Every sub needs one, and I have struggled over the years with what to put in mine... a bag of tricks. I fluctuate between bringing everything (including the kitchen sink) to the minimalist approach. I still am not sure I have figured out the best way. I like to be prepared for any situation, but unfortunately the bottomless Mary Poppins bag doesn't really exist. And I don't want to give myself back problems from toting around that bag of tricks. But when I don't bring anything, I have been stuck really wishing I had materials. So, now I am trying the balanced approach.
I treat packing the bag of tricks like packing for a trip. I lay out everything I think might need on a table and then look over the pile. I do away with single-use or grade-specific items that have a low probability of use. I definitely keep open-ended items that are applicable for any grade level. I also keep things for my personal comfort. Being a sub is sometimes not easy, so anything you can do to make yourself more comfortable is necessary. Here are some items that made the cut to stay in my sub bag of tricks:
• Water bottle
• Small snacks like nuts, crackers, and granola bars
• OTC meds like Tylenol, Rolaids, and Claritin
• Hand sanitizer, lip balm, and hand lotion
• Scrapbooking punches for classroom management
• Sticky notes or index cards for classroom management or notes
• Pens (I love fun ones!)
• List of activities that need no or little supplies
• Class set of a graphic organizer or two
• Loose-leaf notebook paper
• At least one copy of the Daily Summary
• Treasure bag. I use a large Ziplock baggie and fill it with small things for rewards.
Once I have my items, I decide on a bag to carry them in. Now, I have a bag obsession and probably own way too many. But I like to carry a colorful one that, of course, will fit everything I need to carry. My personal favorite right now is a purple snakeskin tote I got at Target.
Hopefully, this will keep me prepared and yet eliminate the need for a sherpa to tote my supplies. What are your sub bag of tricks must-haves?