One of the things that drives me nuts as a teacher is hands raised to go to the bathroom. Or when students just shout out an answer rather than raise their hands and wait to be called on. (That wait to be called on thing is rather tricky!)
So I use responder cups:
These are just plastic cups from any dollar store. I purchased red, green, blue and yellow ones for my classroom. They usually come in packs of a dozen but I could supply my whole class for under twenty bucks. We have had to have many, many conversations about not poking holes in the cups or drawing on the cups, but it doesn't bother me enough to purchase more. A set of cups will last a year or two (tops) but hopefully your students would be slightly more respectful of supplies.
We do have conversations about not playing with the cups during instruction and 99% of my students follow this norm.
The cups' primary use is for independent or group work.
Green: I'm good. I know what is expected of me and I am fine.
Yellow: I'm a little stuck and have some questions.
Red: I'm confused and need help immediately.
Blue: May I use the restroom?
We also use them to vote and respond in class. Instead of shouting out answers, I can get a quick (and silent) response from the class.
We use them for A/B/C/D questions, true/false, agree/disagree, math operations and to vote on other class matters (lights on or off, choices for stations, etc).
To help my students, I have the color coded signs at the front of the room in case they forget:
My favorite function of the cups is the restroom issue, especially during independent writing or assessment time! (Or when I'm conferencing with a student or progress monitoring)
I'll send one boy and one girl out at a time and when they come back, they pick another boy or girl to sign out and go to the restroom. Students know to keep working until it's their turn and no one is wasting time with their (writing) hand up in the air asking to go.
I love how these responder cups help my classroom run smoothly :)
(Well, as smooth as a fifth grade classroom can be!)