Friday, January 22, 2010

Bag of Tricks!

I mentioned that I am getting ready to substitute teach. One of the things that I was encouraged to prepare was a “Bag of Tricks”. The items inside vary depending upon the person you ask. The bag is supposed to be a resource for a substitute teacher so that if the teacher's desk is locked or a lesson plan is missing, the sub will be prepared regardless! It should also carry a high-energy snack, a bottle of water, and throat lozenges for the busy teacher.

I asked a friend who is already subbing to show me her bag, and she did. It was a sorry sight! It held only tape and Whiteout©, a few pencils and pens, some chocolate candy to give as rewards (I don’t think my district allows candy), and some 3X5 cards.

I already have an over the shoulder soft "briefcase" or lap-top messenger bag that I am going to use, but other styles would work just as well.

I haven’t even subbed yet and I have already begun creating my Super-Duper Bag of Tricks!

First of all, I created an 8 x 10 activity sheet, with everything from tic-tac-toe to mazes on one side, blank on the other. I have made 30 copies of these. Then I trimmed the sheets down about 4 mm on each side. Placing a colorful piece of computer paper behind the activity sheet, I have also placed a blank computer sheet (cut down 4mm on each side as well) on the other side. Three pieces of paper make it sturdier than one, and now there is a small colorful boarder around the white sheets of paper. Finally, I laminated them. Now I don’t know if they will last me very long. It was an expensive endeavor. I will have to let you know.

Next I bought pencils that were on clearance from Office Max. I bought a lot. And I sharpened them. This way if anyone needs to get up to sharpen a pencil, what I will try to do will be to trade pencils with them. Giving the kids new pencils eliminates the need for anyone to make a run for the sharpener on the other side of the room. However, if this proves costly in the future (everyone likes new pencils!), I could allow them to use the sharpener – but if someone needs a pencil I might tape a spoon to the end of each, allowing them to borrow one but thus encouraging them to return it!

These pencil ideas were two thoughts from people in the (sub class) I took. The spoon idea is one that I have seen done. At one of our local colleges, the bookstore has had the SAME pen for 4 years. The pen is not taped to the desk, nor is it on a string. Four years ago the manager taped a long plastic ice cream spoon to the side of the pen. No one has ever forgotten that it wasn’t theirs!

I have also bought dry-erase markers to go with those activity sheets. Again, this was a hopeful investment. In addition I have an old camping whistle for gym, safety pins for clothing, Band-Aids©, and stickers. I also have a newspaper - this is a great resource for everything from lesson plans to games. I have normal office supplies as well. Lastly, I have printed sheets for several grade levels… from a complex maze/word search for high school aged students to a pre-reading game for kindergarteners.

Probably my most important ingredients for MY bag are games, foldables, and a book that I have. The games are short, age-appropriate time fillers that can be adapted to subject matter. The foldables are activities that can be done on paper that can be left for the permanent teacher to show what the substitute worked on with the students, and a book that I am keeping is one of the Stories with Holes by Nathan Levy. Click on the Title to go to this author's site.

I am in the middle of reading several books w/ tips, and as I read them and enjoy them I will post their titles. These are books for the substitute teacher, or the teacher, to read. Once I have a little experience under my belt I will post a list here so that other substitute teachers might use some of my ideas (or not!) .

1 comment:

  1. that sounds awesome! i can't wait to hear how the bag of tricks works!