To curb "cussing" in the classroom, I improvised a drama exercise. Please do not attempt to do the same with your students as it will upset your principal and you will get written up. Luckily for me, my principal only visited my class once a year. Since we were on the second floor, his secretary would call Mrs. Prentiss and give her a heads up when he was on his way.
The exercise went something like this:
1) Students sat in a large circle or smushed together on the floor.
2) I introduced the idea that words can have different meanings depending on how they are expressed. For example, we all got a chance to say the phrase, "I love gorillas" using a range of voices (angry, sad, irritated, softly...).
3) After practicing with a few different phrases, I picked one with a curse word for my students to repeat in a happy voice.
4) Not one student wanted to participate, and they seemed stunned to hear "I f****** love french fries!" come out of their teacher's mouth.
This led to an in-depth discussion about our words and our intentions. It was normal for some of my students to curse as a part of everyday conversation like a kind of punctuation to sentences, but things would sometimes go terribly wrong. There was always someone who took it to the next level and crossed the line with a classmate. This would usually escalate into a fight.
We then created another classroom agreement by doing two things 1) analyzing why we curse - something that is just part of our learned language or copying how our peers talk, and 2) discussing why it might be good to curb cursing in the classroom - we're stuck together for the entire day and we will eventually get on each others' nerves, possibly leading to a fight.
We didn't always stick to our agreement a hundred percent of the time, I slipped once (in three years), but it did encourage students to be more open to talking about their feelings instead of going straight to the @#!@&* shortcut.
Any other ideas for limiting cursing?