Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Substitute Ideas, Writing Prompts, and FREEBIES!

I wanted to share some ideas that I like to have on hand to use when I need a substitute teacher. Plus, I just put together a great freebie with favorite partner and group games for all ages.

This post also has another use- it's great if you are going to BE a substitute teacher!  My daughter is getting her Master's Degree in Health Education and coaching a local high school swim team while she takes classes.  She is substituting in that district this year. Right now she is doing a long term 4th grade job. I got this from her the other day, so I think it's going pretty well...

Before she started subbing,  I got together lots of my favorite books- most of which I had doubles of, for some reason (hmmm- maybe cause I buy too many books... oops). Although, a lot of the doubles I actually got from Scholastic with points, so it's not that bad... really... (in case my husband reads this...). Now I am so glad I had those books.  Here is some of what I got together for my daughter-

Holiday book ideas with multi-age level activities

I always keep a copy of the activity I like to use with a book right inside the front cover.

That way, it's always right there without me having to search high and low.  I just made a bunch of copies of the activities to go with books, so Emily can have some ready to use and in a bag, just in case she has some extra time in a classroom, or if she goes into a class without great plans.

It's always nice to be able to pull a book with an activity to go along with it, and know you've got at least a 45 minute activity to do.  I use writing prompts that go with my books ALL the time. I see some of my kids' very best writing with the one page writing prompts, and they love them.  So, I decided to put them all together in one place, finally!

I made two sets.  The first set, Author Studies,  has 160 different writing prompts for 100 books. The great thing about these prompts is that they work equally well for K-2, because the students write to the prompts at their level.  If they can write only one sentence to go with a picture, that's fine.  If they can write more details, even better!

The books in this packet are all by 8 authors:  Eric Carle, Donald Crews, Kevin Henkes, Laura Numeroff, Amy Krouse Rosenthal, David Shannon, Mo Willems, and Karma Wilson.  Once we start reading books by one author, my kids love to read more and more, so we do lots of mini- author studies.  That is how I use this set. Although, some days, I will just copy off a  prompt for a favorite Kevin Henkes book and have a great lesson with that.  Here is a more up close look at the individual author sections.  

My other packet, Writing About Books,  has 170 prompts for 102 completely different books.  These are some all time favorites in all areas.  
Here is a closer look at the books in this packet:

If I ever need an activity, or if another teacher or substitute in for another teacher needs some help, these are great to share.

I made Emily files K-5.  I organized activities that I had by grade.  I had lots of K-2 ideas.  The 3-5 grades were tricky, because I don't know the expectations for those grades.

I went to TPT and found some morning work freebies for different grades.  I included these samples in her folder, so that if she has a few minutes, she can do some questions on a white board or play a game, knowing about where each grade is academically by looking at the ideas on the morning work papers.

Here are some great FREE morning work ideas.  The morning work worksheets are great for an activity, or just to give you an idea what a grade's skills are, if you are subbing.

Teacher Addict shared a Daily Math Morning Work Freebie for each grade that is perfect for getting an overview of the grade skill set.
Here is the second grade freebie!
 2nd Grade Daily Math Morning Work one week freebie (week 21)

Here is her third grade morning work freebie.
3rd Grade Daily Math Morning Work one week freebie (week 20)
She also shared a fourth grade freebie...
4th Grade Daily Math Morning Work one week freebie (week 27)
And a fifth grade freebie!
5th Grade Daily Math Morning Work one week freebie (week 19)

Sometimes, the morning work sheets are handy to have to  leave as a center activity or whole group lesson.

This is a free sample from Sherry Clement's Morning Work Packet.
Morning Work - Kindergarten - May (FREEBIE SAMPLE)Morning Work - Kindergarten - May (FREEBIE SAMPLE)Morning Work - Kindergarten - May (FREEBIE SAMPLE)Morning Work - Kindergarten - May (FREEBIE SAMPLE)

Crystal McGinnis has a FREE September Morning Work Packet for Kindergarten.
Morning Work! (Or Homework) September Kindergarten Common Morning Work! (Or Homework) September Kindergarten Common Morning Work! (Or Homework) September Kindergarten Common

This First Grade Morning Work Freebie is from The Imagination Nook.
Morning Work for First Graders - FreebieMorning Work for First Graders - FreebieMorning Work for First Graders - FreebieMorning Work for First Graders - Freebie

I also left Emily a little note of what I think is important for a substitute to do in my classroom- just the three things I thought were really important and that make me love a substitute.

1.  Cover what the teacher leaves in the plans.
2.  Leave the room CLEAN- the cleaner and more organized the better.
3.  Leave a quick note that says the kids were great and the day was great.

Period.  I don't really want to read a LONG note about every single thing each kid did wrong.  I don't want to have to address that on my day back, either, once it's all over.  I mean if they were awful, I would have a serious class talk, and want to know to teach them for the next time I was out- but in general, I don't want to know every little mistake that was made.  Just tell me it was a great day. Let me live in denial and start fresh when I get back.

I have two tubs with books and activities in it, that I keep to use only when I need a substitute.  I also have Word Wall Roll games and stickers ready to go.  I have some Bingo games with Smarties to use for markers. Mad Libs books are awesome for older students.

I also put together some FAVORITE games for all ages.

You can print this out, laminate it, (or print it on card stock) and keep it on a book ring for extra time you may have or for those extra moments a substitute may have.   I hope you like it!  It is always handy to have some fun activities on hand, and the kids love these games.

Happy Thanksgiving! Thank you for stopping by!


  1. Thanks for sharing so many resources! :)

  2. What a special Mama you are! She'll be a great teacher if she takes after you.

  3. Thanks for sharing all this. I always like checking out your ideas and seeing if I can tweak them for my 2nd graders. Sara


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