Anyway, five things I've learned that are big time or brain savers:
- Sticky note to the manual/lesson plan/back of the easel board: a fast way to mark down who's able to answer the questions. This is particularly useful for oral skill drills (phonemic analysis, etc.) and the ever-popular "informal and ongoing assessment".
- Get everyone a water bottle. Set some rules for use and you're free. This cuts down on water trips - key in my classroom, since the pipes are leaded (I don't trust flushing them) and the counter isn't level so the water always, without fail, escapes the sink and destroys whatever is sitting there.
- Identify the key supplies you do not want kids to use and teach them how to use everything else (obviously, this is an early elementary thing). In my case, the permanent markers are off limits (except in very specific circumstances) and I teach the kids how to use the stapler, the pencil sharpener and the tape.
- Provide regular stickers. These are cheap, and your students will not - let me repeat, WILL NOT - become sticker-dependent. Besides, since you control the stickers, you decide if you feel like passing them out.
- If you have access, provide books for prizes too. If you are in the Bay Area, you do.
- Apologize to your class as needed.