How can I explain “anarchy?” in the context of this discipline approach?

Some of my youngsters are struggling with the word “anarchy.” How can I explain what it means in a simple way?

Remember that young people’s brains are like sponges. They can absorb anything. The trick is to make meaning of what is absorbed. This will enhance learning and memory.

For older children:
Break “an/archy” up by teaching that the prefix “an” means “not,” “without,” or “lacking”– in this case, “without rule.” Compare this with other prefixes such as “mono,” which means “one,” and “olig” which means “a few.”

Explain that:
• Monarchy is rule by one person (like a king).
• Oligarchy means rule by a few people.
• Anarchy means that there is no leader, so people do anything they want–often without any regard for others.

For younger children:
Go to the gym. Tell your students that for the next two minutes they may act wildly–doing anything they want, but that as soon as you say, “FREEZE,” they must immediately stop. Before beginning, ask them if they would agree to this and have them nod their heads up and down (in the usual affirmative manner). Don’t begin until every head is nodding.

Then say, “Go!” The youngsters will do all kinds of things, including teasing, bullying, punching, and generally being wild.  After a full two minutes, command: “FREEZE!”

After this exercise, have the students congregate to describe the activity and how they behaved.  Conclude the lesson by announcing, “That was anarchy!”