Yes. I am currently reading this book and love how it gives you simple things to do that will help you help your students prepare to be successful no matter whether they choose to go to college or into the workforce.
My personal favorites from the book are Expect 100%. If you ask your class to do somethign expect 100% participation; No Opt Out. Don't let students get away with saying "I don't know" if they do you can always pass them by until you get the right answer but then make sure you come back to them and have you give them the answer.
I believe the best classroom Management tool I have is making eye contact with the student (s) that are creating the issue. I'm known as a teacher that will deal with the issues in my class and deal with it fairly. I give the student the look like, "you know that I know, that you know that saw you do that" and if you continue you are in trouble.
another thing I do if I can't get the attention of class is to do or say something crazy that will bring the attention to me. By doing that it also keeps students' attention cause they are wondering what I'm going to do next. Here again, that is my personality.
One thing that works for me is to out and about in the classroom. I have my class set up so that I can easily move about the room. I have a lot of extra energy so circulating around the room helps. One thing I always do is stand next to the disruptor--don't mention the behavior but stand there for a minute.
I have found through my own experience as a student that it is important to be attentive to the teacher and listen to the lessons that are being taught. Also students have trouble following along if it is something that does not really interest them or something they cant relate to themselves or something that catches their attention. With all the new technology we have in our generation I believe using technology is a good place to start. Students tend to be more attentive when being showed something involving technology and at certain grade levels can learn to use the technology themselves for projects or activities to get them more involved!
I have found that if a respectful learning community is clearly established from day 1, the need to "manage" student behavior diminishes. I teach 5th grade and greet each student individually at the door as they enter class. They look me in they eye and return the greeting. When I need to move someone or ask someone to stop a disruptive behavior, I ask a question about the incident like, "Why do you need to be quiet?" In the beginning of the year, I'd get a response like, "...because you told me to." And we would take the time to have a short class discussion as I would ask other students for ideas until they come up with reasons that benefit them. We practice and practice and practice transitions and procedures after we identify what it should look and sound like as well model doing it correctly and incorrectly. I have found that it is important for my students to clearly see the behavior to understand my expectations. When having a class discussion on a lively topic, I ask the students what we should do with comments (keep them in your head, raise hands, take notes, or just speak out) Most of the time, they identify the need to keep comments in their head for oder and flow of the day. When they've identified the need to hold comments inside their heads, they keep each other (and me) to what they've decided. Teaching is easiest when student are able to manage themselves. It is not a quick and easy method, but as they learn to do this and the benefit it serves them, I can spend more of my time and energy teaching.
I really appreciate Gillian's ideas on managing her class they are very helpful. I am still a student and one of my greatest fears about my classroom is how to control a room of pre-teens! In the elementary grades the attention-getting hand claps and repetitive word play works, but what works best for 4th-8th graders!
I had a lot of fears too before I had a classroom of my own. I got great tips from my Master teachers during student teaching. Once I was fortunate enough to get a classroom of my own, I soon found that I could handle it. There's nothing like experience as a teacher. And at your school site there will be many teachers that can give you practical advice as well.
Much of the "art" of teaching comes not just from the lessons and units you design, but how you work with kids. You will find your "art" evolving through the years.