Okay, I really need an answer to this question. Today my students were just cranky! They kept arguing with each other. Plus, we had a substitute principal who wasn't following the usual school plan. We send kids to an administrator pretty often (at least with my students). This is the way it works at this school. Well, I had a boy yell out an answer to a quiz. This is the second time he has done this so I sent him down to talk to an administrator. The substitute principal sent him right back to class without even talking about why that was so inappropriate. (The quiz was just three questions so I had to have the entire class throw away their quizzes and we will try again tomorrow.)
Once I got this student back after about 30 seconds I realized I that the standard protocols for the day were out the window. I kept hauling kids into the hallway to have a "talk". While the kids I pulled out would simmer down another kid would start mouthing off. I thought I was going to lose my mind!
In the school I worked at last year we had buddy rooms - we would send kids having trouble working to another classroom to fill out a reflection form. I liked this because it was much quicker than going to the principal's office, but still got the kid out of the room so he/she could refocus.
So, here is the question. When everything is crazy what do you do to keep your students working?