When I am going to be out of my classroom, especially if it is unexpected, I always email my students with a plan of what the day will entail. I teach my homeroom for upwards of 3 hours per day, in a variety of different subject areas, so prepping for a substitute can be a daunting process. Emailing the students puts some of the onus on them to get things accomplished even when I'm not in the room. It cuts way down on, "But the substitute didn't tell us what we were supposed to do!"
Although my students are growing up as "digital natives", they are not very diligent at checking their emails. I often will include a little challenge at the end, so that those who do read all the way through have a fun response to send to me (and a reward in Classcraft for such a response never goes amiss!) Last night, as I will not likely have time to check in with each of them today, my challenge was for them to send me a picture expressing how they feel about coming back to school after March Break. The two that I chose to include reflect the excitement I feel about our upcoming Passion Projects, our end of year Interdisciplinary Unit, and my normal excitement at reconnecting with my students after a break.
Here are the pictures I received from five students in response: