Looking for a new way to create sub plans? Laura Steinbrink explains why Wakelet could be a game-changing solution
Let’s face it; educators don’t like making sub plans. In fact, the majority of educators I’ve the pleasure to know dread making them. If you’re like me, you would probably have rather gone to school sick in order to avoid them altogether. It’s easier and less work to just go in to school rather than try to figure out what your students and sub can handle while you’re gone. That is, until I met Wakelet.
So, what could Wakelet possibly have to do with educators preparing for substitutes? Let’s look at their core values, which coincidentally are similar to my own.
This is a mindset that I employ every day. Placing limits on anything, whether it’s yourself or your tech tool, is a great way to stifle creativity and growth. I make it a habit to approach everything with the idea that innovation is only a thought or two away. Tools or ideas don’t have to be new to be innovative, we just need to rethink how we use them. I started using Wakelet to save links and resources for myself but the more the company worked to make the platform more useful, collaborative, integrative and intuitive, the more uses I found for it. What are the possibilities beyond curation?
Prior to my new love affair with Wakelet, I thought I was pretty ingenious with my sub plans, especially when the subs were tech-savvy, trusted or well-known enough to handle them. I have one very good sub who I trust to run all of my tech when I’m gone, but I also have subs that really aren’t comfortable with any tech when they’re being ‘me’ for the day.
With this in mind, I write my plans on a Google Doc, which has the schedule, classroom policies, and a breakdown of my day by class period and what I hope the students will accomplish. Sometimes these plans will say that the assignment is in Google Classroom, so students should log in and get started. I do briefly run through what that assignment is but I worry about the subs that aren’t co-teachers of my Google Classroom and don’t see the assignment as posted for the students.
It’s easy to become complacent with what we think is innovative and, before long, we become steeped in the mundane. That’s why I’m always wondering ‘What if?’ When thinking about sub plans recently, I asked myself a few questions. Wouldn’t it be fabulous to have one-stop shop for my current sub that didn’t require granting access to Google Classroom for all substitutes? A space where subs could enter, access everything required for the day and communicate with me, all with one link or access code. Sign. Me. Up. It’s Wakelet to the rescue.
Using Wakelet for your sub plans
Depending on what you teach, there are two ways you can use Wakelet for your sub plans. As a high school teacher, I have five classes, four different subjects, and a lot of variety each period. Elementary teachers might have the same students all day but there is still a lot of different activities and content.
Create one Wakelet Collection for the whole day and divide it into class periods or subjects using text titles. Add all of the content that your sub will need throughout the day as images, Docs straight from your Google Drive, PDFs, YouTube videos, spreadsheets, and links to websites like Quizizz, Kahoot, Nearpod, Pear Deck, Synth and more. As the day progresses, the substitute can collaborate on the collection by clicking the + and add in her own text comments to provide feedback.
Create a Wakelet collection for each class or activity. You can still embed all of the things your substitute will need to ensure students have a successful day, but the focus will be on one subject or class at a time. A separate link or code can easily be generated for each collection created. Links can then be emailed to the substitute and codes can be included in written or typed sub plans. Simply choose the option that works best for you, your schedule and your sub. I chose to go this route when trying this for the first time so that the sheer amount of content in my Wakelet collection didn’t overwhelm my sub. As we both get more comfortable with this new sub plan method, I might be able to merge them but, for now, I do a collection per class.
As Wakelet’s values explain, ‘Technology helps us do things better, but the power of humans is unmatched.’ Use Wakelet to help your substitutes stay organized, have everything they need at their fingertips, and make the day go smoothly for students. You can organize the materials needed, add instructions and comments, collaborate with your sub, and more. And the next time you find yourself needing to make sub plans, simply copy the collection and update it! Want to just add one item from the collection? No problem! Wakelet now allows you to save items from other collections into your own in just a couple of clicks. Find a way that works for you and your subs and use it, adapt it and improve it. You’re only limited by your imagination.
Laura Steinbrink is a state & national presenter who is the author of http://www.rockntheboat.com, a Feedspot Top 200 blog in Education & has published articles for Matt Miller, author of Ditch That Textbook/Co-Author of Ditch That Homework with Alice Keeler; Denis Sheeran, author of Instant Relevance; & articles for ISTE, Kahoot, Getting Smart, & other EDU related companies.
Follow Laura on Twitter, Instagram and Wakelet @SteinbrinkLaura