Wahoo! It's the week before Spring Break and we are all in overload! My last block class has an imaginary classmate named "Bob". Bob has a tendency to get students off task and when a student talks and is caught, they say "Bob, shh, you are going to get me in trouble" and resume their work. I play along, not because I think it's funny, but because it works. I made an announcement earlier in the semester that if Bob continues to act up and disrupt the class, he will get others in trouble. It is so much easier to tell students to tell Bob to focus than to deal with possible arguments of "but I wasn't talking" or "I was responding to what she/he asked me." If Bob is extremely disruptive, I ask Bob to leave the room, making a dramatic show of opening the door and ushering out "Bob". If Bob is asked to leave the room, students know things have become too disruptive and remain on task the rest of the block.
Sometimes, I haven't heard about Bob, so I will inquire as to what happened to Bob. Students are quick to say he was suspended and give an elaborate explanation for his suspension and promptly inform me when Bob will return.
Bob has been absent, and surprise surprise... Bob is back in the classroom today, the week before spring break. Already, today, three kids (at the exact same time) sitting next to one another "fell out of their chairs", blaming Bob. I can only imagine how the rest of the week is going to go.
Here's the kicker. I teach 9th graders.
If your class has an imaginary student, run with it. Students hate getting in trouble over something they "didn't do" and love it when you play along. Holding Bob accountable in actuality holds each other and themselves accountable for their actions.