Being a middle school special ed class, I had been dealing with behavioral issues all day. They were shootin' on each other. During a particularly loud exchange I noticed that one student had only done three problems. Three! These were not long problems. There were probably 40-odd problems (or more) on the assignment.
I asked Aidan about how much work he had done. He told me all about how he had not gotten any sleep the night before due to a mosquito in the house, a barking dog, and some other excuse that I've already forgotten. He was not tired enough to put his head down on his desk and sleep. No. He was one of the main instigators in the class discussions.
So, I told the rest of the class: "Do not talk to Aidan". Aidan was now off limits. They could talk to anybody else. Aidan had some catching up to do.
Of course, the minute you tell students not to talk to someone, that someone becomes fascinating. But for some reason the class decided to comply. I only got one girl (Gina) who turned to Aidan to say "hi". The rest of the class made it into a game. Aidan no longer existed.
Well, Aidan then had to talk just to talk. I told the rest of the class to ignore him. They did. Then I noticed that Gina had done only a couple more problems than Aidan, so I told the class: "Do not talk to Gina".
Aidan managed to do maybe three more problems. Gina got a couple more done as well. The rest of the class? Only two others didn't finish. (Even this guy finished.)
My note named names. Aidan and Gina were singled out for doing more talking than working. I have no idea if it'll make a difference.