Alternative Learning Plan – Bryce Hedstrom

This is too good to not post as a blog entry. It was originally a comment by Bryce on the Pigs Can’t Fly series of blog posts. It will be categorized under “Pigs” and “Classroom Discipline”:
I have sneaked (snuck?) a proviso for this type of situation [ed. note: Bryce is referring here to when you have a true pig/jackal in your class] into my course syllabus.  When the administrators approve it, and they always do, –probably without reading it– I am free to implement my plan.  It is called the alternative learning plan, and I got the idea from Blaine.  I just fleshed out the idea.
I only had to use this once, he took it all the way and was removed from the class, which totally stunned the kid and his parents.
Here it is formatting will not come through, but you can get the idea and adapt it for your needs.  The entire form is in my book “Stuff for Spanish Class”
We are in this class to learn and no student is above the welfare of the class.  Your recent behavior has interrupted the learning process in your class.  Other students are learning less because of it.  Despite the disruptions, I want you to learn and you still have a chance to get a grade for the course with this alternative learning plan.  This plan is a way for you to learn and earn a grade rather than receiving a poor grade or no credit at all.  With this plan you can still earn the grade you choose.
Your behavior is always under your control.  You can always choose to act like a motivated, positive, well-behaved, regularly attending student.  When you choose to disrupt the class, you are choosing this alternative plan.
The best option is for you to be part of the class.  Rejoining the class is best because you will learn more that way.  When you return, I expect regular attendance, active participation and controlled behavior.  For now you will sit silently in the back of the classroom (or in another designated area) and work on salvaging a grade for yourself.  You will not interact with the class or disturb the class.
If you continue to distract your classmates’ learning even this option will be withdrawn and you may be dropped from the class.  This is an option that is granted to teachers by our state.*
To earn a grade with this plan, you must complete all of the requirements of the lower grade levels, plus the requirements for the higher grade that you decide you want to earn:
1.  To earn a D  you must do all of the assigned pages of a Spanish workbook that the teacher chooses.  One page from the workbook must be turned in for each school day whether you are in school that day or not.  If you do not turn in all of the pages assigned for each day you will receive no credit for the class.  No exceptions.
2.  To earn a C  you must complete the requirements for a D and you must also read at least 3 pages daily from a chapter book in Spanish for each school day remaining in the term whether you are in school that day or not.  The book should be in Spanish, and be interesting and comprehensible to you.  The teacher must approve the book once you have chosen it.  You may check the book out from the school library or the public library.  You may also borrow it, or buy it at a book store or online.  You will prove that you are reading by reporting to the teacher with a Dual Entry Journal Form weekly with a two entries for each page you have read.
3.  To earn a B  you must complete the requirements for a C and a D and you must also write a weekly 250 word essay or story in Spanish.  It is to be in your own words and must use the vocabulary that the class is currently studying.   You must write this essay or story whether you are in school that week or not.
NOTE:  Students in Spanish I classes regularly write 100 word stories in Spanish in 5 minutes (known as “Timed Writing”) as a normal part of the course, so this not an unusually rigorous expectation for any level.
4.  To earn an A  you must complete the requirements for a B, a C and a D and you must also write a 500 word report about a Spanish speaking country and turn it in by the last regular school day of the semester.  You will need to write this detailed report in Spanish.  The report must be written in your own words in Spanish, using vocabulary and grammar that is appropriate to your course level.
Because some students resort to using on line translating programs I reserve the right to give you random vocabulary tests on every word you claim to have written in your journal entries, essays, stories or report.  This will encourage you to use words that you actually know or have learned while doing research for your report—if you wrote it you should be able to understand it.  If you do not pass the vocabulary test with at least a 90%, you will not get credit for your writing.
Duration of plan:  From _________________________ to ______________________________.
I have read and understand the requirements for this alternative learning plan:
Student signature: _________________________________ Date: _____________________
Parent signature: _________________________________ Date: _____________________, Colorado Revised Statutes CRS 22-32-109.1 (2)(a)(II)



5 thoughts on “Alternative Learning Plan – Bryce Hedstrom”

  1. I hope this alternative plan does not come across as overly harsh. I want to be compassionate towards my students, but I sadly recognize that sometimes I have to deal with kids that are determined to act like knuckleheads.
    I have only had to implement this one time. I have shown it to 4 or 5 kids over the years, but only one took me up on it and he ran it all the way until he was out of the class.
    TPRS is such a personal method, we need kids to be with us heart and soul for it to work.

  2. ….TPRS is such a personal method, we need kids to be with us heart and soul for it to work…..
    This is the reason I have finally decided to “offer” this plan to two of my rough 8th pd. French 1 juniors. The other kids are being prevented from learning because of those two kids, because they are intimidated, which is the MO of bullies. They can’t get to me, but they can get to the ones who are younger than them, most kids are 9th and 10th graders, in the class. It is precisely this thought, Bryce, that requires me to lower the boom on these two kids.

  3. I have a student whose behavior is ruining the learning in that class. I want to utilize this plan, but have some questions. The parent conference is coming up and I have talked to the parent MANY times on the phone already. The student causes problems in many other classes, and in the past, so I’m not the anomaly.
    My questions:
    1 workbook page per day = D – Do you grade accuracy? Because a workpage page will be HARD for this kid. But, if it’s wrong, how I can let a kid fill in wrong info. the whole year and pass the class? Also, do you give them a textbook to use in the room, to help complete each workbook page? We have old workbooks, so I can just allow the student to actually write in one and keep it in the room. If the student owes one per day, do you check it each day and enter it as a “modified” communication rubric grade? I want one per day, not 180 on the last day of school.
    For a C I can’t expect a level 1 kid to read 3 pages of anything a day, unless I had MANY super easy readers, which I don’t. I have a few easy ones, but don’t use them until next semester, and they wouldn’t last nearly long enough (too short). So, I could modify this alternative and give a quota of points to earn on each Friday drilling structures/vocab. Easy enough for me. Not necessarily easy for them, if they need to earn 15,000 points a week or so.
    For a B, I have not yet had any level 1 kids write, and plan not to until the end of the year or even level 2. I did just make a “vocab list” of our structures thus far and could have the student use the list to write a 50-100 word story using those words once a week. I just question if that is realistic in level 1? Will I just receive non-sensical jumbled words? Thoughts? I could make copies of our class stories and have the student translate them, but I am NOT doing extra work because they don’t want to follow the rules.
    I really don’t think anyone should earn an A when they are not practicing speaking, because they themselves have refused to follow the rules in class. Furthermore, I can’t think of any other alternative assignment to earn an A.
    Critique my alternative assignments to Bruce’s above. Is it okay that I don’t offer an A possibility?
    For how long do you assign this plan (what duration?)? Do you give the kid an opportunity to rejoin the class (it sounds like yes)? If so, how? After how long? 3 weeks? More? Less?
    Thanks! 🙂

  4. Hi Leah,
    I used this plan 2 years ago with 3 students. I basically used it as a framework and modified it to fit my situation. I don’t recall the exact modifications, but I don’t think it matters. The point is to give clear assignments and benchmarks for the student to achieve without adding to your workload. I also left out the A for the reason you describe.
    For the reading / writing I would definitely use class stories, even old ones from previous years. Can you just use a textbook / workbook and assign different amounts to complete? That online thing you describe sounds good. If you are not doing writing with your regular class I don’t think I would make this student write.
    I think you can decide how long. Make it a contract for sure, though. I think I did it for 2 weeks. Sorry kinda vague, but that is what I remember 🙂

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