Yesterday afternoon I knew I needed an easy afternoon as I was feeling a bit ill. At 12:20 I told the students that we were going to have a class meeting. Then we would go outside for recess. That would probably be about 12:40. Then we would come in about 1:05 and go to library. We didn't finish the class meeting until 12:55. They were not happy about having a 5 minute recess. But I had told them a number of times during the meeting when kids were fooling around that they were using up their recess time. And all we did was compliments. One person said what they wished more people would notice about them and the person to the left complimented them or noticed it. I've noticed that students are having an easier time with this than they did a couple of weeks ago, so that is good. But half an hour is a bit ridiculous. There were only 21 kids in the circle. I think the problem is a combination of students fooling around, some being disruptive, and students needing to think about what they want to be complimented on.
I have a few suggestions. (By the way, do you have the book, Positive Discipline in the Classroom?)
First, set a limit for the amount of time for class meetings. If they haven't finished (even with compliments) stop anyway, and say, "I'm sure we can do better next time."
Secondly, put every problem on the agenda and let the kids figure out solutions so they will have ownership. For example, "How do we solve the problem of fooling around?"
Also, I hope you are having class meetings every day. It takes a while for students to learn the skills (just as in math or reading) and they lose most of what they learn if they don't get to practice every day. I hope this helps.