Substitute Teachers Lesson Plan Page
Wait! There's no lesson plans in the room. Quick - what will you do? Check with the principal
first, sometimes they have copies of the teachers lesson plans. If not, just use these handy
educational fillers to keep the students occupied.
- Super Stories
- Using a timer or the classroom clock, have the students start writing a story. After a set period of
time have them switch with another student. The next student reads the story and adds on to it. After
a little bit longer period of time, to allow reading what has been written, the students again switch
papers. After a few more times the students return the paper to the original author who shares it with
- Wondrous Words
- Use a big word like Christmas, have the students come up with as many words as they can using just
the letters in the word. For younger children it helps to have each letter of the word on a separate
card or piece of paper. This will allow them to rearrange the letters and make words on their own. To
extended this share the words with the class and have the students write a story using as many of the
words as they can.
- Trash Bag Ghosts
- Here's a nice Halloween project that you can try. Using small white trash bags and some old
newspapers make some spooky ghosts. Have the students crumple a few sheets of newspaper into a ball
and place inside the trash bag to for the head of the ghost. Secure the bag using the twist ties that
come with the bag or black pipe cleaners work just as well. Using a sharpie or other permanent
marker draw eyes or a spooky face on the ghost.
- Comic Balloons
- Clip comics from the newspaper, white out the text in the balloons and photocopy. Have the students
add their own text to the comic balloons. Also, you may want to enlarge the comics as you photocopy
them to make it easier for the students to add their own text. Finally copy several different ones on a
page to keep them occupied even longer. Elementary students like to color the comics.
- Graph Paper Art
- Do you find yourself covering an art class with no lesson plans? Check this activity out. Although
it is an art activity, with the appropriate tie in it can also be a math or social studies lesson as
well. For this activity you'll need some quad rule (quarter inch scale) graph paper and colored pencils
or small markers (the kind that are like ball point pens). Here's what to do.
First ask the students who likes computers, unless they're weird most students will say that they do.
This is also a good way to settle a noisy class.
Next explain to students that computers use pixels to display pictures on the computer screen. Draw a
comparison to pixels and the boxes on the graph paper (pixels are equivalent to the boxes). Skip this
step if you have no idea what I just said. Show the students an example with your picture and explain
that they will be making their own digital art on the graph paper. Encourage them to take their time
and to do a good job. With positive encouragement, most students will.
You can also tie this into math by discussing patterns or symmetry (mirror images) with the students.
A tie-in to Native Americans can be made in social studies by discussing the culture of various groups
and showing photographs of artifacts. Check the school library for books on Native American artifacts.
As a whole class activity you can make a quilt with the designs. Just have the students make their
designs in the same orientation, landscape or portrait.
- Readers' Theater
- Using an age appropriate book have the students read and act out (not up) the book. Some children
are real hams. This works best with literature that they are already familiar with. Do not attempt this
lesson with classes that have problems with behavior, it will just make matters worse.
- What Happens Next
- Using an age appropriate book read up to key point in the book and ask the children to write what
happens next. Have them pair up and critique each others work. This lesson works best with older
students who have been exposed to the writing process from their regular teacher. Do not try this lesson
is a classroom where you do not see evidence that the children are familiar with the writing process.
- Cootie Tag
- This game takes some planning. Actually you need to get a supply of colored spring loaded clothes
pins. You'll need at least two colors. Use a different color for each team. Give each child a supply
of the cootie clothes pins. The object is to clip as many cooties as possible on members of the
opposite team without getting any on yourself. Younger children, those most often afflicted with
cooties, enjoy playing this game. Students older than third or fourth grade will think this game is
dumb. This game for when you are subbing in elementary Physical Education.
- Sharks and Minnows
- You may have heard of this game. It goes by several names including spiders and snakes for Jim
Stafford fans. Using the scooters that are popular at elementary level have a few students be the
sharks. The rest of the students are the minnows. The sharks try to tag the minnows, which upon being
tagged turn into seaweed. The final three or four students get to be the sharks in the next game. This
game for when you are subbing in elementary Physical Education.
- Number Fun
- Here's a left brain/right brain kind of math activity suitable for elementary/middle school students.
Assign each student an number and have them make up pictorial number sentences about their number on a
piece of construction paper. Assign age appropriate numbers (the younger the smaller the number). When
they are done have each student tell about their poster then hang them (the posters) around the room.
- Here's a game that was named by a student. She decided it should be named Bing! because there was
only four squares across the top of the playing cards. It also had the added benefit of keeping the boys
The game, as I explain it, is a spelling game. However I'm certain you will think of other subjects and
applications for it. Because you can play several rounds with the students it will take up as much time
as you need it to. This game is great for a quick review just before an assembly or at the end of the
Give each student a sheet of scrap paper. The blank sides of old worksheets work great for this. Show
the students how to fold the paper to get 16 squares on the paper. Hint: a little showmanship here also
takes up time as well. It also will help calm down a difficult room. Once the students 16 squares on
the paper have them number the squares randomly. For primary students (K-3) you may need to show them
what you mean.
The numbers their squares randomly as well. Then, only the teacher tears up the sheet on the folds to
make tickets to be drawn at random. With the spelling word list draw a number a say that word. Students
write the word in the appropriate square. Typical Bingo rules apply. When a student has four in a row
horizontally, vertically, or diagonally they say Bing!
After a winner is called write the student's name on the board under a heading that says "Winners."
Then have the students draw a line through the words that they have written and the game starts over
again. You can do this as often as needed to fill any desired amount of time.
It Happened Today
On this day in 1973 Gerald Ford was appointed Vice President of the United States. He remains the only President to serve without being elected to either the presidency or vice presidency.
Garden hose holders make a great way to hang up sports equipment like jump ropes and hula hoops.
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