Monday, September 1, 2014

Question of the Week: Sub Plans Part 1

We don't want to have our subs saying this, especially since many schools has a no-movie policy in place. But fear not, our talented teachers have some great activities and suggestions for you to implement when you need an emergency lesson plan in Spanish, French,  or any other language class.

Answer from  Island Teacher Blog
I love to leave general activities which can be adapted to whatever unit we are studying. This is one of the reasons why I created vocabulary task cards. These cards give students various task options
which can be used with any vocabulary unit. I give students a choice in which tasks to complete and require a specific amount to be handed in either at the end of the class period or when I return. This is a great way for students to still be productive in reviewing current class material without having a "wasted" day because of me being absent.

Answer from Caroline Marion I-Speak-Your-Language 
Many schools require sub plan folders ready to go on your desk when school begins. However, I have been caught without sub plans ready and have been able to e-mail in my lesson plans from home thanks to the internet.
In foreign language classes, we often face the problem of a sub who doesn’t speak the target language, making sub plans a difficult task. One idea is to have a great video or DVD that can be shown to the class. This should also include a set of questions over the video so students are accountable for something.
I have three products that can be used for sub plans.

This is a trivia game in English in which all answers are names of countries where Spanish is one of the official languages. It is my best seller.
Here is a reading in English about the Fiesta de San Fermin. Includes a trivia game and a mini-poster which can be cut up into a jigsaw puzzle. This product takes a little prep time to get it ready for the sub.
Here is a French reading, “Mon Oncle Jules” by Guy de Maupassant. It has been revised and simplified for French II students.

Answer from SpanishPlans
I try to have a few activities ready to go depending on where my students are in a unit. For example, if we are at the beginning of a unit, I will give students class time to practice their vocabulary with my Vocabulary Practice assignment where students can choose various activities worth varying points to remember their vocab. Kids love this activity and it keeps them busy in class and also helps tremendously with memorizing vocabulary.

Answer from Spanish Sundries 
For me, there are 3 components that a sub plan needs to have for things to go smoothly while I am gone;
1. It must not require the sub to speak Spanish (since they rarely do)
2. It must be tied to what we are learning or have learned (kids can spot busy work a mile away)
3. It must be VERY engaging...dare I say FUN so that those not so self-motivated actually want to do the assignment

These are some of my favorite activities to leave for emergency lesson plans as they meet all 3 criteria and then some:
Infographic Reading Activities
Spanish Logic Puzzles
Spanish Cartoon Listening Activities
With plans like these I don't have to feel guilty because I know my students learned something, but I also don't have to follow up on behavior issues when I get back.

I created a really fun PowerPoint that can be used for French and Spanish sub plans for levels II and up to AP. Students guess famous Americans and Hispanics based on 20 clues in the target language. The game reviews Spanish adjectives, professions, age, tener, ser, estar, etc., while learning interesting facts about famous people. These sub plans can be used for one day and then used again a few months later or can be used for three- five days of sub plans in a row.

There are descriptions and pictures of 27 people in total (15 Americans and 12 Hispanics). Some famous Hispanics are included, but not too many so that students can then research others and create their own clues. More advanced students can delve deeper into learning about other noteworthy Hispanics through a resume writing project. They will write resumes for the famous people, create an audio/visual, and then present to the class. The instructions and grading rubric for this project are included.

Check back for new posts with more sub activities! 


  1. I created a sub tub a few years ago which has saved my life! I found the idea on Pinterest and modified it for my classroom. In it are a series of games and activities organized by grade level, all of which can be done again and again and do not require the sub to speak Spanish (which is a rarity in my school!) along with a binder explaining how to run class, including greeting activities, how to transition, procedures, class lists, etc. The activities are typically culturally oriented or simple Spanish activities such as Memory, Bingo, etc. Though it was extremely time consuming to put together, now that it is, I don't need to make sub plans ever again. No more running into school at 5:30 in the morning sick as a dog to write sub plans! I put a post on my former blog (Salón de Pepita) covering everything I have in the sub tub... you can see it here :)

  2. I love the idea of a sub tub! I've now added that to my list of things to do for my French classes. Thanks for sharing!


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