Pigs Can’t Fly 3

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5 thoughts on “Pigs Can’t Fly 3”

  1. I have sneaked (snuck?) a proviso for this type of situation 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    If you continue to distract your classmates’ learning even this option will be withdrawn and you may be dropped from the class.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: _____________________

    * http://www.safeschools.state.co.us/docs/Safe.School.Act_2008.pdf, Colorado Revised Statutes CRS 22-32-109.1 (2)(a)(II)

  2. Thanks Bryce… I’m going to put something similar to this in my syllabus next semester.

    Bryce, do these kids stay in your classroom? Or do they go elsewhere, like the library or something?

  3. I had him stay in my room until he became too disruptive. I gave him too many chances and I finally dropped him from my class. He spent the rest of the semester in the library trying to pass an online Spanish course. I felt bad about it, but to quote Mr. Spock, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.”

  4. Bryce–
    An excellent plan. Well thought out and to the point. I especially appreciate your quote from Mr. Spock. It is so true that when we focus on the disruption we rob the rest from their learning process. Some students just seem to thrive on creating chaos. It is the only time they feel safe because they feel like they are controlling their scene. It is hard to be compassionate when it feels so distructive to everything we are trying to build in the classroom.
    I feel like this whole year I’ve been wigged out. I’ve felt like I’ve lost my heart. and I’ve felt like a monster myself as I’ve bullied kids into behavior. I think some parent conferences would help relieve some of this heart congestion. And perhaps some exit plans. Then again it could be I need to look at what I am doing and see what would be more helpful.

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