The paper I used is from a scrapbooking paper pad from Hobby Lobby. I bought it a few days ago for 50% off (so it was around $8 for the whole thing) and the best part about it is that the paper is made a little bit longer to have a bumpy border edge! I love bumpy borders and you can cut it off to use for something else and the paper would be back to regular scrapbooking size.
I don't remember where this next idea came from but one teacher painted her sticks 2 different colors so that after you call on someone, you turn their stick around and it's a different color so you know who you've called on. I've been using it for a few years now and works really well.