One very professional art teacher I worked with gave the kids an outline of
a T-shirt and asked them to design their own T-shirt. Then she had them add
the pants and arms, legs, and head. That would be good for one or two days.
Another great teacher was gone for a week. She left a very elaborate lesson
plan where they were supposed to draw a castle, from a handout. Then add
dragons, trees, etc, all from the handout. And draw lots of detail. She
said they love castles. She drew one on the board that was awesome, way
better than I could do. I showed Cinderella or Snow White or one of those
Disney movies that have castles in it. They asked me why I was showing that
movie and I told them that Disney people made a lot of money drawing
castles. That was good enough for them. They still pretended that they
didn't pay very much attention to it because it was not in their teacher's
original lesson plan, although she had said to me that it was OK to show it.
I got old calendars with castles and put them up on the wall, but they
looked at them with disdain also. She suggested that I do that, but I guess
she had not told them about that in advance, either.
One of my master art teachers showed a lot of Disney movies. She said to
look at the color in The Prince of Egypt. It was very calming for them. It
enabled her to take a day off once in awhile without coming back to a
classroom that was in shambles because the kids missed their teacher. They
were also able to withstand the stress of some of the things that happened
at that big city neighoborhood. For an hour they were able to lose
themselves in the happiness of a Walt Disney movie. Most of those movies
are based on classic fairytales, some on religious stories that are
non-denominational. So there was some good
that came from it.
I don't know why teachers worry about leaving their kids with a substitute
for a day or two. They must not have very much confidence in themselves.