When I first started working in education, my assistant principal required that we all have an emergency sub binder. He kept our binders in his office in case we ever had to call in sick on short notice. At first, I thought this was redundant work, especially as a new teacher. I assumed that if I planned to be out, I could include most of what I would need a substitute to know. However, I soon learned that sometimes you have to miss school with very little notice. As something you could point to quickly, an emergency sub binder was a lifesaver.
If you are new to teaching, trust me, this will help your first year immensely.
Over the years, I have realized more and more the importance of this emergency sub binder. Even without a principle that requires it, it’s still an essential part of the back-to-school routine. Over the years, I have fine-tuned my binder to include the most helpful things. Your emergency sub binder should be located near your desk. So it’s VERY obvious where a substitute teacher can find it.
Create your emergency sub binder at the start of the school year. Then keep up with small changes as they occur so your binder is always up to date.
Free Substitute Feedback Form
This free substitute form is on Teachers Pay Teachers. It is an absolute lifesaver when it comes to having a guest teacher in your classroom. This form will become a staple in your substitute lesson plans. Download the free form HERE.
Emergency Sub Binder: What to Include
- Weekly, daily, and hourly schedule: Keep things simple. You know substitute teachers don’t have a lot of time to prepare before the kids arrive. Make your schedules simple and easy to understand.
- How students get home: If this applies to your grade level, be sure guest teachers know how your students get home (bus, pick up, walking, etc.).
- Student expectations: Classroom rules/school discipline procedures and policies. Have this in a section that your substitute teacher can quickly flip to for reference if they have an issue.
- School map: Point out helpful locations, such as the library, restrooms, lunchrooms, etc.
- Substitute feedback form: Substitutes enjoy leaving feedback on how the day went. Make this easy for them with my substitute feedback form (download for free HERE).
- Seating chart: This is so helpful to substitute teachers. They can easily reference your seating charts to learn your students’ names.
- Class rosters: Remember to update these as they change throughout the school year. If your class roster changes too often to keep it in an emergency sub binder, leave a note in your binder about where the sub can find your rosters. If you do this online, please leave detailed instructions for the sub about logging in and taking attendance.
- Student allergies: Be sure you leave notes on any students with severe allergies or who need to receive medication from the nurse on a given day/time.
- Student IEPs: Include copies of your student’s IEPs.
- Emergency sub lesson plans: This is very important. You want your substitute to be able to go right into your binder and pull out evergreen lessons and creative activities.
Your emergency sub binder is designed for occasions when you don’t have time (or the opportunity) to write current instructions or lesson plans. So, you’ll want to include as many of your academic, grade-level (evergreen) lessons as you can. Don’t forget to have some fun in your emergency sub plans!
Customizable Sub Binder
If you just read through that list and thought, “I wish someone had already done most of this work for me?” Then, keep reading.
I have packaged up my customizable sub binder and sell it on Teachers Pay Teachers. It’s incredibly affordable and designed to save you a ton of time! SEE IT HERE.
I have included three emergency sub plans as well. My sub binder contains forms, schedules, and even an editable PowerPoint file. This file will allow you to adjust many documents to fit your needs. I have included the following resources in my substitute binder resource:
- “I love school” math fact coloring sheets. These include addition up to 20, subtraction from 25, and multiplication and division to review all of the times tables.
- 12 Pop Art pattern-filled coloring sheets + writing prompts for all major holidays and seasons
- “Design a game” activity for kids to create and play a game of their own making.
But wait, I have more ways to help you with your emergency sub binder.
Jenny K. Can Help!
I specialize in helping classroom and art teachers infuse creativity into their lessons, focusing strongly on classroom teachers. When I create my resources for Teachers Pay Teachers, I always write my instructions so they are easy for any teacher. This includes any substitute teacher. Teachers often tell me how helpful my activities were when they had a guest teacher because of the detailed instructions that I included.
Browse my TPT store, www.artwithjennyk.com, for a world of available resources. These resources can be printed and put into your emergency sub binder. Include them with any evergreen academic emergency lessons for a great emergency sub binder.
If you’d rather not browse all I have, let me suggest a few resources that would pair perfectly with any emergency sub binder.
Emoji Coloring Pages
I have included both interactive and pattern-filled Pop Art coloring sheets in this activity. There are also writing prompts. This resource is simple. Students will first design and color their emoji coloring page. Then your students can use one of the writing prompts included in this resource. This is perfect for a sub binder because it’s low prep and fun for kids.
Emoji Coloring Pages CLICK HERE
Parts of Speech Coloring Activity
This activity makes learning and reviewing grammar a lot of fun! Included are starter, basic, beginner, intermediate, and advanced options. Having these options makes it perfect for helping students (grades 2 to 8) practice parts of speech.
This set includes 10 images that are appropriate for different times of the year. With the FIVE levels included, you will find that “discreet” differentiation is easy. This resource is designed to be useful at any time of the year and for the entire year. This resource is HUGE—over 150 pages!!!
And best of all, this resource was created with my friend, the amazing Mary Beth from Brain Waves Instruction. Mary Beth, if you don’t know, specializes in English Language Arts resources that are creative and unique for middle school students.
Parts of Speech Activity CLICK HERE
Growth Mindset & Grit Coloring/Writing Pages
Your students will love having “conversations” with famous people using this resource. I’ve included quotes from some “famous failures,” and questions that prompt students to think about their own grit. This will allow them to have a bit of a “conversation” with these inspirational people.
There are 16 people included in this growth mindset coloring pages resource! First, students read the quotes. Then, they respond to the writing prompts to get them thinking about their own grittiness. Finally, they color in the comic book-type images, that when finished, make a great bulletin board or wall display.
Growth Mindset and Grit Activity CLICK HERE
Unscramble the Mystery Masterpiece
This is a great art history activity! Students will first work to unscramble the grid pieces (drawing or cut and paste). Then students can color the masterpiece to produce the final mystery masterpiece.
I have included options for both cutting and pasting, and for drawing. Having these options makes this activity great for students of any age and makes differentiation in your classroom really easy.
Unscramble the Mystery Masterpiece CLICK HERE
Words of Positive Affirmation Collaboration Poster
This collaborative poster reads, “We are… creative, unique, thinkers, resilient, smart, patient, confident, inclusive, kind, caring, brave and persistent.”
Words of Positive Affirmation Collab Poster CLICK HERE
Art History Coloring Pages
Art history is something children can always use a little extra exposure to. This resource includes 10 famous masterpiece coloring pages, a complete slide show, and three writing activities!
Art History Coloring Pages CLICK HERE
Thanks for reading,