Any down-time in my classroom generally turns into chaos. I have solved this problem by reading to the kids each day when the lesson is completed. This also gives me the option of always having something in the bag when unexpected down-time occurs. The kids absolutely love to be read to! These big old 8th grade boys will gather around and sit at my feet while I read. While I am reading, the kids can draw, sit on the floor, put their head down, etc. This is the calmest time each period in my class. Besides the obvious of sneaking in concepts and historical information, the kids are exposed to literature they would never read themselves. It opens up topics for discussion, promotes listening comprehension, and is a way of modeling a love of reading.