This video, by a mentor teacher, give a few simple but magical tips on how you can use the power of personal interaction to improve class discipline and create an engaged, caring classroom environment. The tips will help you transform the anonymous student in the back row into a distinct individual who in turn treats YOU as a distinct teacher.
If you find these tips helpful, another video you might enjoy explains the power of non-verbal communication.
Non-verbal classroom management
One more suggestion: it is important to have a stash of games that can be used at a moment's notice, in case an activity takes less time than you anticipate, or to dangle as a Friday afternoon carrot.
ELA Games Grades 5-8
ELA Games grades 9-12