Sub Tubs or Sub Binders are really an important tool to have set up early in the year. Waiting until you feel lousy is a recipe for disaster (aka – you trying to power through a cold because setting up sub activities is hard than trying trying to power through even though it would be better for you to stay home). So what activities go in a sub tub?

Easy Work and No Prep Activities

In addition to lesson plans that you can put together for days you may know you’ll be gone, it’s important to have some emergency activities.

  • Worksheets and coloring are great activities for subs. I love composing activities because they catch the students’ attention and let them be creative even though they are working. But these activities can only last so long so don’t plan a whole class of worksheets.
  • Prep lots of coloring sheets! Have several options with several copies ready to go so that early finishers can have something to do. Instruct the sub to put on music while they work. Leaving a playlist is a good idea because otherwise you don’t know what will be played!
  • Instructions with something for early finishers to work on or do. (Read a book, play rock paper scissors, do a coloring sheet, etc).
  • Leave a “If all else fails” list of videos that they can pull up online, or a disc they can play. Don’t let a sub get a chance to be imaginative. This is when instruments get broken, students get out of control, or someone attempt to play Musical Chairs.

Keep in Mind

  • Have extra copies of early finisher/emergency activities so the sub doesn’t have to make copies.
  • If you can’t store that many copies, make sure the original copies are well marked so they go back in the sub tub.
  • Have something that involves NO tech. The internet can go out and it’s better to give your sub an option over letting them pull out instruments or play musical chairs.
  • An activity the sub can pull out mid-class if something is falling apart that doesn’t need copies. Something like a book, a video, or a sound story activity is perfect for this.

No Tech Sub Tub Activities

  • Children’s literature
  • Sound stories
  • Worksheets, coloring, individual work
  • Bingo games
  • Composing

Find out more about some no tech options by checking out this post.

Favorite Sub Activities

Here are a few of my favorite activities to leave in a sub tub!

Music or Not Games

Five engaging games to get your students excited about new music topics! Perfect for a sub tub! These games are must have for all of those moments you need to catch their attention, fill some time, or are perfect to include for a sub. I bet even you can’t get them all right!

Lit & Listen: Pan De Sal Saves the Day

This set of activities is an awesome accompaniment to the book “Pan de Sal Saves the Day”.

Instrument Coloring Pages

This set of worksheets is great for students who are learning about instruments, and is perfect for a sub tub! This set contains: – Family pages – strings, woodwinds, brass, percussion, drums, auxiliary percussion.

Listening Worksheets

This set of worksheets is an awesome accompaniment to any listening activity for the music classroom.

Sub Tub Starter Set

If you are looking for things to get you started, this is a great way to get a sub tub started!

This set contains:

  • 3 sub binder covers
  • Welcome to the music room letter for procedures and expectations
  • Sub cheat seat
  • Procedures (table and letter format)
  • Daily schedule sheets
  • Behavior Issues tracker
  • Did a great job tracker
  • Sub Report
  • Drill at a glance sheet 
  • Important Medical info sheet
  • Daily sub report form
  • Where is Form
  • What to do if Form
  • How to contact Form
  • Helpful kids Form
  • Activity tracker
  • What to do for Form
  • Technology for teacher, students and rules sheet
  • Video tracker
  • Book tracker
  • Games my kids know sheet
  • Classroom info form (for classroom teachers to fill out for teaches on a cart)
  • Daily Travel Directions 
  • Lesson Plans
  • 2 style seating charts (circular)

I hope this has given you some great ideas to get your sub tub all squared away for the year!
Need even more ideas of things to put in your sub tub? Check out this post.

Melissa Stouffer-1

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