If a student seemed to be having a hard time, I just sprinkle some above their head. (No worries....they don't really come out...but, shhh....don't tell the kids!) I can honestly say that they seem to be more focused and have more confidence in their answer, or when they are going to share.
brain breaks - I like this idea. You could primarily use fitness/wellness focused activities to help battle the feeling of monotony in your daily regimen
Kiss Your Brain and Star Jar reward jars-reward students with a Hershey's kiss from the Kiss Your Brain jar. Song that goes with it is from Dr. Jean's CD. Student custodians inspects classroom for cleanliness. If class is clean, then each student receives a Starburst from the Star jar.
As Little Girls and Boys Grow, They Think Alike by Avery Johnson: By measuring the thickness of the brain's cortex and how it changes over time, scientists have found that boys' and girls' brains, on average, differ significantly at age 9. But by the time the participants reached age 22, the brains of the two sexes grew more alike in many areas critical for learning. These images are combined male/female brains. White shows areas of concordance. #Gender_Development #Brain #WSJ #Avery_Johnson