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Classroom Community Homeschool Substitute

I Love You Because You’re You

April 30, 2017

One night while I was putting my daughter to bed, I read her the book I Love You Because You’re You. I grabbed it off of her shelf of board books and thought it would be a quick, sweet read. Right away I was moved by the simple message – no matter what you do or how you act, you are loved. You are loved by your teacher, by your family and by God.

Educating students in academic subjects may be our job. But so many times students come to us without their basic needs met and we have to fill in the gaps. It’s important for our students to know that they are loved and are safe in our classrooms. Whether you’re teaching in the public/private school setting, a Sunday school class or at home with your own children, this companion for I Love You Because You’re You has everything you need to help foster a loving and welcoming environment.

What’s Included?

I LOVE to use cross-curricular activities. I always saw the greatest results when I used one book or topic to shape our week’s lessons around. In this companion you’ll find the following skills:

– Reading Comprehension – compare/contrast and text-to-self connections

– Writing – brainstorming and composition (What Makes Me Feel Special)

– Grammar – adjectives

– Phonics – rhyming words

– Bible Study – love

– Social Studies – how to make others feel special

– Craft – self w/adjectives

How Can I Use Them?

One of the great things about book companions is that they have just as many uses as they do components. You have so many choices! My favorites are for leaving with a substitute, using for a multi-day study, or as an enrichment project for my higher students who can work independently. Below is a picture of the companion as an enrichment project. (Click on the picture to find this product in my TPT store!) Simply store the worksheets and activities ready to go in a storage container with the book and allow students to work at their own pace during station or intervention time!

Sometimes we leave these important character building activities out of our plans because we think we don’t have time for them. But with some cross-curricular connections, there’s always time to teach our kiddos how to love and appreciate each other. Enjoy helping your students feel loved!

Art Substitute

Sub Plans in the Art Room

April 12, 2017

If any of you are like me you hate taking off work and dread making sub plans and love every waking second of being in your classroom, right? Maybe it’s just me! As teachers, we have to take off a few times during the school year due to sickness, doctor visits, professional trainings, and events that are out of our control.

Sub Plans Can Take Hours

As an art teacher, making sub plans can take hours, at least for me. I teach 6-7 classes each day ranging from grades kindergarten through sixth. Each grade level does a grade appropriate art lesson and classes switch every 45 minutes. I feel like I’m running a marathon, daily. So making sub plans for this many classes isn’t my favorite thing to do. Just like any teacher, the go-to art sub tub is MARVELOUS! I know that in case of an emergency or even when I plan ahead, the substitute teacher can grab any activity for the students. The lessons are understandable and the materials are accessible for my sub and students. I have two lessons that I tend to use more than any others because I know the students enjoy them! These activities can be used in grade level classrooms as well!

LEGO Person Game

The first sub plan I use is the LEGO Person game. The students play in pairs, or in a group of 4. The students use the numbers on the dice to determine which features will be added to their portrait. The students are amused with how misplaced the superman chest may be with a pirate eye patch and long eyelashes. Once the students draw the features provided they are allowed to add extra details and colors. This sub lesson works best with my second though sixth graders. The key chart and template below are provided for each student plus 1 die for each pair/group. You can download the game here!

Roll-An-Artist Game

The second sub lessons I love to use are the “Roll-An Artist” games. These games include artists such as Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh, Henri Matisse, and many more artists I introduce to my students. I also use these games as a wrap up with a particular unit we have worked on in class.  It’s the same procedures as the LEGO Person game explained above except the features are more related to the artists’ techniques. The students do not have a template to fill in, they may draw this portrait on a blank piece of paper. The key charts below are examples of what I use in my art room!


What are your go-to sub lessons that you know your students will enjoy in the classroom?

Organization Substitute

What’s Fun For Me Could Easily Be a Substitute’s Nightmare

February 6, 2017

One of my favorite things about teaching 1st grade was how full of stations my days were. I loved seeing my kiddos engaged in fun activities and sitting in comfy spots around the room, while I got to hang out with a handful of friends at my “Teacher Table”. However, what was fun for me could easily be a substitute teacher’s nightmare. With the encouragement of small group instruction and the addition of intervention during the day, our substitutes have an even bigger job on their hands when it comes to behavior management. This also makes a teacher’s planning more stressful when they need to be out. To help ease the stress on both ends, I’ve created monthly substitute/review stations.

What’s Included?

Each Sub/Review Station set includes 4 Math stations, 3 Phonics stations, and 3 Grammar/Writing stations. All of the skills covered in these stations match up with the skills covered in that month’s Sub Pack. For example, if the February Sub Pack for 1st grade includes ordering numbers from least to greatest, the stations pack will include one or more stations for that skill as well. This makes it easy to leave both of your packs for a substitute and not have to worry about hunting for matching stations.

Station activities vary from “Scoot” to matching and sorting. This allows you to decide if you’re comfortable having your students roam the room while you’re out, or to find a cozy spot and work with a partner.

How Are They Used?

Sub/Review stations have several great uses! One is for leaving them with your substitute. This way you don’t have to worry about your little kiddos sitting at their desks all day working on worksheets and not getting a chance to let their wiggles out. Simply keep your sub stations in the same container as your sub pack for that month, as well as instructions for the day!

Another way to use these stations is in Guided Reading, Intervention, or small groups. All of the stations work just as well with a group of 4-6 kiddos as they do for pairs. They also help students feel like they’re getting to have fun in their small group instead of doing “extra practice” on something they haven’t yet mastered. This made “Teacher Table” an exciting time for them!

A final use for my Sub/Review stations is for keeping them in their respective stations all month long. When I first began to use stations, I insisted on having new stations that covered our current skills each week. Not only did this make preparation exhausting for me, it discouraged my students who were not on level. When they came to stations with skills they struggled in they got very frustrated. This led to a decrease in on-task behavior, and an increase in interruptions while I was teaching my small groups. Having several review stations (in addition to current skills) helped my struggling students feel encouraged and independent during their station time.

Check Them Out!

If you are interested in checking out my monthly Sub/Review Stations, click on your grade level’s picture to head over to my TeachersPayTeachers store! I hope they make your small group time less stressful, both while you’re at school and away!


Featured Organization Substitute

Are You Stuck In Bed And Can’t Make It In To Work?

December 23, 2016

The Dreadful Sick Day

I’m not sure about you, but one thing that stressed me out more than actually being sick was preparing for a sick day. It’s one thing to prepare for a day you have to take off in the near future, but it’s quite another to wake up feeling awful and scrambling to have something for your kiddos to do with a substitute. Sure, I always had a few class sets laying around of things we didn’t get to. But nothing does a number on your teacher ego like coming back to a note saying your kids had no clue what do to because you grabbed the wrong papers in your daze. Enter – my monthly No Prep Substitute Packs!

What is included in my Sub Packets?

Each month includes 20 pages of Math and ELA practice pages. These pages vary from cut-and-paste activities, coloring, sorting, etc. and ONLY cover skills taught up to that month. For example, January’s sub pack includes skills covered from August to December and nothing from January. This is to ensure your students can complete all the pages with minimal help from the substitute, leaving him or her to manage behavior instead of introducing skills.

Storing my Sub Packets

My favorite place to store these packs is right behind my desk, next to my Substitute Binder. The pages are printed off, clipped together, and saved in a large white envelope with that month labeled. All that is left to do in case of an emergency call-in, is to give the Team Lead a heads up so they can grab the pack for that month, then head back to bed! A healthy teacher is a happy and effective teacher, and these substitute packs will be exactly what you need to take care for yourself without the guilt of being away.