One of my favorite things that I have implemented this year is something called "Casual Register/Formal Register". This was mentioned by Ruby Payne at a conference in Florida this summer.
Here is how is works. You explain to students the difference between how people talk casually and how they might talk formally. The example I used was if the principal called over the intercom. (We are the Tigers by the way). I asked them, would I answer "Yo Mama Tiger, What Up, What Do You Want"?. They of course laughed and I explained that it was too casual of a register. I would of course use a more formal register when addressing the principal. I explain that there are appropriate times for casual register and for formal register.
In class this is how it works. If a students says somethings that is either mean, disrespectful, or too simple I ask them to repeat it in a formal register. I tell them that if they give too good of an explanation I might ask them to say it in a more casual register but haven't actually had that one happen yet! :)
What I've found is that I've had to explain further how they are to change something mean into a more formal register. For example I had a student say that they were going to stab someone in the eye with their pencil. I asked for a more formal register. They responded, "I am going to poke you in the eye with this utensil." Ha! I explained to them they needed to address more formally what action or behavior was causing them to say that. They then stated, "please do not say that to me". Ahhh!!! Success!
It has really been such a GREAT way to correct students without "punishing" them. Students are even starting to correct one another! As a matter of fact they are even trying to catch me with something to make more formal!
Till Next Time!