25 Mar 2016

A New Kind of Sub Plan

We all need to be gone from school from time to time. Whether we are ill, have sick kids, or have articulation or committee meetings, absences happen. When we leave our classroom, we don’t know exactly what to expect when we get back. We might have multiple teachers cover our classes or a sub that we’ve never met before. Often times we are just hoping that there weren’t any behavior problems! We feel like we lose a day of instruction when we are gone.


So how can we “be” at school, even when we aren’t able to be physically present? And how can we save time making sub plans that might get lost or be completely ignored?


Many secondary teachers have been using Canvas to provide directions, assignments, and resources. This is a huge benefit for those teachers that use Canvas regularly and have expectations on how students use and access it. And while you’re gone, you could even double-check their work before your students arrive in class the next day!


But what if your students don’t have devices or your class is not using Canvas?


Have you considered screencasting? Simply put, screencasting means that you are recording whatever is on your computer screen and you turn it into a video. Now you can give directions to your class, your sub, and use your own words and materials to do so!


Tools Needed:


Your presentations, documents, and voice

Google Drive account and/or YouTube Channel


Step 1: Open QuickTime on your MacBook. While there are other tools to screencast, this one is built into every MacBook. Click File, then New Screen Recording. Click once in the middle of the screen to record your entire screen and then hit the record button. Sidenote: follow these directions to display your iPad on your MacBook to record it.


Step 2: Now that you are recording, guide your students and sub through the materials that you have for their lesson. This can include ANYTHING you can use on your computer, including SMART notebook files, PowerPoints, Word documents, PDFs, and more. Try to keep your directions concise and clear so there is no confusion, since you won’t be able to answer questions! And don’t be afraid to mess up; just keep talking and then edit out your mistakes later.


Step 3: When you click the record button again to stop recording, you can save your video to your Desktop or Google Drive. Depending on your preference, you can simply share the video with students in Google Drive by sharing it as “anyone with the link can view.” YouTube is another great option. Check out these directions to set up a YouTube Channel.


Step 4: Share your video. In Drive, it’s easiest to make your video “anyone with the link can view” and then post the link somewhere like your website, Canvas, or whatever. Another great method of sharing links is using a short link. You can create short links with one click by using either the URL shortner or, both of which have Chrome Extensions. does offer the ability to change the name of the link so that they are easier to type in.

Optional: Edit your video! Perhaps you have a few videos clips or just messed up a small part. Either way, the best method is use iMovie. It can be downloaded for free through the Mac App Store. Clip out the parts you don’t need, add all the clips and media you want in one video, save it, then upload it to YouTube. While this is another time-consuming step, this does make your videos more engaging and professional. And if you plan to reuse this video, you may want to edit.

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