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Leaving sub plans can be time-consuming and stressful. This is especially true if you run a choice classroom. Sometimes it’s easier to go to school than to spend hours explaining your classroom. Never mind returning to a big mess the next day! What if it was possible to leave sub plans that allow students to have more choice with less setup and cleanup?
Well, there is! Tabletop centers are self-contained and are an easy way for students to set up and clean up even when you have a sub. Each center lives in a box containing directions, materials, and tools for students to use at a table. At the end of class, students only need to place the materials back in the box for quick and easy cleanup!
Stackable tubs are easy to store while you’re not using them. The size and shape of the containers depends on your unique space and the type of centers you want to offer.
Centers based on media types, the elements and principals, or skill building activities are all good ways to start. It’s best to focus on easy-to-clean, one-day projects for your centers.
Here are some ideas:
You can also differentiate based on age. This can be done by providing different tubs or different directions for the same materials.
Whatever stations you decide to provide, focus on simplicity. Remember, projects should be easy to clean and should only take one class period.
Make sure you leave your sub detailed instructions. Include where to set up the centers, your classroom expectations, and where to find extra materials. This may also be a great time to try flipping your sub plans! The sub will appreciate being able to put on a video to provide clear and concise directions for students. Your friendly face and voice will help to ease some of the anxiety that comes with a routine change. This will mean fewer behavioral issues for your sub!
Taking time to create table tops centers will make leaving emergency sub plans easier.Because you have a variety of choices, students can rotate to different stations each time they have a sub. This means you won’t need to reinvent the wheel each time you’re out. As the year progresses, you can leave new centers for classes who “earn” them with good behavior. Your sub can thank them for good behavior by providing them with even more choice!
How do you leave sub plans in your choice classroom?
Would you ever try tabletop centers with your subs?
Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors from across the nation and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University or any of its academic offerings.