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    Lori, you'll be fabulous
    By Mariella

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    The fact that these absences are booked ahead of time probably means that the teacher will leave a full day's work (they know well in advance that they are going to be away). I tend to be chronically early for everything but I like to arrive (particularly on the first day) quite early, just to familiarize myself with the classroom and the building and to photocopy anything that needs to be run off. I usually carry with me some "units" that I've prepared or that I've found online. One great site is but I also have some "home-made" units. One of my favorites is based on the Colin McNaughton book "The Aliens are Coming". I read them the story, they do a word list based on the letters in the word A L I E N S (I've made a worksheet with columns and they list all the words they can find that start with "a", then "l", etc. For art, they draw/paint/create (depending on what is avail. in the classroom) an alien of their own and tell about it (or describe it if they have the writing skills) - what its name is, how it smells, what it eats, what sound it makes, the name and details of its home planet etc. Again, depending on their grade level, they can write a poem or a paragaph about their alien. You can even make up a song for them to learn (use a tune they know - "London Bridge" or "Happy Birthday") - put your lyrics on chart paper and sing them together. Before you know it, the day is over. This unit works so well and is so adaptable for several different grades.

    One thing I like to do at the start of every class is review the absent teacher's class rules or, if there don't seem to be any, put a few of my own up - "We raise our hands to ask and answer questions", "We respect ourselves and our classmates" - simple ones like that which make the day a lot less noisy and chaotic! Have fun - the children will like you and you will find them such fun.

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