In CPM workshops the mentor teachers are often asked how to plan for days when a substitute will teach your class. By this point in the year your teams should be functioning reasonably well, so they should be able to complete most lessons with a substitute present. But this type of teaching may be entirely foreign to substitutes and you will need to help them understand their role in a classroom of teams. Make sure that the substitute understands that they are to circulate, keep the teams/students on task and monitor progress. Providing substitutes with a list of team norms and classroom expectations is a must. Avoid starting a new chapter or using a lesson that is just one big problem. If you must leave the class with such a lesson, use the existing “further guidance” section, if there is one, or create similar questions/guidance for the class to use. Team assessments or the closure problems from a chapter are also good activities that a substitute can supervise.
It is okay, and not unlikely, that your students may learn something new without you there. Have them each write you a note at the end of class (or to start the next class) about what they learned and use the notes as formative assessment tools to help you decide how to proceed. CPM teachers often note that a day with a substitute teacher does not seem to create a gap in the students’ learning as much as it keeps the teacher from knowing how the students processed the lesson from that day. Talk to your students about their increased responsibility when you are not there to help them. They might just impress you.