Stools made from paint buckets. You could also add a skirt around the bucket instead of paint. *Could also use "manly" fabric, paint it black and make it for a man's apartment for extra seating in a tiny space that doubles as storage.
When students are absent, place one of these "We Missed You" pages at their desk. Each time you hand out new assignments, attach it to the sheet with directions. At the end of the day you have a form and all of the work for when your student returns.