Oh no! You have arrived at your substitute teaching position for the day and cannot find lesson plans anywhere. Don’t panic! That is where having a Sub Pack comes in handy. A Sub Pack is kind of like an emergency kit for the classroom. Included in a sub pack are items that will help make sure you have a successful day, no matter what classroom you’re teaching in. Having one with you is also helpful if the students have finished all their work the teacher has left for them—you will have a backup plan. The more engaged students are in learning, the fewer behavioral issues you may find. Here are ideas of items to include in your sub pack:

Classroom Supplies:

  • Pens
  • Pencils
  • Crayons
  • Markers/ colored pencils
  • Scissors
  • Sticky notes
  • Paper clips
  • Calculator
  • Lined and blank paper
  • Name badge materials

Rewards/ Motivators

  • Tickets
  • Certificates
  • Stickers
  • Stamps/ink pad

Activity materials:

  • Timer/ Stopwatch
  • Estimation jar
  • Number cube or dice
  • Bookmarks
  • Books for read aloud
  • Filler activities
  • Lesson plans for a variety of grades/ subjects

Personal Items:

  • Clipboard
  • Substitute Daily reports
  • District information
  • Water bottle
  • Snacks (for yourself)
  • Whistle (playground/ PE)
  • Tissues
  • Coins/money for vending or lunch purchases

Each sub pack will look different for every substitute teacher. However, it is always a good idea to have a variety of subjects and grade level backup lesson plans in the event your assignment gets switched when you arrive to the school. If you find yourself in a no lesson plan situation, always make sure to check in with neighboring teachers, too.

Will include several filler activities, Kagan Strategies and some lesson plans.

Filler Activity Ideas:

  • Pictionary: A great idea to review key vocabulary from a lesson.

Invite one student up to the front of the classroom and show them a word from the lesson.  Can be a specific word from a vocab list, or a work from their textbook. The student will try to draw the word on the board and the rest of the class, whether divided into teams, or whole group, should try to guess what it is.


  • Count Up, Stand Up

To play, choose a number that the class is going to count up to. (The bigger the number, the more difficult). For example, 15. Tell the students their challenge is to count to 15. One student must stand up at a time and say the number one. Then, another student must stand up and say the number 2, and so on up to 15. Any student can stand up at any time, but if two students stand up at the same time, they lose. If the class is able to get to the designated number without 2 students standing up at the same time, they win. It is a group effort. If two students stand up at the same time, those students are not out, the entire class would ‘lose.’  This could be differentiated to practice counting by 2’s, 4’s, 5’s, etc. depending on grade level. It can be adapted for different subjects too, if you’re creative!


Helpful Websites and Resources for your Sub Pack

Math, reading and other interactive activities

Watching celebrities read books aloud

Free, and paid worksheets for a variety of elementary subjects

Worksheets all based on the Common Core standards