I have been looking at the behaviors on the home page. I'm wondering what you would suggest to do when 80-90% of your class exhibits at least one, more often than not two or three, of the behaviors on a daily basis? I am overwhelmed by the sheer number of disruptions and off task behaviors. I teach middle school at an inner city charter school.
Sounds like a tough crowd for sure. I worked in an inner city elementary charter school for a year and it was a tough setting. Middle school can be a really difficult age range to manage. When there are that many students exhibiting that many problematic behaviors, the only effective way to address it is to revamp or tweak classroom management, routines, procedures, etc. You need to do a complete overhaul of how things are done. A lot of teachers are very resistant to this recommendation, I think because it feels like someone is telling you that you can't do your job well. But that is not the case. Each class, setting, and area requires a different approach and system for managing behavior and every other facet of the classroom. So don't feel bad or like what you are doing isn't working.
Generally speaking, tougher classes like you have this year typically respond better to more highly structured environments. For example, day treatment schools for students with behavioral and emotional difficulties tend to be very highly structured with specific routines, procedures, and expectations as well as consistent and predictable rewards and consequences. It would probably help to look at all these and develop a system that incorporates them.
One good way to start is by establishing classroom expectations and posting them. You could even just go with the commonly used PBIS expectations of "be safe, be respectful, and be responsible". You could spend a few minutes each morning teaching what this looks like in your classroom and reward those that demonstrate them and deliver consequences and/or additional instruction to those that don't demonstrate the expectations.
It's important to develop meaningful rewards and consequences. Some students respond well to rewards and consequences revolving around peer attention, some with adult attention, some with tangible goods, and others with intangible things.
It may be very helpful to have an administrator or another teacher come observe a few times to give feedback. Peer coaching is not the most pleasant thing, but it is very productive in analyzing classroom management style, technique, and what to do differently. I think this is where I would start. Then develop class expectations, a set of rewards, and specific consequences. Teach the expectations on a regular basis and give additional instruction to those that don't pick it up. Above all, do all these things with uncompromising consistency, fidelity, and regularity.
Sorry I don't have more specific suggestions to target the specific behaviors, but with the issue being so widespread, it sounds like the solution will need to be a more blanket solution, which is changing the entire classroom management dynamic. Hang in there!
I teach middle school and have found that it is essential to take responsibility for what is occurring in your classroom. You are ultimately the one allowing the undesired behaviors to continue.
If an undesired behavior occurs too much, I stop and tell my students right away that it is my fault and not theirs that this is happening. I am the one that has allowed this to continue instead of showing them the way I would like things to happen. This is when I model explicitly what behavior I want to see in my room. I start with the wrong way. When I say wrong, I mean over the top wrong. Then I ask someone to demonstrate the right way. After a student models the correct behavior, I talk about what else should have happened, even the smallest thing.
This works 9/10 times. It is definitely my preferred method.