Skip to main content

Assessing personal growth - what is your SOaP score?

To calculate your SOaP score, the word "care" must be used as a verb - to be concerned for, or to make provision for.

Making one's mark in life should involve the caring or providing for oneself and others.  Where could people demonstrate or perform care?  Can habits of caring be measured in order to advance personal growth?   The acronym, SOaP puts a focus of assessment on three areas of caring; Self, Others, and Places.

The challenge of this growth assessment is to identify and measure the degree in which care is being performed or demonstrated.  Current teaching philosophy and best-practices rely on frequent practice with metacognition - or knowledge of one's knowledge or performance.  This could include, self-evaluation, peer-evaluation, and reflective practices.  Progress can be quantified by clear learning objectives, frequent, formative assessments, and scoring rubrics that monitor skill development towards mastery.

SOaP self-assessment, is going to be based upon the time-tested, and popular, ten-point scale.  Start by earning one point for performing "a" soap self-assessment.  This one point is not to be minimized, as we are looking to make self assessment and self-reflection a daily practice or habit.  That leaves nine additional points to be divided amongst three categories of growth; caring for self, caring for others, and caring for places.
a = assessment of growth, 1 point possible

First off, care for self (S).  Personal growth philosophy suggests that each day is an opportunity to grow physically, mentally, and emotionally.  Physical growth and wellness can should be developed and maintained in the form of a daily regimen of healthy habits.  These habits should include; appropriate and consistent periods of sleep and / or rest, physical exercise that includes cardiovascular, strength, and flexibility training, along with a nutrient-rich diet that includes hydration, whole-grains, fruits and vegetables, and lean proteins.  One point is scored for a conscious effort at daily physical wellness.

Another point towards the care for self score can be obtained by undertaking activities that exercise our brains both logically and creatively.  Making a habit of learning on a daily basis is at the heart of caring for self.  Research has shown that reading, and expanding vocabulary are essential habits associated with learning and intelligence.  Puzzles, logic games, problem-solving can be used sharpen our minds and strengthen our brains.  Strong brains are dense, heavy brains that contain keys to overall health and happiness.  Care for self should include daily brain exercise to foster intellectual growth.

Care for self should also include daily attention to our emotional growth and well-being.  Prayer, meditation, and quiet reflection are examples of practices that can enhance or stabilize emotions.  A recent study concluded that students who practice daily meditation perform better on standardized achievement tests.  Many mental health professionals contend that practicing activities just for their enjoyment can be emotionally fulfilling food for the soul.  Playing the piano, painting a seascape, or tending to a vegetable garden are examples of activities that people might undertake just because they are emotionally nurturing and satisfying.
S = daily growth and care for self (physical, intellectual, emotional), 3 points possible

Next, let's consider care for others. (O)  Think of this area of growth in terms of concentric circles.  The inner circle would be made up of loved ones, immediate family and close friends.  Practicing a daily habit of making these people feel cared for and special earns you an O point.  Why do people tend to save their worst language and actions for those closest to them.  Make a daily habit of saving your kindest words, manners, and actions for those who deserve them - your loved ones.

You can earn another O point for caring for people that you know at school or work.  Make it a daily habit to build trust and respect with these people.  Give more kindness than people expect with your daily interactions.  Do this consistently, and you will quickly find people reciprocating your care in unexpected and supportive ways.

A third O point can be earned by showing kindness to strangers. Make it a daily habit to do something nice for someone that you don't know.  Something as simple as a smile and a wave could brighten a previously bleak day.  The "pay it forward" concept has shown proven positive results in some communities that make kindness and care a social norm.
O = daily care and support for others (loved ones, acquaintances, strangers), 3 points possible

Finally, care for our places (P).  Making provisions and caring for places means leaving them in an improved state.  Once again, concentric circles could be used to map out the degree of caring for places.  The inner circle would include caring for, maintaining, and improving the home, workplace, or classroom.  Those places that are occupied most on a daily basis deserve daily attention.  It only takes a moment or two to leave a bathroom, kitchen, or bedroom in an improved condition.  Prepare these areas for the next occupant - they will notice the effort and reciprocate your care.

Next, show care for the common areas that you use around the community.  Respect personal property and promote natural beauty.  Picking up stray trash, and helping to keep areas around our communities neat, safe, and welcoming constitute another level of caring for our places.

Being "green", or environmentally conscious is satisfies a third circle in our care of places.  Care for our planet could mean recycling reusable materials, conserving water, and being energy efficient on a daily basis.  These practices earn another point for places.  Additionally, these practices benefit everyone in one way or another.
P = daily care of our places (personal, community, global), 3 points possible

Nobody is perfect, and daily attainment of a perfect SOaP score is not realistic.  But if the emphasis is to make an effort at daily perpetual growth - some amazing things become possible.

I have made it a daily habit to take a moment when I awaken each morning to anticipate how I will use the coming day to care for myself, others, and my places.  I also take a moment before going to sleep at night to reflect on my day, calculate my SOaP score, and put some positive thought into how I did my best to not waste the "gift" of the day.

Reflecting on my SOaP score each day reminds me that time is a non-renewable resource that can often be taken for granted.  SOaP helps me be time efficient and effective.  SOaP reminds me that I can be like a tree - regardless of age, I can grow a little more, and a little better each day.  Most importantly, SOaP reminds me that I should use my own growth practices to promote and nurture growth in others.

S = care for self - 3 points possible
O = care for others - 3 points possible
a = assessment of care (self-reflection), 1 point possible
P = care for places, 3 points possible

On a scale from one to ten... how much, and how well, did you grow today?

Here is a form to help you calculate today's SOaP score.


Popular posts from this blog

"Five Reasons Why Schoology Rocks!"

Networking at IETC last week provided me validation in my choice for best learning management system, Schoology . Having used Moodle, Edmodo, Canvas, and Blackboard, I can tell you that these are all terrific products for digital instruction. However, for the past several months, I felt that Schoology was a better choice than these previously mentioned products. Many times, asking the right questions is a precursor to making sound decisions. Here's an article that serves as a guide to asking the right questions when choosing a learning management system: 10 Questions Everyone Should Ask When Choosing an LMS Here are five reasons why Schoology remains my #1 choice for a classroom LMS: Full-featured classroom organization tools, a collaborative learning place for teachers and students, device-independent applications, Schoology API  allows the program to play nicely with others, and the basic level instructional components are, and will always be, FREE. 1.  School

Digital Badges for Teacher Professional Development

Increasingly, digital badges are becoming a topic of discussion for educators. A digital badge is a digitized token of recognition for acquiring a skill, demonstrating a competency, or for sharing knowledge gained from the completion of an activity or project. As more of our learning comes by way of digital connections and contributions, badges are becoming a more prominent method of acknowledging skills and accomplishments. Many teachers readily acknowledge the importance of personalization of learning for students. Shouldn't professional development experiences offer the same promise? Ask a typical teacher to describe their PD experiences in a single word and you will likely get responses such as irrelevant or  boring . Besides personalization and relevance, digital badges provide opportunities for teachers to discuss the skills and knowledge that support educational best practice, and professional growth. These conversations support the form and function of profession

My One Word for 2018 is Wisdom

Wisdom, according to , is "the quality or state of being wise; knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action; sagacity, discernment, or insight." "Any fool can know. The point is to understand." This quote, often incorrectly attributed to Albert Einstein , provides an illustration of the value of understanding over knowledge. A simple search reveals this quote can be linked to the writing of mathematician, George Finlay Simmons .  Narrowing my thinking to one word is an interesting challenge. I have gained a greater appreciation for words and how the combination of words can convey meaning beyond definitions, beyond knowledge. Where are the resources for knowledge in a modern world? We purchased an Amazon Echo as a gift for my parents. "It's such a smart and funny device," says my mom. Alexa has a seemingly unlimited access to information, music, and jokes, but does she understand? Can