The beginning of a school year is an exciting time for educators and learners. For many of us, it's an opportunity to wipe the slate clean and start again with new groups of students and perhaps new colleagues. And if you taught remotely for all or part of the last school year, you may still be getting acquainted with some of your colleagues - or perhaps all of them if you are new to the school.
Today I'd like to share a PLC protocol that I have found to be helpful in developing team norms. While I've used it with teacher teams, I think it can work really well in setting up class norms in a student-centered environment. It's actually an adaptation of "Irks and Quirks" published in the book Facilitating Teacher Teams and Authentic PLCs: The Human Side of Learning People, Protocols, and Practices by Daniel R. Venables. I call it "Mind Your Ps and Qs" and it gets participants reflecting on their own pet peeves and quirks as they develop team norms. Ideally, you want to create the norms immediately after completing this activity, but if the group is too large you may need to tweak it so it doesn't take up the entire designated time period.
Here's how it goes.
Time: 15-20 minutes depending on the size of the group. And I suggest stating this at the start so it doesn't take any longer.
- Give each participant an index card.
- On one side, they write one pet peeve regarding PLCs or meetings. Some common examples include, one person monopolizing the conversation or not starting meetings on time.
- On the other side, they write one quirk that colleagues (or classmates) should know in order to make their work most productive. Some examples include sharing preferences or learning styles.
- Participants share both sides of the cards with no comment or discussion from colleagues.
- Ideally sharing is voluntary, but I found most people are open to sharing.
- This should take 5-7 minutes.
- Debrief for about 3-5 minutes before moving on to setting team norms.