It seems like students misbehave most when they have unstructured time in the classroom. I’ve had a few calm classes where students could organize and pack for their next class quickly and quietly. If you only have calm classes, feel free to skip this post.
While I’ve had some relatively calm classes, that’s not the usual case. With many of my classes, if I had to stop instruction for any reason, all hell would break loose.
Think about when misbehavior most occurs. Recess? Lunch? In the hall? Packing up? Is it during structured time or unstructured time?
This solution is pretty straightforward. If students often misbehave when they have downtime, don’t allow downtime.
1. Class can begin without your verbal instructions. There’s an expectation set up for starting out class every single day.
2. Materials are all prepped. Copies are sorted in a way that makes everything as efficient as possible. Labs are set up.
3. Keep moving during transitions. Students will learn to keep up with you.
4. Keep them working “bell to bell”. Have some back-up activities on hand if you get through everything.
5. If you choose to have some downtime as a brain break or reward, make sure expectations are clear and limits are defined.
Good luck to you!