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Creating a Rock Solid and Useful Sub Binder

Discover how to simplify substitute planning with a Substitute Teacher Binder. From sorted lesson folders to handy tips, here’s the plan. Stay prepared for anything and save yourself some serious time. Let’s make classroom management a breeze!

Be sure to grab the worksheet FREEBIE in this article!

image of substitute teacher binder - sub tub folder

Planning for a substitute can feel like a hurdle for many teachers.

Let’s be real. Setting up your Substitute Teacher Binder, lesson folders, or Sub Tub does require time and effort. 

But trust me, once you’ve got it all sorted out the first time, you’ll find that updating it from year to year is much easier to handle.

While it’s a major time investment upfront, I believe it’s time well spent. 

It’s just one of those essential tasks that come with the territory of being a teacher.

Image of a sub tub - substitute teacher binder for with daily schedules and class information

Collect important papers that the substitute teacher needs

Here’s a quick list of some forms to include:

  • Daily schedule (Bell schedule) – filled with times for each subject, lunch, recess, specials, speech, special ed times, etc.
  •  Delay schedules or special schedules subs might need
  •  Student list – class list – for each class period and all switches
  •  Hotlist – students who need extra care, such as medications, medical information, special needs, or any noteworthy info about handling students with care
  •  Class information – arrival and dismissal info, attendance, lunch count, room number, phone extension, helpful students, etc.
  •  Emergency Lesson Plans – these are extremely important for times you’re out of the classroom unexpectedly
  •  Emergency drills – list each drill and what the sub needs to know
  •  Class rules and behavior management you use
  •  Extra Time Folder – fill this up with puzzles, critical thinking skills, task cards, classwork you didn’t have time for (great for review!), etc.
  •  Task card activities
  •  Any additional info the sub might need
Image of a sub tub - substitute teacher binder - with important forms subs need for teaching

Setting Up the Substitute Teacher Binder

To get started, gather up a binder, some small sticky notes for tab-making, and a handful of page protectors.

When it comes to arranging your forms, simply organize them in a way that feels natural to you.

Make sure the most important papers are tucked inside the page protectors for easy access.
Be sure to double-check that your class list is up-to-date. I usually make several copies of it since some substitutes use them for taking attendance.

You can slide those copies right into the page protectors alongside the other essential papers.

Image shows folders used to create Emergency Lesson Plans for unexpected absences by following these tips

Once you’ve got your forms in the page protectors, it’s time to add a little organizational flair with sticky note tabs – just like the ones in the image above. 

These tabs can jut out from the side of the page protectors, making it a breeze for your sub to locate what they need in a pinch. 

Opt for smaller-sized sticky notes for the perfect tab-making tools.

Be sure to add Emergency Sub Plans.

It’s important to create those Emergency Sub Plans.

While we hope we’ll never have to use them, having Emergency Sub Plans ready is a smart move for any teacher. 

You never know when unexpected circumstances will hit, leaving you unable to prep lessons ahead of time. Whether it’s a sudden illness or some other unexpected event, having these plans in place helps your classroom carry on without missing a beat.

Your Emergency Sub Plans should be versatile enough to use at any point in the year. 

Think review lessons and task card activities – lessons that can easily fit into any curriculum. Have a few ideas copied, prepped, and ready to go at a moment’s notice.

What’s the “Extra Time Folder” in your Substitute Teacher Binder?

So, what exactly is this “Extra Time Folder” in your Substitute Teacher Binder?

If you’re not already on board with this idea, get ready to love it – it’s a simple yet effective way to stay ahead of the game, benefiting your students, your substitute, and yourself. 

It’s a win-win-win situation all around.

image of extra time file folder for substitute teachers to use for reference

After class, there’s usually a stack of papers or worksheets that didn’t fit into the lesson. Instead of tossing them in the recycling bin, why not stash them in your Extra Time Folder?

Even if these pages aren’t used for a while, they can be a lifesaver when a substitute teacher needs something extra to keep the class engaged. It’s a win-win – your substitute gets some meaningful backup activities, and your students stay on track, even if a lesson ends a bit early.

We’ve all seen how trouble starts when students have too much downtime.

By having these extras on hand, we can stop trouble before it starts and keep the learning vibe going strong.

Image of an extra work folder which should be part of your substitute teacher binder and sub tub

So, anytime you have extra papers, you can toss them into your “Extra Time” folder.

FREEBIE – Here’s a FREE Common Nouns and Proper Nouns page that doubles as an Ice Breaker or Getting-to-Know You page!

Click HERE or the image below to download this List of Favorites absolutely FREE to start your Sub-Tub!

The worksheet will download immediately to your computer! Check your downloads folder.

image of common and proper nouns worksheet

Shop this blog article:

If you’re interested in the sub forms used in this article, like the binder cover above, check out the Teacher Binder Set.

If you’d like the “Football Fumble” reading page, you’ll find fictional stories like that in the Reading Comprehension Passages Set.

Want to read more about the Teacher Binder Set with forms for substitute teachers? Be sure to read: Teacher Binder Organization Step-By-Step.

image of substitute teacher binder - sub tub folder

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