Standard Operating Procedures are common place in the business and military world. They are required in order to be have an efficient organization. In education, they are usually called rules but have the same purpose. The difference is, rules are often pre-determined by the teacher or administration and stay the same year round. They are usually listed on a cute laminated poster on the wall where they are never revisited or looked at again all year. This is where the "rules" change in a Personalized Learning Classroom!
As adults, we know we have to follow certain rules in different environments whether we like them or not. Sometimes, a few of our more vocal adults will attempt to change those rules. This isn't always taken lightly by the creator of such rules. Well, imagine if the rules were presented and those same adults were asked to give feedback based on what they liked, didn't like and suggestion where welcome on how to change them.
That is what makes us feel important and often helps us feel more inclined to follow the rules because we were a part of the process to create them.
Now, think about kids...all they want to do in school is have fun and make new friends. If they learn along the way, that's great too! This is why we must have Standard Operating Procedures in the classroom for the different activities our students will participate in during the day. When students are a part of the creation of the culture and climate of their classroom, they will take ownership and become more self motivated.
So, how do we get the students involved in the process of creating these "S.O.P's"?
Although you will probably need to have some pre-determined S.O.P's with school wide procedures (hallway, bathroom, lunchroom,etc.), you can begin your class S.O.P's with guiding questions like "What steps should we take to go from our whole group activities to a small group?"
Once you pose the questions, you can have students give ideas in partners, small groups with a "team leader" as the spokes person, raising hands, etc.
The teacher can then compile the ideas in a checklist or decision-making chart (flow charts with yes or no directions).
As the year goes on, you can "retire" charts once they are mastered. You could make a place in the room to hang mastered S.O.P's in case you need to revisit them. Since space is often too tight to have all your S.O.P's visible at all times, this may be necessary. You can also change them if you see that they are missing a step or add new ones as new routines are introduced.
These are to help your class run efficiently, so check and adjust often and as needed. Once you start this process you may even hear students say, "Mrs.__, I think we need an S.O.P for __!" when they see a routine that just isn't running smoothly. That shows they know WHY Standard Operating Procedures are implemented and they will take ownership in their Personalized Learning Classroom environment!
Good luck! If you want to know more, check back soon for more posts and see the links below for more resources.
http://ipersonalizelearning.blogspot.com/ *A personal blog by one of our CCSD teachers with great visuals of SOP's!