I believe it is extremely important to have something for them to do when they enter the classroom. I usually have something on the over head for them to copy in their sketchbooks such as a quote, a reflection on their current project, a mind boggler, or a quicky assignment such as "in the next five minutes draw the corner of the classroom". By having these mini assignments I am able to take roll, organize myself, as well as get the students into the learning mode. I have found that without these assignments I will have 15 students line up waiting for individual help on an assignment or want me to get them something from the locked supply cabinet. It is natural for a teacher to want to take care of those students lined up, and I have found while I am taking care of these students I will have a table of 5 or 6 who won't start working until I can get around to directly telling them to get to work. That's my .02 anyways! :-)
My question this time is about the first five minutes of class.