Looking for emergency elementary music sub plans for now… or in the future?
The single most important strategy for music sub plans (especially when it is a true emergency) is to have a substitute teacher kit (or “sub tub”) ready to go in advance. That way, you can just write “see sub tub” and feel confident that your substitute teacher will have what they need.
Consider making a digital sub tub for your music sub plans
Your music sub tub doesn’t need to be a physical one – it can also be a folder on your teacher drive. Give a share link to it to the office to pass on to whoever is in your classes when you are away. During the pandemic teacher absences were much more frequent due to daily screening – by having a digital sub folder, I was not only able to easily update it from home, but also have one less thing that subs would need to touch in my office. Win-win!
What my music teacher sub tub has in it
- “Read This First” general notes – this is where I put notes about all the general notes about routines, stuff I don’t want supply teachers to do or touch despite what students might try to convince them, etc.
- Copy of my schedule
- Copy of the duty schedule
- Map of the school
- A couple of “do anytime” stand alone lessons for each grade level. These can be accessed when you are away unexpectedly and don’t have time to create customized emergency sub plans. (It’s great to be able to put these in the tub in advance and then just replace as needed. When you or your kiddo is sick and you can’t be at school, there is nothing more low stress than to just write “see sub tub” and be done with it.)
Easy music sub plans for non music teachers
Make sure you have “fool-proof” activities in your sub tub arsenal. Early in my teaching career, I used to spend a ton of time creating super detailed music plans only to come back to notes that said “I didn’t understand this so we just played music bingo instead.” 🤦🏼♀️ It wasn’t until that happened several times that I realized how few teachers (especially substitutes) actually have music experience.
It’s best to have some music sub plans that not only can be taught by a non-music sub but also that can be used at any time of year, or at least any time within the term. This way you don’t have to update it as often.
Resources you can put in your elementary music sub plans
Music Workshop is a free website that provides video-based lessons with matching worksheets in a range of topics including music history, instrument families, and musical genres. The content is pretty superficial and does have the occasional error, but are still much better quality than many ready-made resources out there. The videos are full of short clips (many from pop culture) that keep kids engaged, so they’re a great choice when you need something in a pinch. These music lesson plans are SUPER easy to use, even for a substitute. Just watch the video and complete the worksheet! (I also keep these lessons in my toolbox for remote teaching emergencies).
Ready-to-go sub plans for elementary music
Music Theory Review Worksheets (Grades 3 – 5)
Review sheets are also a great choice for supply teachers. If they’re based on topics that students should already know, then it takes a lot of the pressure off of the sub to be able to explain things thoroughly.
These music theory sheets were created to match the curriculum expectations for each grade, and they include completed examples to ensure that the students (and the sub!) have correct information.
If you leave the sub one grade level below, then it will be sure to be review and require less effort or knowledge from your sub.
Curious George Beats The Band Lesson Pack (Grades 1 – 4)
This lesson pack to accompany a Curious George episode
makes an engaging addition to your music sub plans.
Based on an episode of Curious George (easily found for free online) this package includes several activities, which means you could cover several absences with this single resource.
The problem with most music worksheets is that they don’t include any actual music examples, making them of limited academic value.
These worksheets come with a teacher’s powerpoint file that includes music clip samples, making them useful as assessments or high-quality review activities.
They’re so easy to use, they’re perfect for leaving in your music sub tub.