Using BLEND for Long Term Subs

featured image - digital collaboration handshake

Today’s Contributor: Lee Green
My name is Lee Green and I am an 8th grade social studies teacher at Lamar Middle School. I have an 8 month old baby boy at home who was the cause of my maternity leave, and the inspiration behind this post! 

Long term subs can be a daunting task to prepare for. You must plan out long chunks of content, major assignments, and homework; set up classroom procedures and expectations; transition in and out of the class; and all the while you are thinking about why you will be leaving.

I went into labor the second day of school. I was fortunate that my sub had been working with me during teacher week and had learned the ropes before I left. I was also fortunate in that my PLC was awesome and worked to keep my sub up to date. All that said, I knew that I could streamline things and make it easier for everyone by using the digital tools that the district had in place. My go to for this was BLEND.

Once my classes populated in BLEND, I imported the material from my BLEND course last year. During our planning sessions before I left, we updated some of the assignments and added new ones. I was easily able to update these elements from the imported page. It gave me a framework that both the sub and I could tweak as needed. It also gave him an outline of key TEKS and a roadmap for how each unit would progress. I also shared access with one of the other PLC teachers, so she would be able to go in and update until my sub learned how to utilize it fully. Our agendas were posted, our homework, copies of notes, all stored in one location. For the most part, all he had to do was activate the pages for students to access.

photo of long term sub using BLEND
My long term sub working in BLEND.

While it did take a day or two of planning and work, using BLEND as my long term sub plan was probably the easiest part of the whole ordeal! Rather than spending weeks preparing and planning, only to discover that the pacing needed to be shifted, I created a fluid lesson set that could be adapted as needed by my sub. He now works as a social studies teacher at Lamar and has set up his own BLEND page using this model! 

When I returned, we were able to transition fairly seamlessly, as the expectations and procedures were already in place. BLEND helped take the bite out of planning a difficult six weeks! Here is a picture of my son for cuteness! He’s already very into technology and wants to help his mama set up her next BLEND adventure!

photo of baby Emery smiling

7 Comments

  1. I like this idea. I had not thought about it; maybe because I teach 4th grade, and most elementary students are not familiar with BLEND. It is possible to implement, but the younger students need sufficient time to practice using BLEND.

  2. Ms. Green, CONGRATULATIONS on your beautiful baby boy!! And, thank you for sharing your process of utilizing BLEND with your longterm sub. BLEND does have so many features that can make our work a lot easier, especially in situations where you need to be away from campus. Thanks for the ideas!! 🙂

  3. I love this idea but I do have a concern about leaving technology with a sub. I have found that the students will pop out keys when one is not looking is there something that you have in place to help with this?

    1. I establish computer use rules early on and don’t generally have too many problems. I have coworkers who have the same issue though and they assign computers to students to use each time so they are able to track the key culprits!

  4. I wish we had BLEND available when I was on maternity leave 2 years ago. That would have made for a much easier transition. This would also help with students to turn in work and keep up with grading.

  5. Thank you for sharing your story! I can’t wait to share this with some teachers I know! I think they will find it really valuable.

  6. Back in the day I used to use remind.com to schedule texts to be sent to each class throughout the day when I had subs reminding them they were being ‘watched’. I would occasionally send a “Someone tell {so and so} to stop talking to {other so and so} !” and was usually on the money. Blend could take these class comms on sub days to whole new levels. Although I’m not really a fan working on a day off there is definitely a lot of practical uses for blend on sub days. Thanks for sharing.

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