The other day I saw a meme that read, “a teacher never realizes how much they do until it’s written down in sub plans.” Many of the the comments written under that meme said things like, “that’s why I go in when I’m sick” and “it takes forever to write sub plans.” I felt that way for a long time too. Then one day about nine years ago I was so sick that the idea of writing a sub plan was exhausting. So instead of writing a detailed sub plan I just made a voice a recording on Vocaroo and embedded it into my classroom blog. Then for my sub plan I sent an email to our school secretary that just read, “have kids visit blog and listen to my directions.” That was nine years ago. Today, there are more options for quickly creating audio or video recordings to use in sub plans.
Places to Post Your Sub Plans
Google Classroom, Microsoft Teams, or a class blog can be a good place to post your audio or video instructions. Many LMSs like Otus and Edmodo have places to post your audio or video instructions too. Whatever you do, make sure the place that you post your instructions to is a place that your students are already familiar with visiting for important class information. This is not the time to experiment with a new platform.
Audio Tools for Sub Plans
As I mentioned above, Vocaroo was the tool that I used when I started leaving audio sub plans. Vocaroo is still a great option because it doesn’t require registration and it works on Windows, Mac, and Chromebook. Recordings can be downloaded, shared with a link, or embedded into blog posts. If you’re using Google Classroom, Microsoft Teams, or another LMS just post the link for your students to click and listen. Watch this video for an overview of Vocaroo.
Another option for making audio recordings in your web browser is Online Voice Recorder. It works in manner that is similar to Vocaroo. The advantage of Online Voice Recorder is that you can crop your recording file.
If you would prefer to create your audio recordings on your phone, then I recommend trying Anchor.fm‘s iPhone and Android apps. You do have to create an account on Anchor.fm in order to use the app, but once you have created an account it is easy to just tap the record button and start talking. Unique URLs are created for each of your recordings. You can share that link anywhere that you would share any other kind of link. There is also an option to share directly to Google Classroom.
Video Tools for Sub Plans
If you use Google Classroom, you should try Screencastify to record short videos with your webcam. Screencastify provides the option to save your recording directly to Google Drive and to share it directly to Google Classroom. Screencastify is also a good choice because you can record your screen to give instructions while also recording with webcam at the same time.
You can broadcast from your YouTube account from computer or from your phone. Regardless of how long it is, your broadcast is saved in your YouTube account and from there you can share it anywhere that your students can see it. Of course, this won’t work if YouTube is blocked in your school. If that’s the case for you, try recording on your phone then uploading the video to Google Drive. Once your video is in Google Drive it can be shared anywhere via the “anyone can view” link available in the sharing menu for all Google Drive files. Watch this video to learn how to do that.
A Few Final Thoughts to Keep Your Principal Happy
- I wrote this with middle school and high school classrooms in mind.
- If your school requires that you use a standardized substitute template, use it but add links to your audio or video in it.
- Having every student play your video or audio at the same time could make your classroom sound like the Tower of Babel. Designate a student who can play the recording aloud for the whole class including the substitute.
- Still keep a written emergency sub plan in your desk just in case your students come to class and all of the sudden there isn’t an internet connection.