Best Sub Plan Ever

We all know how sub plans are the bane of a teacher’s life.  


There was one week in which I was going to be out for a few days.  I had a doctor’s appointment in another city, I had a district meeting to discuss art curriculum changes.  I wasn’t sick, but I was making myself sick being stressed about what I was going to do for all my classes.  One of my friends made the smartest suggestion ever. “Why don’t you make one sub plan for all your students?”

Hmm… never thought of that.  I was going to have stations and centers, but this sounded groovy.  As usual, I visited my best friends in the whole universe, Pinterest and Google.  I think I found this under “Art Sub Plans.”  Of course, now I can’t find it so I cannot give credit where it is due.

I gave one sub plan for grades K – three.  Same instructions, same resources, but with different expectations.  I had my substitute teacher first read the story.


I like this version a lot.  It’s vibrant, colorful, and the Princess is not what kids are usually exposed to as a “princess.” Then I instructed students would make a floor, stack 7 mattresses on top, draw a princess trying to sleep.  The mattresses would need to contain patterns made with black pens and colored in with watercolor pencils. The final step would include adding color with watercolor pencils and painting with water, and I assumed that would be done the next class when I was back.

I made sure black and blue pens were available, along with zentangle pattern cards and zentangle pattern idea sheets.

This lesson was supposed to be short. It ended up taking a few weeks to complete.  This worked out in the end, because I needed another substitute teacher for a follow-up medical appointment, and this same substitute teacher knew exactly what to do.

I was curious how this project would turn out.  I wanted to see if I could show a continuum from one grade to the next.  I can on some of the pieces, but overall, it really boils down to skill development, interest, and stamina.

These are from Kindergarten.




And so is this: IMG_1074

Here are some more from all the grade levels.  IMG_1091







I love the variety.  I really love the expression on the princess’s face.  She looks pretty unhappy on all those mattresses.














Author: Sonia Chapman

I am an art teacher, living in the Middle East, following my passion for art, teaching little children about the finer things in life, and loving every bit of it.

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