Simple to Use Tools for Substitute Plans

substituteAs teachers, we all know that most of the time it's easier to come into work sick than take the time to write substitute plans and copy worksheets. Especially because there is usually a 50/50 chance your class will end up playing heads up seven up the whole time, not getting the work done, or leaving you to play catch up with your pacing guide! Sometimes though, you have no choice but to attend professional development or important meetings and are forced to leave your class in the hands of a substitute.

But with all the blended learning tools available now, I say: Be your own sub. Below are three of my tried and true tools that you can use to make sure your students get the content you want, the way you want them to get it, and stay right on pace!

Office Mix:
This free add-on for PowerPoint is so quick and simple, you could even use it for sick day plans! To use Mix as your substitute, all a teacher needs to do is take a PowerPoint they already prepared, do a quick recording of themselves presenting the material, add in some interactive websites for practice and review, and then mix in some quiz questions to check for understanding. Teachers can take multiple pieces from the lesson plan quickly and mash them together for a student-paced lesson that can be tracked, thus holding students accountable for their learning.

Zaption:
Zaption has been a favorite substitute tool of mine for quite a while. As quickly as you type up video questions for a worksheet, you can add them to any online or personal video you want. Create an interactive video students can work through on a desktop, iPad, or with the new Zaption presenter, as a whole class! Embed multiple choice, true or false, open ended, and many other question types at any point in the video. This tool makes for an excellent station activity that is quick to set up and requires little input from a sub.

Sway:
This new presentation tool from Microsoft is quite the little powerhouse! Not only can teachers import an already created PowerPoint, but you can include links, or embed maps, charts, video, or audio… basically anything with an iframe code. Students can access it from right inside the Sway without going to external websites. Attach Word or Excel documents easily too. Just give students a link (or QR code) and off they go as no sign in required.

So don't drag yourself to work sick anymore because lessons plans are even harder than going to work sick. Use these quick, simple tools to transform the resources you already have into a blended learning lesson your students can do with a substitute.

After teaching in the middle school classroom for 9 years, Chelsei Fox decided to move into educational technology in Yorktown, VA. As a teacher, she saw the power of bringing technology into the classroom to extend student learning. Now she gets the chance to help other teachers bring the same excitement into their classrooms. After being chosen as Microsoft Innovative Expert Educator in 2013 and 2015, she has had some opportunities to share the many ways Microsoft tools can help create a 21st century classroom. Once her school division adopted Office 365, another world was opened up to the teachers and students. While she has enjoyed finding new ways to use the traditional Office tools, she is excited about the new possibilities of Sway, OneNote Notebooks, and the possibilities they hold.