Sunday, October 11, 2009

Innovative Substitute Lesson Plan

by Dana Lawit

When teachers are absent it can send students, classrooms, and sometimes even schools into a tailspin. Any change in routine can cause disruption. One innovative educator at my school, Darlene, has come up with a substitute lesson plan that uses technology to engage students and support the substitute teacher in an effort to avoid disruption. Using a video, the teacher explains the learning objectives of the lesson, provides a model, and then provides step by step instruction for the student's independent work.

There are several reasons why I think this is an effective substitute lesson plan:

  1. The video will engage students. Student who otherwise might not listen to a teacher's academic back story and reasons for teaching, will do so because its an entertaining and visually supportive video.
  2. The task is relevant. Asking students to describe their background with science allows the teacher to better gauge students' prior knowledge and affective approach to the curricula.
  3. There's room for extension. While during this lesson students are only drafting their science biographies, in future lessons (substitute or otherwise) they could story board their biographies, and perhaps even create their own videos.

Darlene hasn't had to use this lesson yet, but stay tuned for examples of student work. In the mean while, check out of some of Darlene's innovative blogging and use of GoogleSites to organize her classes on her class blog from last year and her Chemistry GoogleSite.


Featured in Teaching and Learning in the Digital Age in this post Alternative assessment.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Hmmm...maybe the teacher shouldn't be missing class to sight-see with a friend.

  3. How do you get around YouTube being blocked in the schools?

  4. i'm glad you said that mathteacher. she seems like a wonderful teacher but her reason for an absence is ridiculous. i'm sure the friend could have made plans to see during the weekend or on the evening.

  5. Not thinking outside the box !

  6. What a cool way to introduce a lesson when there is a substitute. If I choose to use this in a classroom, I will try to keep it short-no longer than 2 minutes-so students can get on with their work.

  7. I just recently found out about this site...
    It allows you to take a youtube clip and convert it to a different file which you could then bring into class. I am still learning what files to convert it in, once I get it, it will be a great tool to be able to share really great videos with my students.

  8. mathteacher... its a personal day. she can miss for whatever reason she chooses.

  9. The video has now been removed from youtube