How to Create a Sub Tub, Sub Binder and Sub Plans With Ease

We all know as teachers it is more work to write sub plans than come in when we are sick.  This was me every time I wasn't feeling well.    I took so much care into putting my plans together, and then half the time I wouldn't have a sub, or my plans weren't even followed.

Sub tubs Sub binder and Easy Lesson plans

Does that story sound familiar?  One day I found myself in the hospital for emergency surgery. Thankfully I had my lessons prepared for that day, but what about the next few days? That is when I knew that the time I took to put together my Sub Binder and Sub Tub was worth it.

My class wasn't going to fall apart because the sub wasn't sticking to the curriculum plan I had laid out for the year.  My students weren't going to fall behind if they didn't move forward in their math lessons are reading the next story that was in my plan book.

Instead, the sub would follow a generic plan that had daily activities that focused on reading, phonics, writing, and math.  The best part was that the plans were already written and the classwork was already copied.  All the substitute teacher had to do was take them from my Sub Tub.

When I returned to school the following week, my students were excited to see me and they were ready to pick up where we left off.  I was able to alter my own plans during the following weeks to get us back on track with our long-range plan.  


A sub binder takes the guesswork out of the equation for your sub. Often substitute teachers visit many classrooms, different schools, and sometimes different school districts. Every classroom has its own unique structure and procedures.  A substitute teacher can't know how every classroom works.


The Sub Binder is your classroom handbook.  It provides the guest teacher with classroom basics and school basic operating procedures. Everything your sub needs to know should be in your sub binder.

The ultimate Sub Tub- a subs survival guide


Preparing the sub binder can be a big task, but once it is done, you will only need to update it as needed. You will need a few supplies before you begin preparing your substitute binder.

Supplies Needed to Make a Sub Binder

  • 3-Ring Binder
  • Sheet Protectors
  • Welcome Note
  • Class Roster
  • Class Seating Chart
  • Daily Class Schedule
  • School Schedule/Bell Schedule
  • Specials Schedule-computers/P.E./Music/Library
  • Schedules for Students who may go to Speech/Resource/Intervention
  • Important Class Information-bathroom/discipline
  • Important School Information-how to reach the office/Teachers nearby
  • Procedures for Dismissal- bus riders/daycare/parent pick-up
  • Procedures for Indoor Recess
  • Generic Lesson Plans
  • Worksheets
  • Sub Feeback Form
  • Map of the school
  • Emergency Procedures-fire drill/earthquake/weather/lock-down

Welcome Note

A welcome note is a great way to welcome the guest teacher to your classroom.  Let them know how thankful you are to have them there to look after your students in your absence.  Being a substitute teacher is hard work these days.  A few kind words can go a long way.

Class Rosters, Seating Charts, and Schedules

All of these are very important when you are a substitute teacher.  Make sure you keep your class roster updated.  This is extremely important if there were to be an emergency.  A class roster makes it easy for the substitute teacher to know which students are in class and those that are not. 

A class seating chart helps the guest teacher know where students sit or should be sitting.  Every now and then a few students think they can trick the sub and move their seats.

It can be difficult for the regular classroom teacher to remember the weekly schedule.  Having schedules easily accessible for the substitute teacher is very helpful. the substitute teacher will need to know when to take students to recess and lunch. They also need to know when your class has special activities like music, library or computers. If you have students who receive support services such as speech or academic interventions, you will want to have that listed as well.  


To help your substitute have an amazing day, it is important to let them know about specific class procedures. What do your students do when they arrive and how are they dismissed at the end of the day. They will also want to know about your bathroom policy and of course classroom behavior expectations and if needed discipline procedures. 

Don't forget about rainy day recess.  Have a plan in your sub binder for that.  The last thing you want is for everything in your classroom to be used because there wasn't a plan. Also, make sure you have notes about Emergency Procedures. A substitute teacher won't know where to take your students for a fire drill.

Emergency Sub Plans

These plans do not have to follow your typical classroom day as if you were there. Make it simple for you and for the substitute teacher. In my emergency plans, I have an outline of the day along with basic activities that can be used. I have a lot of work than any teacher can do and the students just use their whiteboards. For specific skills activities, the substitute teacher can find them in my sub tube Tub.

Sub Binder Sub Tub Emergency Sub Plans


Not only do you need a sub binder, but you need a sub tub too.  In my sub tub, I have a variety of worksheets for my students to use throughout the day.  If I am teaching, I don't use a lot of worksheets, but remember this is a substitute teacher, often a sub will not have a lot of experience with teaching and using teachers' manuals.  Having them use worksheets is easier and less time-consuming for you.

Sub Tub- Materials and plans for the sub

What's in my Sub Tub

My sub-tub is a hanging file folder box. It has sections for phonics, sight words, decodable books, writing prompts, and math.  I also keep some read-aloud books in it as well.

Each section has class sets of worksheets that the sub can pull to be used during the day while they follow my plan. 

You can download your own copy of my FREE generic sub plans by clicking the image below. 

sub plan template

The Ultimate Sub Resource sub Binder and Sub Tub

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