Thursday, September 19, 2013

Preparing For Maternity Leave

I am 41 weeks pregnant today.  41 weeks!!!  How did this happen?!?!  I feel like this pregnancy has flown by so much quicker than my first pregnancy.  I think finding out in January, having a whole summer off and then only going back to work for three weeks or so has something to do for it.  I have been on maternity leave now for four days (last Friday was my last day) and am missing school and my students tremendously, although I am so happy to have this time with my family.

Districts have different policies when it comes to maternity leave.  In my district, we are required to provide two weeks worth of lesson plans for the substitute.  There is also a period of a day or two when the substitute shadows you to prepare to take over the classroom.

Last week my administrators interviewed candidates for my position and by Wednesday evening had secured an awesome long-term substitute.  I was very nervous not knowing who my substitute was until the very end, being that I was/am I am hours/days away from giving birth.  I know others would probably have a meltdown over that, but I did not worry about it.  I have been working hard on prepping all of my materials for the time that I am gone.  Let me share how I have been preparing for a 12 week leave.

My husband brought me home a file crate.

I love these colorful hanging files...I got them on Amazon (Snead folders).

I placed hanging file folders in the crate and labeled each one for each week I would be gone (in this case, I am preparing everything for a January 2nd return).  Within each hanging files are several materials.  The front few hanging files contain our district's literacy curriculums.  I made photocopies of the curriculums, laminated covers, bound them together and placed them in the folder.  I will be missing two-and-a-half units, so I wanted to make sure that this person was prepared.

Everything in its place!  I can't believe it!

I then went through and photocopied each worksheet/graphic organizer that the students were going to need.  Each set was placed within the folder of the week that would be taking place.

I went ahead and printed any party/celebration/holiday letter, photocopied them and placed them in a folder.  That went into each hanging file coordinating with the time of year it was taking place.  I also set up the fall conference questionnaires for the parents (that's how they select their day/time for conferences).  I photocopied packets for Back-to-School Night and have those set as well within the hanging files.

Finally, I placed any bulletin board materials, etc. that the substitute would need in the very back.

My substitute teaching binder...I downloaded this template two years ago on TpT and can't remember where I got it from.  I wish I remembered so I could give credit!
Everything about the students goes here.  The more the substitute knows (whether it be a one-day sub or a long-term sub), the better.  I like being prepared because you never know what could happen (like when I missed a week due to pregnancy complications this past February 2013...this saved me). 
Helps with fluidity and consistency.
Next, I updated my substitute binder.  This binder contains all of our classroom procedures, expectations, rules, school expectations, school procedures, etc.  I place student photos in there as well so that substitutes have an opportunity to have a first glance prior to the students walking in the door.  I plan on placing my two formal week lesson plan sets in there too...I haven't gotten that far yet!

Homework assignment page...this goes on top of our packets.

Orton-Gillingham Red Word List.  Students gets ten words a week.

Monday's homework...there are two pages of flashcards.

Tuesday's homework...two pages of handwriting.

Wednesday's homework...ABC order.

Thursday's homework...CLOZE activity and sentence writing.

My team and I had met several weeks ago during our professional development sessions before school began and firmed up our plans for homework.  Last week I spent several nights putting everything together and creating assignment pages for the front of each packet each week.  The packet contains homework aligned to our Orton-Gillingham curriculum (phonics) and the Everyday Math homework/curriculum.

Reading log...I love giving the students the option of how many minutes they read this week.

Graphing minutes...another fun activity!

We also made up a new plan for our students' nightly reading homework.  Students will be reading seven-days a week.  They will have to log their book and color in their minutes read on a graph.  We decided not to give them a limit on how much they read, but rather encourage them to read as much as possible every night.  We also determined that it would be important to have a reading response assignment twice a week this year, so we set those up to align with our literacy curriculum reading response journals.  Those worksheets will all be kept within one journal so that we can keep an eye on how much reading is being done and have some accountability over their homework attendance.  This would be something that I share with parents during conferences.

I created everything for the team to take them through the end of my leave.  I also set up all of my students' Homework Reading Log folders, printed a letter explaining the homework, and photocopied each packet one time for the substitute to make copies of (in case changes have to occur).  The entire team got the same thing...they were thrilled to be set for so long!

I almost wanted to keep these binders for myself!
My closet has been filled with binders, so I decided to set up binders for my substitute!  He/She will be receiving a lesson plan binder with a Google Calendar printout (I inputted all of the pacing guides into one calendar for my grade level...sometimes it's easier to see the whole picture in one place rather than on five different pieces of paper).  I also put together a Guided Reading/Conferencing Binder for Reader's Workshop, a Writer's Workshop small group/conferencing binder and a Math binder.  This person will have their own place to take notes (and I won't feel so anxious about leaving my nice binders that I spent so much time on this summer...I don't want them getting ruined).

Ta-da!  Neat and clean for the substitute!
Finally, I went around the room making sure that it was organized, neat and clean.  I took home picture frames of my family and other small things I had because I wanted the room to feel like it belonged to my substitute while I was gone.

I know it seems neurotic to prepare so much but I want what's best for my students and if I save my substitute time by making photocopies and fixing up the curriculum for him/her then they can focus more on instructing!  My teammates and colleagues probably think I'm crazy to have set up so much for a substitute, but I feel better and will be able to enjoy my leave more know that I have left everything set-up for my little first graders so they can make an easier transition.

1 comment:

  1. I know this was a long time ago but I just came across this and it's helping me so much! I love the hanging file crate idea!