December 20, 2012

art sub tub

So far this school year I have perfect attendance.
I am actually mildly shocked that between kids chewing on pencils, sneezing into the non-existent tissues in their hands, and coughing everywhere except into their elbow that I am able to boast about a perfect record.
Last year at this time I was an incubator of bronchitis and mild pneumonia. 
I know.

That being said almost every free moment from the last five months was spent doing masters homework.
That means that so many things I want to do for myself and my art room have been put on hold.

Finally though I caught a break the last two weeks of school.
My masters classes were done and suddenly it felt like I had an abundant amount of time on my hands.

So I spent the time doing something that I have wanted to do for a long time.
Have you ever heard of a
Sub Tub?

I've seen a few pins for them.
But I knew I needed to make one that was perfect for me.
And here it is.

The tub is color coordinating to match everything that is already color coordinated in my classroom.
So, I will never ever be able to change my colors again. Ha!

I laminated construction paper for the grade level dividers.
I also stuck some cardboard dividers into the tub for extra support.
Then I grabbed some file folders.
I already had my sub lessons on hand, so I just started labeling the folders.

Each file folder has the lesson plan* and I tried to get examples in them as well.
The examples take a long time, so this will continue to be a process.

But I wasn't done yet.
I saw // this pin // and knew the tub would not be complete without it.
I started snapping pictures all over my art room and emailing them to myself.
In a word document I labeled and described every picture.
I want this substitute to feel like the teacher, not like the guest speaker.

I probably gave a little too much information, but let's face it, no one wants to enter a classroom empty-handed.
These labeled numbers on the cabinet doors also appear on the lesson plans* that are located in the file folders.
I wanted the sub to be able to get the supplies on their own, so this was a must.

Hopefully this will keep me from working hours just to get sub plans ready.
Hopefully this will be helpful to any substitute who comes in.

Now all I have to do is break my perfect attendance record to see if it works.


  1. Awesome! As a brand new sub, after all my years teaching, I can't tell you how much I would have appreciated something like that in my first sub experience, where there was NOTHING left beyond the schedule and seating charts. Lucky I came prepared, just in case...

    1. Ya! I am glad you approve. I can't believe nothing was left for you. But once a teacher, always a teacher. I bet the kids loved you and your brilliant lessons that day!

    2. Sorry to keep filling this post with comments but... Yes, I had a good day, but I came home and said "there were no safety procedures, sign-out procedures, lock-down instructions, discipline policies, or anything of the sort that I could locate." And this was a couple of weeks before the tragic day in Sandy Hook. Please, please, leave this info for the sub so that in an emergency we know what to do! It felt so irresponsible that I didn't have this info at hand.

    3. You will be happy to know that my sub tub has all these things. I didn't post pictures for the world to see because I never know who in the world is actually reading these posts and I figured that by posting those drills I was putting safety at risk. But you are right, every sub should have that kind of information on hand, especially in light of recent events.

      And YES! I have all the rest of the information too...discipline, procedures, supplies, etc...If I were a sub I would want this information too! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Do you still leave a detailed sub plan for the day or do you let them choose from the sub tub? I have been working on a similar idea and wasn't sure if I should still leave or email the school with plans.

    1. You know, I haven't decided yet. But I think because the sub tub is there plus the notebook, they should not need detailed plans.

    2. Here's my thoughts on this, from both sides of the fence. If you know you are going to be out, and are confident your sub can carry out your regular plans (if you know your sub this helps) and do not want to put off continuing work-in-progress (maybe have a deadline you are tying to meet) then by all,means, leave those detailed regular plans. For example, I recently subbed for my replacement. She was confident that I could continue the wampum belts the 4th graders are making, but if it was a different sub, she would have been better off with having her use a lesson from the sub tub, rather than risk the frustration of having a sub try to teach and troubleshoot something she had never done herself.

      I see the Sub Tub as more of a basic set of instructions, policies, where to find things, etc, for any sub in your room, as well as a set of 'emergency plans': one-class lessons that can be done with simple materials and minimal preparation, that a sub can pull off when they are called barely an hour before the start of school (that's the morning where the baby throws up just as you arrive at day care, or other similar situations.) in those situations, the sub can't mix paint, cut paper, or try out a process, but needs to be able to read the plan, find the paper and drawing materials, and BAM be ready to teach kids in no time flat. Does that make sense?

    3. Oh yes, I totally agree. The sub tub is for those emergency situations. Rarely do I know in advance that I'm gonna be gone and can request who my sub is. In that type of a situation I would leave detailed plans and hopefully that person could finish up loose ends.

    4. Thanks for all of the information! I subbed for three years until I finally landed a job. One of the teachers I subbed for was super organized (like you) and I felt like I new everything about the classroom. I promised myself when I got a job I'd do the same thing for my subs. I love that you added labeled photos to your sub binder. Thanks again!

  3. I love how you have organized everything! Thanks for posting!

  4. Great job! I did a similar thing with my sub plans binder this year. Instead of a tub filled with plans ( i don't really have the space for it) I put all the lesson ideas in the binder. So far it has worked pretty well. :)

    1. That is awesome and space-saving!

  5. I love this. I have a binder that we made at one of our inservices that is similar. I do need to update it. My problem has been with my team members being absent. As the team leader, I have been in their rooms looking for things that the sub can do. I really think we may use one of our Professional learning early release days to set up a system similar to yours.

  6. I have used a sub tub for years. Sometimes I leave detailed lessons for a "real" project if I know I will be out, but usually I fear the kids getting sloppy and ruining what we have been working on - not knowing who will be there. I love how tidy your tub looks - I'm thinking mine needs a make-over. Thanks for the inspiration. In addition I also have some drawing videos by Mark Kistler that I leave, the kids usually love these.

  7. I used a sub tub for the first time this year based on the information you provided in this post. Thank you! It has been less stressful to be sick unexpectedly or have to stay home with my children. I don't have to worry about my room being a mess or projects messed up because I wasn't there to catch mistakes. I just send in the email--use the Art Sub Tub, thanks!