We all occasionally have to miss a day of school due to illness, workshops, or for personal matters.One of my pet peeves is when I come back and find out that my kids did not behave well for my substitute teacher. Having substituted during my college years, I truly understand how very difficult that job is. I tried everything from work overload to threats to get my kids to behave themselves, and nothing seemed to work. I really can't tell you why kids go absolutely insane when they find out their teacher is away, but we all know they do.
For the last three years, I have offered a Reward Day to the best behaved class and the winner is chosen by the substitute teacher. I usually let them choose from one of the class games I have on the whiteboard such as The Noun Game, Scrabble, Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader, etc. What's great is I can actually slide in some review and they don't even realize it!
Since I have started this practice of the Reward Day, I have received many complements on how "good my kids are" and "what hard workers they are". Seriously, it's like a trip to Bizarro World! Try it! It really is great to come back to class and have the kids ask if they were the "best behaved" instead of "Are we in trouble?".