There are several things that are true about having a sub in your music class.

  • You can almost never afford to tread water with the class you miss because you won’t see them again until next week.
  • You never know who you will get as your sub, or their confidence level.  If you are blessed you will end up with a retired music teacher but it is equally likely that you will have a very kind sub who is not a confident musician and won’t be comfortable singing.  You might even have a sub who has trouble running the CD player.
  • Your sub needs choices.  When you have a musician as a sub, you don’t want to disappoint them by having your students watch a video and if you have someone is musically uncomfortable, you still want them to be successful.  CHOICES are AWESOME!
  • Your students will act better if they have choices and expectations
  • Hands-on involved activities will work better than passive ones
  • Videos are never as effective as we wish they were and often cause discipline problems due to lack of engagement.
  • Subs are often ill equipped to use technology and when would your technology most likely have a problem?  When the sub is there…. just to make their day more interesting.
  • Even if you can’t move ahead with this class, students can always use more time to practice newly acquired skills.

That is why I developed a series of LESSON MENUS for my Sub tub.


Here is how it works.

  • This semester I have  3 different menus. (K-2), 3, (4-5)   next semester after the 3rd grade show, I will redo the menus so that they are (K-1), (2-3) (4-5).
  • Each activity has an approximate time and a point value.
  • The activities range in complexity and level of involvement in order to offer more in depth more interesting work for subs who can handle it and more accessible work for subs who need something simpler.
  • Each menu item contains a brief description, but more in depth instructions and additional materials are in the Sub Tub including recordings, books, worksheets and game instructions.
  • Most of my Menu items are ones that my students already have experienced and enjoyed, like the rhythm scavenger hunt.  This year I used the rhythm scavenger hunt as a pre-assessment in order to determine what needed the most focus during review before moving onto grade the new rhythms for the new year.  So that I could assess more than one grade level at a time, I color coded the cards.  3rd-5th had to do yellow, 4th had to look for yellow and orange and 5th grade had to find yellow, orange and blue.   I LOVE scavenger hunts because they serve as a great way to review anything.   If you would like to read my original post about Scavenger Hunts – click HERE.

August and Early September:
Nothing can replace the Emergency Plans – At the beginning of the year, in addition to classroom procedures I have a VERY simple Emergency plan in case I am out before I have had a chance to front load my students.   Those plans are exactly what my students used this year when I missed the 2nd week of school with a high fever and sinus infection.    Below you will find exactly what I have for my Emergency Plans.  They aren’t the best, but they will do in a pinch.   ALL of the materials that are needed are in the SUB TUB.

If you decide that you take a look at my Lesson Menus you will notice that one option for the sub is to sing a song and do an activity out of the Sub Survivor book.

This book is AWESOME! and I highly recommend it!