As a trainee teacher, I sometimes use lollipop sticks within the classroom when teaching. I usually write the names of each child in the class onto a lollipop stick, corresponding to the colour of their table and place them into a jar. When carrying out whole class teaching children often have a reluctance to put their hands up, even though the majority of the time they know the answer to what has been asked. Also I have found some children deviate off task. The use of lollipop sticks help to keep children on their toes (anyone can be picked), encourage fair participation and also add excitement to the classroom.
An alternative could be to draw a coloured lollipop stick and ask a child from that coloured table to contribute to the discussion. Other uses could be to determine which child takes the register or collects the books in at the end of the lesson. There are many ways in which you could use them, however it is important to use them sparingly, or the excitement generated by their use could be impacted.
I hope you enjoy using them,
I would personally like to thank Professor Valsa Koshy, of Brunel University, for the critical analysis that she provided on this concept (in the comments below). She is a very experienced teacher and mathematical author, with many publications to date. Therefore I am delighted that she took the time to visit my blog.