Successful Sub Planning for Special Education

Making sub plans for your special education classroom can be exhausting. Letting your guest teacher know about each of your students’ needs without overwhelming them or setting your students up for failure can be challenging. These tips will help you in your sub planning for special education this school year.

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Prepare your materials way before you’re gone.

At the start of the school year, make a binder filled with information about your students’ accommodations and needs. Make sure the sub, whoever it may be, is aware of all information to help your students be successful whether it’s behavior plans, testing accommodations, or incentives to keep them on track. Although some information is confidential, you want to make sure that any guest teacher is following your students’ IEPs. Plans are there to protect and ensure your children have the educational opportunities they deserve every single day.

If you end up being gone for an extended period of time (i.e. illness or maternity leave), you’ll want to make sure your sub is prepared for any eventuality. Reader Erin F. said, “I wish I would’ve left detailed information on each student. Ideas on how to be successful with each student and make learning easier for each of them. My sub greatly struggled with connecting to the students and there was a huge drop in grades while I was on leave.”

Here’s an example of the information you could leave about each student. Your sub would appreciate knowing a snapshot about each student’s academics and behavior. Tips for success are also a great bonus! (These forms are included in my Complete Short & Long Term Sub Binder Bundle).

Leave information about each of your students with the sub. This will not only help your sub know what they need, but help them to connect with your class.

For special education, it’s also important to note any accommodations your students will need. You can grab these FREE student accommodation forms by singing up for my free resource library.

Consult your team.

Keep in mind that if you coteach with another content area or classroom teacher, they may have a lot of plans already made, or you can work together to make sure things run smoothly.

Have your coteacher share their plans with your substitute teacher when you’re absent. Arrange this at the start of the year. If you’re both going to be gone, make sure to have emergency or backup plans available. Be sure to let other teachers in your building know where you keep your set of emergency sub plans! When you have emergency sub plans ready, all your sub needs to know is where they are located. (This is why every teacher needs emergency sub plans!)

Organize materials for each student.

Your students in special education have different needs and are at varying levels. Having a clear layout of who needs to be taught what is extremely important. Consider having folders for each student in your classroom with anchor activities to support their learning. Teach your students ahead of time that these are their go-to activities when you’re absent or if they finish their other work early.

Sub Planing for Special Ed

Use social stories to prepare your students.

Some students with special needs may struggle with changes in routine. Using social stories to prepare your students for a sub at the start of the year can be incredibly helpful if and when you’re gone.

Reader Liz C. uses this strategy in her special education classroom. “To prepare my students for a sub, I use a social story about a substitute. We review it before the sub comes.”  Preparing students early can help them be ready if a short term absence is extended. “My students have also had to learn to be super flexible after I shattered my wrist this year. I had to have surgery and was out unexpectedly for three weeks! I do have fantastic aides who help to keep the classroom as consistent as possible for them,” Liz said.


Resources for Special Education Sub Planning

If you’d like to save time and streamline this process, ready to go resources from my shop can make this much easier! The Special Education Sub Plan Bundle is a life saver for elementary special education teachers. This HUGE bundle includes lesson plans at a Pre-K through 5th grade level. They are print-and-go, so all that’s left to do is print, copy, and organize the lessons.

Special Education Sub Plans Bundle

The Complete Substitute Binder Bundle helps you put together ALL of the information your sub will need about your students. All that’s left to do is fill out the forms, and you’ll know that you haven’t missed a thing!

Sub planning for special education shouldn’t be more difficult than being home sick or out for the day. Whether you’re absence is planned, or you are at home unexpectedly, these tips for sub planning for special education will help your classroom run smoothly while you’re gone.


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Sub Planning for Special Education

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Hey there, new teacher bestie! I’m Kelsey, and I created Wife Teacher Mommy just for YOU! I blog about teaching and create emergency sub planning resources to make your life easier. Be sure to sign up for my FREE sub plans here!

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