Substitute Teacher Lesson Plan – Don’t be a Miss Viola Swamp

Once again, you have arrived in the classroom and discover that you have no lesson plans for the day; students are already flowing into the classroom, bombarding you with questions about why their teacher is not here today. Have no fear! You can still warmly greet your students and get them settled because you know that you have a copy of Miss Nelson is Missing by Harry G. Allard, Jr. in your bag.

In this book, the students in room 207 have been misbehaving and their teacher disappears, only to be replaced by the witchy substitute teacher, Miss Viola Swamp. This book is an excellent choice for read aloud and discussion with students in first grade through sixth grade. Simply read the book aloud and then select an activity to follow up on the reading.

Possibilities for follow up activities:

Discussion – Ask students the question “Who is Miss Viola Swamp?” Ask them to offer three pieces of evidence to support their response and let the conversation flow.

Writing – Give the students a writing prompt. For example, “How do you feel when your teacher is absent and you have a substitute?” or “What do you think are the best qualities in a fabulous substitute teacher?” Allow students to share their writing if they are comfortable doing so. Do not make sharing mandatory, as there may be personal issues of which you may be unaware.

Creating in a group – Place students in small groups and ask them to design a lesson they would like to teach if they had to be substitute for a day. Allow them to pick a topic (you may want to limit them on the board) and be prepared to teach it to another group. Students typically have fun when they are able to be the “teacher” and tend to be more focused if they know they will be able to share their creations.

Using this book and follow up activities will allow students to engage in meaningful learning while still having fun. Equally important, it allows the substitute teacher to connect with students and minimize behavior issues with the warning “Don’t make me be a Miss Viola Swamp!”

For more great ideas and information on substitute teaching, check out Sub Sidekick.

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