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Substitute Lesson Plans

I am a new teacher and next week I will have a substitute teacher in my room for the first time.
I am looking for some ideas for plans to leave. I don't want it to be a free hour (which the students will expect). I don't have any students capable of running a rehearsal but I don't want to lose the class time.
Thanks for any advice.
Replies (6): Threaded | Chronological
on November 7, 2011 10:35am
Marisa:  The only question is whether your substitute is capable of running your rehearsals.  If so, just specify what the next things are to work on, and leave the rest up to the sub.
True story:  When my brother-in-law had just graduated with his credentials (in the middle of the year) both he and his wife signed up as substitutes.  Their degress were in Music Ed, of course, but they still got calls for other classes, and early one morning Fred got a call to sub for a chemistry class.  The school expected him just to baby-sit the class of course.  What they didn't know was that before switching to music he's been a chemical engineering major!  So he walked into class, asked them what chapter they were on, and started talking about hydrocarbons!!  When the regular teacher returned, the class asked the principal to let Fred stay!  (He's a very good teacher.)
All the best,
on November 7, 2011 12:55pm
Marisa:  It's always challenging when a choral teacher is going to be gone to provide something productive for the sub to have the students do.  When I'm teaching, there is never time for a video...but when I'm absent, it's an opportunity for the students to view something they wouldn't otherwise have the opportunity to see.  I recommend going to and purchasing a video that could be viewed in an hour, not a musical that would take 3-4 hours to view.  I highly recommend "Do It A Cappella" by Spike Lee.  Also the Mannheim Steamroller "Rennaissance Christmas".  Leave these instructions for the substitute with your other information:  "All students should remain in a seat. During a video, no student may sit on the floor.Do not begin the video until all students are in their seat and quiet. Do not allow talking during the film. DO NOTTURN OUT CLASSROOM LIGHTS. LEAVE THE LIGHTS ON SO YOU CAN MONITOR THE CLASS.
Other activities:
•Create a Choir Recruitment Poster on the computer, with markers & poster board, or as part of a collage.  Before you leave, have the students present their poster idea to you, so you can review them and edit before the sub takes over.
•Write a letter to the composer or arranger of their favorite choral piece this semester.  Have them tell what they like about the piece.  After you read and edit/preview the letters for content, have the students re-write them with corrections and then mail them to the composter/arranger.  Sometimes they will hear back from the composer or arranger.  They need to research on the computer and find the person's address.
•Create an Choir Alphabet...based on the things they've learned in class this semester.  Followup activity:  Each person takes a letter and then illustrates the concept.
on November 8, 2011 6:01am
Hi Marisa,
Here's something I've been doing for a few years and it really seems to work.
Track down Youtube or audio recordings of a few of the songs you're doing.  It's fun to choose very different versions and see how the students react.  Make a worksheet that asks questions like:  Did you like the tempo of this performance?  Why?  Describe the tone--was it dark, bright, rich, thin....well, you get the idea.  The last time I did this I added the question "What can we learn from this performance that we can use in our own?"
Good luck!
on November 8, 2011 10:12am
From the answers, it seems that most people are assuming that a substitute teacher would not be a teacher who is a choral teacher.  Is there a a shortage of qualified, experienced choral substitute teachers?
on November 8, 2011 11:32am
Myron:  I would suspect that there is indeed a shortage of qulified, experienced music teachers of ANY kind who are available to substitute IN A SPECIFIC SCHOOL DISTRICT, and that is the only statistic that matters at 6 a.m. when someone in the Principal's or School District offices picks up the phone and looks down their substitute list.
We have a person who retired from his band job in New Jersey, moved to Virginia, and is keeping quite busy subsituting in a number of schools.  I assume from that that he does not need Virginia certification to do so.  I know he's subbing for band directors, and is eminently qualified.  I don't know whether he gets called for choral or general music classes, but I suspect that's up to how individual school districts classify their substitutes.
All the best,
on November 8, 2011 1:33pm
There aren't any music substitutes in the district, we are a very small town.
Thank you for the suggestions!!
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