. Just like with the activity before the class votes on five of them to do.
- Following the singing games, I have a list of six cannons and partner songs, the class votes for three of them to work on.
- After we work on cannons and partner songs, there is a small sight reading element. Right now my students are just working major scales and intervals. As the year progresses I will leave more difficult sight reading examples from our sight reading books and from some OSSAA Sight Reading contest released items.
- Once all of those things have been completed, my students divide themselves into small groups from random draw. Once they are in their groups, they vote for a group leader and the group leader will go to the sub tub and get out the game assigned to their group. In that tub I have tons of rhythmic reading games, melodic pattern games, and some Solfege help games. Students will play those games twice.
- If there is time, they can go back to the list of singing games and chose more games to play.
I love using this plan for many reasons. One it keeps my kiddos singing. Two it keeps my kiddos in a semi-normal routine. Finally, it passes on the responsibility to my students. More than anything it develops student leaders.
Today, I had to use my sub plan, and I was at school! Today my catalog fundraiser was due and I had a massive amount of money that I needed to count and make sure I had the ducks in the row. So while I was sitting at a table in classroom counting money(which I hate), my student leaders taught class! It was great being able to test out this plan with my student leaders while I was there and not having them do this the first time with a sub. Plus it just really reinforced the proper behavior for class with me being there. I could redirect if needed. I told my students that when I have to be gone this is what they would do, and they loved it. If there was an area that they had some struggles with I could step in and help. But you know what I didn't have to step in.
So here is my crazy hot mess confession, at one point I had tears in my eyes. To see and hear my students teach and lead their peers was just heart warming. What I loved was the most was that I overheard them using so many of the phrases that I use all the time, "Check your posture" "Keep your vowels north and south and not east and west" "5 4 3 2 1" It was like watching 15 "little Meghans." Which we should be worried about if there really was 15 mini-Meghans.
Developing student leaders is one of my favorite parts of my job, and one of the reasons why I wanted to co-sponsor National Junior Honor Society (that is a whole other story). Watching my students grow into leaders just gets me so excited. I see so much potential in them, and today I saw a future Vocal Music teacher in the making. Watching this young lady lead her class, was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen, she is a natural. Her classmates were struggling and I thought that I was going to have to step in and help her out, However, she changed it. She broke it down and explained it to her classmates and they got it. By the way, this young lady is a sixth grader. She is eleven. Holy Moly Spicy Guacamole.
So teachers, what do you do when a sub is in your room? What do you do prepare student leaders? I'm so curious and I want to know, you know so I can steal...errrr ummm. borrow your ideas.