Trying to work with the 7th grade boys on their discipline; not the "cut me a switch" discipline, or the reward/punishment type of discipline, but rather self-control, impulse control, sustained focus, etc.
I've been talking about it for a couple days and telling them that all the things they say are "impossible" are actually quite easy to do with a bit of sustained effort and focus. "Adults," I say, "can do these things not because they know more, but because they are willing to sit still and work on something for a while."
I talked about martial arts and starting with inner discipline, and world-class athletes and discipline, and academic stars and discipline. Then we started an initiative where we all get in a circle and throw a bean-bag around: each person in the circle throws to one person only, and we all throw to the same person as the cycle repeats. We tried it a few times with one bean bag and then I added more. Within seconds of adding extra bean bags everyone collapsed into simply trying to peg each other with a bean bag to the face or head. Lots of random throwing!
We debriefed the activity, and the kids quickly figured out that they break the rules of an activity when they find it the least bit challenging. I reminded them how during the mile run earlier in the year that I was the only one who finished it. They all walked or sat down or cut through the middle of the track. "If you can control your mind you can control your body and you can achieve great things." We tried the game a few more times with no better results, but we will keep trying.
Then I challenged them: "Let's stand quietly in a circle. If we can stay quiet without banging or laughing or talking for one minute I'll buy you all Subway Friday."
No chance. 8 seconds and JJ was making a gurgling sound. The second attempt we got to 11 seconds and Dee laughed. 3rd and final attempt was only 5 seconds before five kids burst out laughing.
We've got a long way to go.