The top-five necessary items for me to have in my bag are:
a water bottle
a great book to read out loud
a 20 minute grade-related activity
my own pen to write with all day
My homemade lunch is also an important item that I bring with me. It is very comforting to know that I have a nice lunch to look forward to in the middle of my day.
In my bag I also like to have a small bell to ring to get the attention of everyone in class and lots of stickers to use as rewards.
My notes to teachers have been pretty messy lately, usually written on the back of my attendance list. My new idea is to bring a nice notepad with me to write that end of the day message.
It is always nice to throw in some extra activities to have ready to either hand out to kids or to use on the ELMO or overhead projector as a whole group activity.
Math games, word searches, and having kids draw a picture of their favorite part of a story are a few of my personal favorite activities.
I am able to reuse my activity pages by putting a clear sheet protector on top and then I use dry erase markers to write on the sheet protector. This way the original activity page does not get any marks on it and I can use it again another day.
I like to put a Hacky Sack in my bag for playing silent ball at the end of the day.
Kids take turns tossing the ball to each other around the room. If they throw too hard they are out and have to go sit at their desk. If they miss a catch, they sit out. If they make a noise, they sit out. You get the idea.
5th graders like to play this after packing up and seem to be able to keep the game going pretty well. This can work with younger kids if you have them sit in a circle to play. Just be strict with the rules.
Sometimes I will choose a responsible student to be the referee which can be more fun for the class. Usually kids are really good about being fair and following the rules.
Sometimes all that is needed is a little more motivation.
Rewards can be a great way to get the kids more involved in an activity.
I like to have coloring pages, pencils, erasers, stickers, and tickets that I can use to draw for prizes.
When I use tickets, I award them to kids that are doing a good job following directions and working hard.
I have them put their name on their ticket and then put it in a container that I draw from. I draw multiple tickets at the end of the day and let the winners choose a prize from my stash of goodies.