I started prepping my filing cabinets by organizing all of my papers, trashing obsolete ones, and making copies. My kindergarten team is seriously ready for the first 9 weeks with all of our copies! I made 25 copies of each paper since I don't know my class size. You can see the large labels in the picture above, I like these because it makes things so much easier to find than the normal sized file labels. Plus my brain is kind of funny in that it remembers colors associated with certain titles, might be a little freaky but sure makes it easy to find that orange-colored Pete the Cat file. I also attached sticky notes to certain worksheets if I tend to do something differently than the directions or if I know a book that goes particularly well with it. I'm going to be honest, there are a bunch of sticky notes in my files! I have a problem with relinquishing control... there I said it!
I placed my learning centers in my filing cabinets as well. This is new for me, normally they are just in a plastic crate in the order that I use them. However, I want my sub to know exactly when the appropriate time is to use each learning center which is why I placed them within my chronologically ordered filing cabinet. I made hot pink label papers for all of my centers, you can see them evenly spaced in my cabinet picture above. I glued the title page to the outside of the file and placed all of the papers and materials inside like so...
Each paper has been copied and clipped to a baggie with the contents for that activity inside. By the way, I adore Julie Lee's centers!
I then went through and labeled my bins where I place the students' extra school supplies. I never labeled them before because this was my kingdom and I already knew where to look for supplies, no sweat. But imagine how frustrating it would be to have to look high and low for an extra glue stick because the sub placed them somewhere else. Hmmm, maybe that's just my own personal nightmare. =P
I went completely nuts with documenting where things go, even the students' things like writing tablets and math workbooks. If you have a system figured out that works for you I think it would be nice to come back to that same system already established in your classroom.
The documentation continued with my schedule. I know that schedules look nothing alike from year to year but this will give my sub something to go off of. This is probably one of the most time consuming parts of beginning a year and I want to make it as easy as I can for my sub.
Finally, I went around my entire classroom taking pictures of where furniture is located. Each August I come back to tables piled up in a corner, cabinets turned around against a wall, and chairs stacked to the ceiling. It is a crazy few days rearranging my classroom each year! I might spend hours tweaking the location of a freaking bookshelf because it affects the location of my computers 20 feet away. So this year, I got up close and personal with the location of everything in my room so that things can just be rolled, carted, and pushed back to where they should be. No more guessing and moving 10 times.
So that's how I have prepared my classroom for a long term sub starting at the beginning of the year. I've come to terms with this small amount of control over a situation where I seem to have none whatsoever.