A Sub Tub is a crucial thing to have put together. Subs are a hot commodity, and good preparation for a sub means that if you get someone, preparing well for them can be an incentive for them to come back to your room again.

I think Sub Tubs work better than a binder because you can put other things in the tub. I like to reserve some activities, books, videos ONLY for a sub so that it is a treat, doesn’t interfere with the sub’s ability to do the lesson, and helps me keep track of which classes have done which activities.

Here are some of the elements of a GREAT Sub Tub

1. Essentials

  • Class lists
  • Helpful students in each class (I don’t leave a list of kids who may have issues. It may set them up for that in the subs opinion before they can prove themselves otherwise).
  • Seating charts
  • Important numbers
  • Drill info – lock downs, fire, tornado
  • IEP info OR specific things that MUST be followed such as accommodations, equipment, seating, etc. Ask your admin for guidance so that student privacy is protected.
  • If you are traveling, a map, travel directions, etc

2. A way to play music

If you are like me and have been operating on digital music, leaving music for subs is difficult. One of my absolute all time favorite purchases for my classroom was an old iPod nano (Gen 3). Having an ‘old school’ iPod is PERFECT for a sub for a few reasons:

  • Curate playlists for different things like grade levels, freeze dance, listening lessons, composer activities, etc.
  • Don’t worry about leaving passwords or log ins (especially if you save passwords on your device) with a sub
  • Easy technology to plug in. Most people will be able to operate the older model iPods since the technology is older.
  • Easy to leave plugged in and charged for a sub, or leave in your sub tub.
  • No bluetooth means no connectivity problems.

3. Activities

I like to have things i don’t use in regular class as well so that the sub doesn’t have to struggle through a lesson the kids have heard before.

  • Videos (DVDs or links)
  • Books
  • Extra copies of things in case the sub can’t get to the copier
  • Activities the sub doesn’t need copies for
  • Activities the sub doesn’t need technology for. Before I started a full time job, I subbed for a band director where the sub activities left were to take the middle school students to the computer lab and have them work on something that was in Google classroom. The internet was out in the entire school. Luckily I was able to take them back, have them set up and play but that’s not going to be the case for most subs.
  • Worksheets/coloring
  • Something for early finishers to work on or do. (Read a book, play rock paper scissors, do a coloring sheet, etc).

4. Games the students know

Use your phone to record a voice memo of you singing a singing game the kids know. The sub can use it to start a song so the students can play the game. Leaving games your students already know is a perfect way to leave a musical activity that the sub will feel comfortable running.

5. A “We’ve Done This” list

This is perfect for subs to check off what they’ve done with a class. This helps future subs, or you know which lessons they’ve already done so you can plan accordingly. I like a spreadsheet with classes in the columns (listed by teacher for more than 1 per grade levels), and activities in the rows so that you could add more.

Sub Tub Starter

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 been helpful!

Melissa Stouffer-1

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