Quick & Easy Ways to Organize Digital Elementary Music Sub Plans

You know, sub plans can be quite the challenge for music teachers, don't you think? It's like entrusting your classroom's keys to someone else and crossing your fingers for a smooth day in your absence. Striking the right balance between clear instructions for the music substitute and easy preparation for yourself can feel like walking a tightrope.

I've been in that situation, and I understand how overwhelming it can be, especially with all our regular responsibilities. But don't worry, I've got some clever strategies to make sub plans a whole lot easier, and I'm here to share them with you. Let's tackle this together and ensure those substitute days go off without a hitch.

Now, there are two primary types of plans to consider: those involving technology and good old-fashioned no-tech plans. In this post, I'll be diving into a fantastic tech tool that allows you to collect video-based plans, which you can edit from virtually anywhere. It's a game-changer!

Wakelet Collections are Perfect for Video-Based Sub Plans!

Wakelet is a handy tech tool that's a real gem for educators like us. It's essentially an online platform that allows you to curate and organize various types of content into collections, which they call "Wakelets." These collections can include articles, videos, images, tweets, and more.

Here's the cool part: you can use Wakelet to create engaging lesson plans or share resources with your students. It's user-friendly and gives you the flexibility to arrange content in a visually appealing way. Plus, you can collaborate with other teachers or students on Wakelet, making it a nifty tool for both solo lesson planning and group projects. It's one of those tech tools that can really streamline your teaching efforts and help keep your students engaged. 

Creating the Plan

When developing sub plans, we should keep in mind those lesson planning best practices that will keep our students engaged and learning. Connect with prior knowledge, check for understanding, reflect on learning. These are important steps in lesson development. Simply playing a video with no preparation or reflection may not help your students learn. I have shared more thoughts on using movies in the music classroom in this post

Wakelet makes it easy to add other resources, photos, questions, and more to complete your video lesson. Adding this info right into the collection makes it easy for the substitute to read and present the lesson just the way you designed it. These Wakelet collections are easily shared using a single link! 

Sample Wakelet Sub Plan

Stevie Wonder & Bill Withers

What do you think? Are you ready for more?

How to Leave Wakelet Plans for Substitutes

My Sub Tub includes several items in addition to the actual plans. 
  • A clipboard with class lists & seating charts for attendance purposes
  • My weekly class schedule
  • A general instructions page that includes any beginning of class routines that would be helpful for a guest teacher to know as well as a list of others in the building who might be able to help with problems.
When I am leaving Wakelet plans, I generally add directions for computer/projector/speakers, and the share link for the Wakelet collection to the general class instructions.  I have found it helpful to email a copy of this instructions page to a nearby colleague and also to admin. The beauty of the emailed page is that the Wakelet link is now clickable. When possible, the admin can forward the instructions to the sub and they can access the clickable link through their email.

More Free Sub Plans for Music Teachers

Before we wrap things up, I want to invite you to explore some of the free sub plans I've already crafted on my Wakelet profile. These plans have been designed with your ease and convenience in mind, aiming to make those unexpected substitute teacher days a breeze. Simply head over to my Wakelet profile, and you'll find a treasure trove of ready-to-use resources waiting for you.

Free Wakelet Sub Plans for Music Teachers

Need More Help?

For those of you who crave more details and want to delve deeper into creating your own Wakelet collections, I've got something special for you. I recently presented on this very subject at a conference, and I've provided time stamps so you can jump straight to the parts that pique your interest the most. Feel free to check out the presentation for a more in-depth look at how to make the most of these video-based music sub plans.

What is Wakelet
0:00 Introduction
2:05 What is Wakelet
3:06 Save, Organize, Collaborate, Present
4:35 How can music teachers use Wakelet?
5:52 Examples for music teachers - Interactive lessons
7:45 Single class & full-day sub plans
10:19 Newsletters
11:40 Immersive Reader
14:30 Student Self-Assessment
16:15 School Dance Playlist
16:55 Portfolio Example

How to Use Wakelet
18:45 How-To Introduction-Navigating the Wakelet Dashboard
19:45 Create a Collection
22:50 Add cover image & background image
24:15 Share collections
25:45 Wakelet Spaces
28:10 Tips to remember

Free Wakelet Header Images


Having easy-to-edit, simple-to-share video sub plans is like a breath of fresh air in the world of teaching. It relieves the stress of last-minute planning and empowers us to be more flexible with our time. It's incredibly freeing to know that you can make adjustments from anywhere, whether it's from the comfort of your own home or during those late-night editing sessions. So, let's embrace this technology, simplify our teaching lives, and make those substitute teacher days a little less daunting. Here's to stress-free teaching and happy learning!

Musically Yours,


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