No, you are not expecting too much of them to remain in their seats and work. First, I refuse to speak over them - I also refuse to allow them to work on their projects until they have listened to all instruction. Give assigned seats. Count them tardy or absent if they're not in their assigned seat. Send the "wanderers" to the office and refuse them back in the classroom until your administrator does his/her job and disciplines them. Give daily points for work - I give 10 points per class period. It averages out to about 1 point every 10 minutes. If a student fails to earn at least 75% of their daily points for the week they owe me detention. Be tough, be firm, and be consistent. I started the 75% rule this year and it has been a real motivator - what the students won't do for their grade they will do to keep from staying after school! As an added bonus, those who work to keep from earning detentions turn in better projects. Oh, and don't let the little darlins' get you down! :-)
K-12 Kansas Art Teacher
I have an 8th grade class that is causing me fits. When beginning a lesson and I'm speaking they just love to talk when I'm talking. In my first and second quarter classes I sometimes could take care of this by pulling out a few of the culprits and doing some one on one and if necessary issue out a detention. But in this particular new class of mine, it's a huge portion of the class that's rude. I've tried stopping a couple of times, and having them police themselves, but it only lasts maybe a minute and then their back at it again. Any stategies for this one?
I also would just like to ask all the jr. high/middle school teachers if they allow students to get up and walk around doing nothing. I'm a having a real problem with this and I keep reminding many students that they should either be working on their sketch book homework or working on an extra credit project that they have in progress. It happens repeatedly with the same kids and last quarter I would have fired off detentions for this kind of thing. Does this repeated off task behavior warrant any consequences or I'm just expecting too much from them?