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Alternative Plan Blog by Evelyn Wilson

Have you ever had days when…

     You seem to be putting out behavioral fires most of the day?

     You seem to have continuous interruptions?

     A couple of students need a lot of one-on-one attention?

     The telephone keeps ringing?

As a result, the lesson you worked so hard to prepare has to be placed on hold. If we are honest, most of us have had a day or two like that. So, what can we do to maintain our classroom?

Do you think you’ll have another one of those days? Do you have a plan in place to help you get through the next incident? Do you have a plan B?

If you have a plan B, do your students know what to expect?

I have a colleague who came up with a very appropriate phrase several years ago, “if you can predict it, you can plan for it.”

Boys Town recommends that you create an Alternative Plan.

What is an Alternative Plan? An Alternative Plan is simply a procedure for students to use when you are otherwise engaged.

An Alternative Plan…

     clarifies your expectations

     is pre-taught

     is age appropriate for your classroom

An Alternative Plan is a proactive way to teach your students what to do inany situation. Something to keep in mind - you will need to proactively teach this procedure to your students. When the time comes for students to use the plan, you simply provide a brief reminder or prompt and they will know how to proceed.

You can create an Alternative Plan by doing a task analysis of exactly what you would have your students do when you are not available. Analyze your Alternative Plan by following these steps:

    1. Give your plan a name

    2. Keep the plan focused

    3. Identify behaviors of the plan using specific steps

    4. Use specific and observable terms

    5. Put the steps in the appropriate order of performance

It is usually helpful to create both verbal and nonverbal prompts to give your students when you want them to use the Alternative Plan.

Students need to be taught how to use the procedure. Simply introducing the procedure to students will not ensure everyone will remember how to use it appropriately. When teaching the Alternative Plan you will want to include the following steps:

    1. Introduce the Alternative Plan and explain the steps they should follow

    2. Explain the importance of the plan

    3. Have the entire class practice following the Alternative Plan

    4. Let students know what the potential consequences will be for using the Plan (or choosing not to follow it)

Creating an Alternative Plan allows teacher to manage the classroom, even when the unexpected happens. Students will know what the expectations are in situations when you are not available.

Some keys to creating and implementing a good Alternative Plan are:

     Be proactive!

     Create and teach the Alternative Plan as early in the school year as possible. Reteach as needed.

     Limit the number of steps in the Plan.

     Ensure students have everything they need to follow the plan

     Practice.

     Praise students for following the Plan.

     If necessary, deliver consequences for noncompliance.

Download our FREE Alternative Plan for your Classroom.

13603 Flanagan Blvd
Boys Town, NE 68010

800.545.5771

training@boystown.org

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