Ideas and Resources for Substitutes from TeachersFirst
This collection of ideas and reviewed resources is selected to help both substitute teachers and regular teachers leaving instructions for a substitute. The list includes useful time-fillers for when plans are not a perfect fit as well as teacher-friendly suggestions to make subbing a positive learning experience for all. Be sure to check "In the classroom" suggestions for practical tips and ways to use these offerings.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUse this handy screen recording tool in a variety of ways in your classroom. Record tutorials for students to demonstrate how to access and use online sites; create recordings for substitutes to explain how to find and use the software on your computer, or make a how-to demo to find information on your class website to share with students and parents. Help students understand how to use the different features of documents, such as creating a tutorial showing students how to format cells in Excel, adding comments to a Google document, or finding and inserting images in slides. Share this tool with students to use when analyzing websites as part of your ongoing digital safety lessons. Ask them to include a video as part of a larger multimedia presentation. After exporting their video, ask students to include it within a presentation created using Sway, reviewed here, or Adobe Spark for Education, reviewed here.
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomUse Involve.me templates and designs in a variety of ways in any classroom. Create short, interactive quizzes for students and receive feedback immediately through an email or within your Involve.me account. For example, modify the Literature Pop Quiz template for any novel or substitute questions about your latest science experiment to assess student understanding. Use the How Well Do You Know History? template to ask questions about important events during your social studies unit. Have students incorporate the survey templates to use as an interactive portion of classroom presentations. Include the inflation calculator during an economics lesson to help students understand the effects of inflation. As students create multimedia projects using resources such as Sway, reviewed here, or Adobe Spark for Education, reviewed here, ask them to include a link to a quiz or survey created using Involve.me.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUse this handy screen recording tool in a variety of ways in your classroom. Record tutorials for students to demonstrate how to access and use online sites, create recordings for substitutes to explain how to find and use the software on your computer, or make a how-to demo on where to find information on your class website to share with students and parents. Help students understand how to use the different features of documents, such as creating a tutorial showing students how to format cells in Excel, add comments to a Google document, or find and insert images in slides. Share this site with students to use when analyzing websites as part of your ongoing digital safety lessons. Ask them to include a video as part of a larger multimedia presentation. After exporting their video, ask students to include it within a presentation created using Sway, reviewed here, or Adobe Spark for Education, reviewed here.
GradesK to 1
In the ClassroomIntroduce your students to Kwanzaa by taking the quiz to see how much they know about Kwanzaa. Then in pairs or small groups, have students research the terms. As students research, substitute paper and pen journals by asking younger students to create a blog using a tool like Penzu, reviewed here, to share what they are learning with fellow students. A great blogging tool for older students is Telegra.ph, reviewed here. With Telegra.ph have students click on an icon to upload related images, add YouTube or Vimeo, or Twitter links. Engage older students, by having them create a poster about Kwanzaa using a tool like DesignCap, reviewed here, and then upload the poster to their blog about the terms and what they've learned about this December holiday.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomAs you introduce this site to students, it is the perfect opportunity to remind students of the importance of providing proper credit when sharing media online. Share a link to Thematic on your class website for students to use when creating video presentations (with proper credit, of course). Ask students to create a slideshow using Renderforest, reviewed here, or other presentation software as a substitute for a written book report or research paper. For example, as students learn about states of matter ask them to find images on a sharing site like UnSplash, reviewed here, demonstrating the different properties and transformation of matter. Have students add text information to their slides and upload their slide presentation to YouTube as a video including background music found on Thematic. Be sure to have students include a slide with credits for all images and music included in their video. On a professional level, use this site to find background music when sharing images from your classroom with parents.
Grades2 to 6
In the ClassroomAny teacher will benefit from the free materials and activities on this site to teach online safety to students either directly through these materials, or as additional resources to your current online safety materials. As a substitute for links on paper or in a word processing tool, use a bookmarking tool like Symbaloo, reviewed here, to share online resources with students on classroom computers and your class website. Enhance student understanding by challenging students to create digital books teaching online safety using Book Creator, reviewed here. Book Creator includes tools for adding videos, images, and more into books.
Grades8 to 12
In the ClassroomBe sure to save these puzzles for use throughout the school year. Use these problems as a substitute for your typical homework assignments. Include questions as part of math or science centers. Replace pencil and paper journals or notebooks by having students blog about their learning and understanding using Tumblr, reviewed here. Ask groups of students to work on topics together then share their results with the class. To enhance student learning and understanding, consider instituting a recurring podcast for students to share problems and discuss problem-solving strategies. Use a site such as podOmatic, reviewed here.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomBookmark this site to use for reference throughout the year. Use it as a 5-10 minute fill-in when you have a little bit of extra time. Get your interactive whiteboard or projector ready and challenge students to provide numbers to use as a comparison or take the numbers quiz together to learn more about numbers. As a substitute to paper and pencil, have students create explainer videos using Biteable, reviewed here, to demonstrate the power and size of large numbers. To extend student learning and understanding, challenge students to create a web page using Carrd, reviewed here, to share information learned after researching numbers and statistics found on this site and others.
Grades6 to 12
tag(s): timelines (47)
In the ClassroomBefore using eStory browse through the site to find examples to share with students. Use eStory to create timelines to order events in stories, visualize and compare historic events or outline steps in a science experiment. Ask students to create a timeline as a substitute for a handwritten research paper. Include student timelines in multimedia projects that include video, images, and maps. Find ideas for multimedia presentation tools and redefining student learning at TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here. Some tool suggestions are (click on the tool name to access the review): Visme, Adobe Spark for K-12, Kizoa, and My Simpleshow.
GradesK to 12
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tag(s): characterization (11), charts and graphs (160), constitution (87), differentiation (63), graphic organizers (43), inferencing (5), mean (20), measurement (136), median (16), mode (14), multiplication (129), patterns (63), place value (42), plot (6), reading comprehension (121), rubrics (30), sequencing (15)
In the ClassroomBe sure to bookmark this site to save as a favorite to find lesson ideas and activities throughout the school year. When planning for a substitute, look through the site to find useful ideas for lessons and planning organizers. There is so much material here to use, consider exploring the site with peers using techniques similar to a book study. Divide the site into sections to discuss at different times of your study. Organize your favorite materials from this site and your other resources using Padlet, reviewed here. Share your Padlet with peers to collaborate and create a useful time for organizing and sharing your favorite teaching materials. Supplement information included on report cards by using a site like Seesaw, reviewed here, to create portfolios for your students to demonstrate progress in reading, math, and other content areas. Include student-created projects based on activities found on For the Teachers.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomShare Semantris with students on classroom computers or devices for use as a quick word association and vocabulary building activity. Challenge students to become more proficient in "beating" Google by earning as many points as possible. For younger students, this site is an excellent way to build vocabulary skills. Have older students take this site a step further and research how machine learning works through this Google activity. Enhance learning by asking them to substitute a traditional report or presentation by making a video explanation tool like Biteable, reviewed here, to describe the concept of machine learning. After spending some time practicing this game, take it a step further and extend student learning by having students create their own vocabulary learning game using a tool such as Scratch, reviewed here.
Grades1 to 6
In the ClassroomIntroduce Ruff Ruffman with a projector or interactive whiteboard, showing students all of the different questions Ruff will answer. Then either view the video shorts and quizzes as a class, or allow students to view the video shorts and take the interactive quizzes at a computer center. As a substitute for paper and pencil, have students use a video response tool like FlipGrid, reviewed here, to reflect on their learning and share tips for their peers. To extend student learning, require students to view their peer's reflections and make thoughtful comments.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomIntroduce this site or the accompanying pages of Stop.Think.Connect to show students how to navigate the resources. Then, allow pairs or small groups to choose from the tips and advice for further study and exploration. As a substitute for handwritten notes, have students document their learning and understanding by taking notes online with SuperNotecard, reviewed here. SuperNotecard can then be turned into a storyboard and used to create a multimedia digital story for students' siblings, parents, and peers. Show your students how to embed media modifying their work into a true digital story with one of these tools (click on the tool name to access the review): PicLits, Adobe Spark For Education, Kizoa, and My Simpleshow.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomCheck with your school's tech department for the appropriate procedure for adding this tool to classroom computers. This very handy tool serves many purposes. As a substitute for handwritten notes, have students take a screenshot and add information to document research findings. If students are stuck at a specific point on a web page or when working with a web tool, ask them to take a screenshot and add their question then share it with you. Augment learning by having students take screen shots to upload into a video presentation. Use a tool similar to Rawshorts, reviewed here, that can be used to create short, animated video explanations. Take screenshots of new websites you share with students and add notes on how to use the tool or create a video recording by screen sharing how to use any site. Share your images on your class website for students to access at any time or use your images to create a simple explainer video using Biteable, reviewed here.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomRyeboard is perfect for those times that you need to organize information and ideas in one place, but you don't need a lot of fancy options. Use this tool to save and organize images for use with class digital projects. Create a whiteboard with an image of each student in your class, add a text box with notes then share with a substitute to have a quick overview of the class. Ryboard is easy enough to use with younger students and ESL/ELL students. For technology integration at the substitution level, create a board with images and have students use the text box to label the images and add additional information. For example, when studying animals upload several images of animals and have students add a text box naming the animal and sharing information about their habitat or adding a label to classify as birds, mammals, reptiles, etc. Augment the this by having older students create a whiteboard for a group project, and share the URL with their partner or group members. Those students can then take a screenshot of the whiteboard using Screencast-o-matic, to insert their comments and ideas, and post the screenshot on their own Ryeboard.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): substitutes (15)
In the ClassroomWhether you are a substitute looking for some "filler" ideas or a classroom teacher looking for new sites, check out this list of resources. Share this list on your class website for families to use at home. This list includes resources for young readers and secondary students.
GradesK to 8
In the ClassroomAlthough recommended for students in grades K-8, teachers of younger students should review questions and consider writing ability levels before including them in the program due to the written responses required. Consider using Whooo's Reading as an alternative to Accelerated Reader due to the use of short response answers instead of multiple choice questions. After reading books, substitute paper and pen journals by asking younger students to create a blog using a tool like Penzu, reviewed here, to share a book review with fellow students. Engage older students, or literature circle groups, by having them create a poster for the book using a tool like DesignCap, reviewed here, and then upload the poster to their blog about the book. A great blogging tool for older students is Telegra.ph, reviewed here. With Telegra.ph have students click on an icon to upload related images, add a YouTube or Vimeo, or Twitter links. This blog creator requires no registration. For all age students, enhance learning by creating a class book review site using FlipGrid, reviewed here, where students create short video book reviews and can comment on each others reviews.
Grades3 to 12
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In the ClassroomBefore creating games, take advantage of shared files in the Community Games library to quickly make games accessible for students. Once you are familiar with the site, create games for any topic to use for review or as a schema activator. Encourage students to use this tool as a substitute for paper and pen. Have groups of students create their own review games for personal use and to share with fellow students. As students gain confidence in creating their own games, share other game-creation sites like Scratch, reviewed here, as an excellent way to promote creativity and personalize any learning experience.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomAny subject area teacher can use this tool to record instructions for using websites. Share how to solve problems, step by step directions for any project, and much more. Leave a video message for a substitute teacher or even your class! Create a video message for parents about current projects, clips from field trips, and more. Put a link to your recording on your class website for students to view at home. Demonstrate how to use this tool for students with a projector or interactive whiteboard, then have them record questions they have when using websites or online programs.
waoh. I love this.Babalola, IN, Grades: 7 - 12