Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Sub Tub and Freebies

I'm not sure why I keep calling it a sub tub, it's really a basket.  No matter what it is called, it is my new favorite thing in my classroom.  I have spent a good amount of time copying, creating and organizing resources that a sub can use in my absence. What I'm really excited about is this won't just serve as an emergency basket!  I will be able to pull things for a planned absence.  No more writing lengthy sub plans!!!

There isn't anything razzle dazzle about my sub basket just yet, I'm still working on the finishing touches but I wanted to share what I've done so far.  There are 5 sections of the crate; four are for the four quarters in the school year and the other is lessons/activities that can be done any time of year.  In each of those sections there are 3 categories of lessons/activities; Any Grade, K-2, and 3-5.  Inside of those sections are folders containing the lessons/activities.

On the front of each lesson/activity folder are the directions.  Under the title of the activity I make sure to indicate the quarter and grade level(s) it is appropriate for.  I also list all of the materials the sub will need and where they can be found.

Inside the folder is a sample, if applicable, and any worksheets or small items that fit.  All larger items will be stored in plastic storage containers.  I haven't found what I want just yet, so when they are all put together I will take pictures.

Since we are in the 2nd quarter of the school year in my district I've been focusing on activities and lessons that would be appropriate for my students.  Most of what I have added are worksheet based lessons but I plan to add more soon.  Here are some of the things I have in my sub basket for the 2nd quarter:

Second Quarter (K-2) 

Color by Note Umbrella - I found this free color by number image online and then altered it using Photoshop to suit my needs.  This worksheet is perfect for 1st graders who have learned ta, ti-ti and rest.  You can request this worksheet in the Freebies section.

Color by Note Penguin - Another color by number that I altered. This is great for 2nd graders because it includes half notes/rests. Even though I may not teach the half rest until late in the 2nd quarter, it's great to have students start looking at and naming this rest. This is also available by request in the Freebies section. 

Dances from the Nutcracker - I found this resource on Elementary Music Methods. There is a K-2 and a 3-5 version of the worksheet on Cassandra's site. I plan to have the sub read the story, discuss the history, simple ballet explanation, and then listening activity with the worksheets.

Winter Rhythms - This is one of Denise Gange's Resources, I found the link through Pinterest.  This is a great activity for 1st and 2nd graders.

Second Quarter (3-5)

Dances from the Nutcracker - See K-2 description.

Color the Turkey - This is great for 3-5 students.  I found this resource on DIY Music Room.

Pyramid Race - Stem direction is one of those things that I feel gets left by the wayside.  I always seem to throw it into a lesson or when a kid asks a question.  I know I need to do a better job of explaining it.  This worksheet helps students practice stems.  I found this on Ear Training and Improv.

Color that Note - I find that students struggle with identifying low D and C on the Treble Clef staff. While we haven't labeled these notes or started playing them on our recorders, it's good for students to start seeing them.  You can download this worksheet from Making Music Fun.

Color the Feathers - Another Treble Clef Recognition worksheet.  This is a quick activity, so I would pair it with something else for a sub.  You can download it from Susan Paradis.

I realize this is a lot of worksheets.  While I'm not a fan of them all the time, they are great for a sub, especially when I'm not sure who that sub will be.  Plus, they do help reinforce skills that you have already taught.  It's better than just a movie.  I have many more ideas for the 2nd quarter, so look for more posts on what I'm adding to my basket.  As the year progresses I'll share what has made it's way into the other Quarters as well.


  1. How do you keep track of what classes have already done those activities/worksheets?

    1. The subs in our county are really good about leaving detailed reports of what they did and how the day went. When I return I can see what activities have been used and I can notate that on my seating charts for those classes.

  2. I have started getting my sub tub ready for this year. I always try to leave my regular lesson plans but having things like the color by note sheets make things much easier if I have a sub that has no musical background.

    1. My sub tub is for those times when I didn't plan to be out or when I couldn't get one of my preferred subs. When I know who will be in my room I leave regular plans for that person but it's always nice to have things a non-music sub can do.

  3. Stumbled across your color-by-numbers via a Google search and I LOVE THEM!! THANK YOU!!!!!


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