Right now after 10 days of school, I finally can place student names with faces (if they're in their seats in their period). Soon, hopefully, I'll even recognize and name all of them in the halls (out of context).
My homework policy of having them correct their work in a different color in class (I grade on completeness), was taking too long (15 minutes or so sometimes), and I was rushed and couldn't get through the current lesson. I figured out that they were dawdling and taking forever to get out their homework after the bell rang, and then they were talking too much and joking with their friends (some of them), but then we had to wait for everyone to be done. So. I have now brought in a timer, and when the bell rings I told them I won't remind them to get out their homework, I'll just start the timer and have the answers on the overhead. After 5 minutes I'll turn it off and take questions for at most 5 minutes. Any unanswered questions, they can write on their homework, and I'll answer it there. They are partly graded on their complete "grading", so hopefully this will be successful.
I'm still getting to know the kids and their abilities. I know I have some very bright ones, so I'll have to find more time in the day (hmph) to find extra challenging problems for them.
Anyone have any extra time they'd like to pass my way? I know we all just sit around and daydream most of the day.