They will test you to see how far "the line" is.
I always say to my students, "Just don't cross that line" … and they usually look for a line on the ground (which obviously isn't there).
Having a plan for when they test you is critical. The P.O.W.E.R.F.U.L. Program that I run in our classroom is very effective at deflecting a LOT of the negative behaviors that some of the students are in desperate need of.
If it's the whole class that needs to have a discussion, I write a box up on the board and title it: "Things we need to practice."
"Practice? What does that mean?" … they might say.
Well, I tell them that if this behavior doesn't improve by the class, then we'll have to practice it during their free time.
Whoa! That got their attention pretty quick!
Now, keep in mind, this is if the majority of the students are involved in the negative behavior (which as you know, can sometimes happen). So, if that's the case, I take a few minutes (during their free time) to "practice" the correct way to do whatever they were misbehaving at.
For instance, if they were very talkative in the hallway, we'd go back to that exact spot, and walk quietly in a straight line (until we got it right). Most students catch on pretty quick, and I don't have to use this strategy very often… but when I do… it works like a charm! Giving them verbal praise at this point is also very crucial (because they now know that they are capable of doing it correctly).
Coming tomorrow: What to do when it's just one (or a couple) of students that are the ones not following the directions. You won't want to miss this one!