Leadership · Curriculum · Lifelong Learning

Missing a day can be unnerving. A great substitute teacher is priceless. But great subs need great plans. And great plans take time to craft.

It’s hard for an educator to miss a day of school. Besides really missing the kids, and then hoping to find an available, certified sub, preparing for an entire seven-hour day is easier said than done.

The Challenge With Creating Sub Plans

Teachers want a day that can maximize potential for substantial, meaningful learning, while still being simple enough for anyone with a high school diploma to walk in and facilitate.

In addition, the possibility always lingers that a substitute teacher (or anyone else) could misinterpret or misunderstand lesson plans composed in text. It’s very easy for even the best, most well-written directions to get lost in translation. Teachers hope they communicate clearly and thoroughly enough so that the sub can relay expectations for the day.

There must be a better way.

That Was Then

Typing (and then handwriting revisions on the printed, final draft) sub plans would take me three to four hours! There are no fluff days in my learning spaces. Therefore, I didn’t want to put my substitute teachers in positions to make complex translations.

Here Was My 10-Step Video Sub Plan Routine:

  • Prepare plans, resources, and spaces.
  • Set up a device to record in selfie mode.
  • Record videos for all daily experiences.
  • Upload each video to youtube.
  • Insert each youtube video link into safeshare.
  • Link every safeshare video into a google doc.
  • Organize the google doc lesson plan like a hyperdoc.
  • Share the google doc with the sub.
  • Contact the sub to address questions.
  • Ask teammates to help sub ensure smooth delivery.

This was time-consuming and exhausting. But it was worth it.

This Is Now

At #iste17, my friends and I met Flipgrid creator Dr. Charlie Miller and his team. After trying out Flipgrid for the first time, I immediately fell in love with its power to enhance learning experiences. I’m proud to be a 2017 Winter Class Flipgrid Ambassador.

Flipping the classroom isn’t new. Using videos to guide learning experiences isn’t new. But Flipgrid’s platform is a playground of possibilities to make teaching and learning processes better.

The beauty of Flipgrid lies both in its simplicity of video creation and navigation, as well as its power to amplify voice and meaningful discussion in one organized place.

My New 4-Step #GridPlans Routine:

  • Prepare plans, resources, and spaces.
  • Set up a device to record in selfie mode.
  • Record all daily experiences in one grid. Each class is a different topic.
  • Share #GridPlans link with sub.

Why You Should Flipgrid Your Sub Plans:

  • Efficient: Recording video takes less time than typing.
  • Transparent: Teachers speak directly to students–no relay needed.
  • Effective: Video captures clear expectations with demonstrated directions, materials, and supplies, directly from learning spaces.
  • Meaningful: Learning potential increases when inspired by the everyday teacher, albeit while virtual.
  • Personalized: Kids love seeing and hearing their everyday teacher, especially when that teacher is absent. This can let students know that teachers have a personal life, too.

#GridPlans was officially launched on Thursday, May 17th, 2018.

Share your Flipgrid sub plans and tag it with: #GridPlans!

#GridPlans FAQs So Far: 

Question 1: Why not just post videos into your CMS, LMS, or Google Classroom?

Answer 1: In many systems, it can be challenging to monitor, create, communicate, and organize interaction efficiently. Having the option to create, organize, reply, provide feedback, and interact with videos in one grid or topic, and being able to share all of that potential with one Flipgrid link is very powerful.

Question 2: What if my substitute teacher has no access to technology? What if the technology doesn’t work that day? What if we lose power?

Answer 2: Print transcripts of your sub plan videos! Here’s How:

  1. Login as Flipgrid Administrator for the entire process.
  2. When creating your sub plans grid, slide captioning ON.
  3. Create one topic per day of absence.
  4. In each topic (day), record video responses for each daily activity.
  5. Upon recording responses, click on Details. 
  6. Click on Download Full Text.
  7. In notepad, format with word wrap.
  8. You may wish to copy and paste into a google doc to print.

Question 3: What if you don’t want everyone knowing your sub plans?

Answer 3: Set your sub plans grid to be password-protected. Remember to share your #gridplans link and password with your substitute teacher.

What are your thoughts? Comment here!

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