Planning for a Sub in a 1:1 Classroom

Are you a 1:1 classroom teacher and want to use our digital sub plans? Using digital sub plans can be a great way to save paper and time printing and copying. However, there are a few things you need to keep in mind when planning for a sub in a 1:1 classroom.

I love the many advantages a 1:1 classroom offers, the biggest being the ability to differentiate, especially enrich my advanced students. I also found it easier for students who were absent to check in on missed work. 

However, I did find myself more nervous to have a substitute come into my 1:1 classroom. Adding in the element of Chromebooks (which is what I had) added extra preparation and stress. Will my sub know how to use the programs? Can they help students troubleshoot? Will they enforce the rules in order to prevent damage to the computers?

Students on computers with a sub in a 1:1 classroom

Here are some extra steps I started taking in my 1:1 classroom substitute preparations to help ease some stress for me, and my sub.

Leave detailed technology rules. 

Be very explicit. Overdo it. Consider the following questions when leaving plans for your sub:

  • If you have computers or tablets that stay in your classroom- 
    • Are students assigned computers?
    • How do students check them in/out? 
    • When do you check them in/out?  
    • What about lunch or recess? 
  • If your students have their own computer or tablet that travels with them-
    • What are your expectations for this? 
    • What if a student forgot their computer or tablet?
    • What if they need to charge it? 
  • Are there any accessories that students use with their computers, i.e. headphones or earbuds?
  • What programs can students use? What happens if they are in the wrong place? 
  • How do you monitor students on their computers?
  • Do you have breakout groups? How do those work?

I suggest leaving a list of usernames and passwords of your students to any programs or websites that you use. In case a student forgets, your sub can quickly help them log back in.  

Procedures, procedures, procedures

Drill procedures into your student’s heads so they know it so well that even when you are gone they do them out of habit. Your classroom has a certain flow when you are there running things but with a sub things are different. They are probably learning your procedures for the first time so I suggest leaving a little extra time in your sub plans for these things. 

In addition to detailed tech instructions for your 1:1 classroom, leave instructions for things like how and where students get their materials, if you are doing a mix of paper and digital,  and how students will turn in their assignments.

For example, my students had to check their computers back in at the end of class by plugging them into the correct slots on the computer cart. Usually, this took less than 5 minutes. In my sub plans though, I would leave closer to 10 minutes. That way the sub could be thorough in checking that it happens correctly without feeling rushed. 

Who ya gonna call?

Inevitably something will happen with technology that your sub will have a question about, just plan on it. Be sure to leave the contact information for who to reach out to. 

I would always tell them to check with my team teachers first. Most often, they could solve any problem that came up, whether that was technology or students. As a backup, I would leave my librarians contact information because he was good with tech stuff. 

Remember Murphy’s Law… 

“Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.”

Ok, so it’s not a guarantee that something will go wrong, especially if you leave a good sub binder and plans but, I think it’s always good to be prepared. 

I like to leave a list of common problems my students or I run into and troubleshooting steps for them. This way, they can try and fix the problems before reaching out to another teacher. 

Did I miss anything? Tell me how else you prepare for a sub in the comments.


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