Every teacher has their secret bag of tricks. They "carry" it around with them and pull out their tricks at the most needed times. My biggest trick is The Mailbox.
I purchased a very inexpensive mailbox from Walmart and decorated it in fun school fashion. I did not purchase the base because I didn't have a cute bucket to put it in...but use what works best for your classroom.
Here is my mailbox. It has been used for 5 years. I reglue a few of the flowers every year, but other than that it has stayed in tip top shape!
Every single day I teach, I put something in the mailbox that we need to work on. Usually it is an assignment, or a worksheet we have to work on. Other times it is our art project supplies, or just a special treat. The most important part of the mailbox is to put the flag up!
I have a little mailbox song that simply goes, "Mailbox, Mailbox, We've got Mail in the Mail box." You could sing or say whatever you wanted. Within less than a few seconds my class becomes silent...without a doubt. I then pull a name out of my class jar and if that student is sitting extra quiet they get to be the mailman, open up the mailbox, show the class what is inside, lowers the flag, and either help with the passing out or pass out themselves the items inside. The whole process takes less than a few minutes and it prepares my entire class to be quiet and ready to hear the instructions for the assignment.
I especially loved, when I know it will be a rowdier day (Valentine's Day, Friday, The day before a break) I place something special inside like a treat or a 5 minutes early to recess packet. I let the class know something extra special is in the mailbox that day but we only get to open it when everyone is following directions. It helps keep the peace and order much better than a raised voice or holding them in from recess!
****I would love if you tried my mailbox trick! If you did, go over to my facebook page