I will be absent for this class, and I knew that I would be absent, so I have left questions for chapters 28 (which they read for homework), 29 and 33 with the substitute. The worksheet also includes ultra-short summaries of the chapters we are skipping, so that students have context from one chapter to the next.
I keep a stash of questions, many from eNotes.com, in a file for a day like today, when I need to have an assignment easily ready. The questions themselves range from purely plot-based questions to more analytical questions, such as the question about the effect of similes in chapter 33 (RL.9-10.4). I love these types of questions because it stretches what students already know: they can spot similes while reading, but understanding the effect is much more difficult. It's a learned skill, but learning to answer a question like this, is basically learning how to think. The question about the passage is another example. The students have to explain what why the quote is significant, which is really a question asking, what do you realize about theme or character from this quote? (RL.9-10.2). I plan to focus on these two questions when I read over their work; these questions are the hardest, so thorough answers here suggest thorough work overall.
I have asked that the substitute collect their answers at the end of class. I feel that this request helps the students because it motivates them to use their time wisely; it also helps the substitute, who can spend less time on discipline when students are focused.