Lesson Plans for Substitute Teachers

  • Classes don't have to be a waste of time when the teacher is away
  • Most teachers have movies they'd like to show their students, if only they could find the time
  • Movies that further curriculum goals can keep students engaged and advance their learning

Substitute Teacher Lesson Plans for Use With Any Film:

Set-Up-the-Sub templates allow teachers in any subject to be sure that when they are away, students will focus on curriculum and the attainment of standards.
    -- Checklist for Teachers Setting up the Sub -- all subjects

    -- Instructions to the Substitute Teacher -- all subjects

Here's How To Do It: Keep a pre-selected DVD (or VHS tape) in your classroom along with any handouts, readings, and other materials that the substitute will need. The Checklist Creating a Lesson Plan for a Substitute Teacher will prompt you to take the steps you need. The Instructions to the Substitute Teacher will prompt you to give the substitute all the important directions.

Set-Up-The-Sub Lesson Plan Templates By Subject Matter


Film Study Worksheet for Any Film for ELA and Literature Classes -- for any film [12+; one to three class periods]

Child Savior Myth and Literary Archetypes - An Introduction using "Man on Fire" [14+; one class period]


Expository phase; motif; symbol; theme development; dramatic irony using "Cast Away" [13+; one to three weeks]


Symbiosis and Predation using "Microcosmos" [5+ (grades K - 12); one class period]



Civil Rights Movement - The Nashville Sit-ins using "A Force More Powerful" [12+; one class period]



Non-violence and the Indian Independence Movement using "A Force More Powerful" [12+; one to two class periods]


Advantages of Providing a Lesson Plan for the Substitute Teacher

When class time is well spent, everyone benefits: the students, the classroom teacher, and the sub. A substitute teacher needs clear lesson plans that will keep students occupied and out of trouble; the teacher needs to know that class time isn't wasted and that attention is being paid to meeting educational goals, such as fulfilling curriculum standards; the students need to have their attention held, so that in order to pass the time, they don't have to resort to dropping books on cue or propelling various objects at their classmates. A well planned lesson based on a film can meet each of these needs.

Substitutes can come to a job with a lesson plan, including the film, in tow, in case no formal plans have been left by the regular teacher.

Most teachers have films they would like to show their students but they hesitate to spend the class time necessary to see an entire movie. Yet, when the teacher is absent due to a conference, an illness or an emergency, substitutes are all too often primarily babysitters. With Set-Up-the-Sub, lesson plans for substitute teachers are at your fingertips. Class time that would otherwise be wasted or of little value, can be used to both show the film and further students' education. Good lesson plans make good substitute teachers.

Create Lesson Plans from 425 Movies and Film Clips! .