I would say that the most powerful item in my certified “bag of tricks” is simple: really connecting with the kids. Kids can totally see when an adult is being genuine and cares about them. They notice if you remember what sports they play, who their favorite band is, or how many siblings they have. It really makes a huge difference both emotionally and academically, too.
One really fun part of the teacher-student connection is weaving their interests and life into lessons. For example, use examples involving a student’s favorite food or sport when doing math word problems.
Also, give time just to chat about their lives. Maybe it is during recess, before the buses, during passing time, or during a lunch group.
If kids see that you care, they will too.