Moving to block scheduling has allowed me to try something new this year: I call it Compositio Hodierna (Daily Composition).
When the students come into the room, there is an English sentence on the board. Their job is to translate this sentence into Latin. I gloss the odd forms or new vocabulary for them. Often the sentence relates to the vocabulary we have been reviewing (particularly on those days on which we have vocabulary quizzes) and/or incorporating the grammar and syntax we have been covering.
I've seen other teachers use similar "focus activities" for their students to begin class. Indeed, this activity was not even my idea. I must give credit to my colleague in a neighboring school who calls them CODs (Compositions of the Day). I have to admit that most of my students balked at the beginning of the year (particularly those who had me the previous year) but they have come around and some even enjoy it! I usually call 2-4 students at a time to the board to write their sentences and then I compare them, emphasing what they get correct, not their mistakes. I have seen definite improvements in their composition skills and nothing beats this type of exercise to pull together all the elements in need of review: vocabulary, grammar, and syntax.