Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Sick Day Dilemma: Tools for Covering Your Absence!

I mentioned recently that we don't have a sub system in place for our elementary and middle school  Spanish classes.  If I know I'm going to be out in advance-sometimes our other, part-time Spanish teacher(remember my super creative colleague?) can cover some of the classes. But generally no teacher=no Spanish class.  I'm hoping to change that for next year, but it means that the sub will likely not speak the TL, nor be a WL teacher. For me to stay at  home means that I have a sick daughter, am in a body cast or on my death bed, so making some creative plans for  5-6 levels of Spanish  that morning are well...not going to happen.  Feeling motivated but overwhelmed with creating standing plans that would continue moving the children forward, and keeping the schedule that I know my colleagues depend on...I reached out to my generous, smart and creative PLN on Twitter(looking at you #langchat and @Earlylang).

Here is a list of their ideas for sub plans for sick days(Note: some of these ideas involve products. I have not received any compensation for mentioning these):

  • The SUB TUB. 
    • Julie Hoffman at Mundo de Pepita shared this: A Sub Tub!   Julie mentioned that while this was labor intensive to set up, it's well worth having this tool in place, so teachers don't have to plan anything from their sick bed. Rather a sub can grab and go.
  •  Play Verba.
    • This one requires a little financial investment, but seems well worth it. Verba is a card game, developed by WL teacher Kevin Ballestrini,  that practices high frequency words within sentence context--and has an elementary expansion pack, plus a Youtube video that explains the game in English-to bring your sub up to speed. Information for Verba here.
  • Draw a story from text.
    • The children draw or create a story board from a text. Or use an activity like the Zombie Sub Activities by Martina Bex(Thanks Bethanie Drew). 
  • Do a reading activities using Newslea .
    • Newslea is a current events news service for students-starting at grade level 2. I think it is currently only available in English and Spanish.  I will unpack this one further in another post--it's a really rich source. (Thanks Maria Cristina Rodriguez-Villa!)
  • Use QR code or links to videos .
    • Develop a cache of videos that can be accessed by the students via ipads, computers to work on an interpretive activity. If that technology isn't available, maybe the sub can access it and project it to the group and then students work on a stock interpretive activity--perhaps writing, then talking. 
  •  Continue what they're already working on.
    • Sometime I overlook this one. Can the students continue working on an activity that you started with them during a previous class?   
  • Focus on familiar activities.
    • Talia Block said that she relies on the familiar--activities like Buddy Bingo, creating Venn diagrams, and video activities.  Using something the students are familiar with can make set-up and execution easier for the sub and encourages TL use among the students. 
My goal is to set up a Sub Tub that includes lots of these activities(I'll keep you posted on this experiment!).

What do you do when a sub is coming in--especially if they don't speak TL or work in WL? I'll update this list as more ideas come in!

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