In addition to professional development that happens during inservices, staff meetings, and in district committees, our teaching staff has focused, individualized professional development that comes right to their classrooms. Three times a year (fall/winter/spring), our district specialists/consultants work directly with teachers through lesson study and residencies here at RES.
For teachers, a typical Lesson Study day might look like this:
1. PLAN: Leaders guide a cohort of teachers to plan a lesson together, based in both a deep exploration of the specific content material as well as best practices around how children learn.
2. MODEL/OBSERVE: A lead-teacher models the lesson with the planning group observing the scholars, their work and the specific teaching methods utilized.
3. EXAMINE STUDENT WORK: The team brings both the observation notes as well as actual student work to look for evidence of student learning and deeper conceptual understanding.
4. PERSONAL REFLECTION: Each participating member of the group identifies one area of content/pedagogy where his or her thinking has deepened as a result of Lesson Study, and one concrete “next step” that they would like to take back to their own practice.
5. RESIDENCY For the rest of the residency, the leader works individually with each participating teacher in his/her classroom, often on building on those “next steps” and supporting teachers in best practices.
In Lesson Study, teachers present themselves as learners, gleaning deeper understanding of how students best learn by observing children at work and collaborating with colleagues.
In our efforts to constantly improve our instructional practices and models, lesson study has served as an essential component of change. We are also proud to present ourselves as learners, allowing scholars to see that like them we have learning to do and constantly reach higher!
A look at Mathematics Lesson Study:
During a typical mathematics lesson study staff will begin their work with the following:
- A Focus Question: This is a question that we want our scholars to engage with. It is
- What do scholars understand about the mathematical topic? Where does this lesson fit into the unit of instruction?
- What evidence will be collected during the lesson about student learning and motivation? This is a great way for our educators to develop formative assessments that inform instruction
- What mathematical terms and symbolic notation will be important in the lesson?
After working as a team, sharing resources, knowledge and experiences, around the above, the lesson study team then turns their attention to the sequence of the lesson (warm-up, launch/mini-lesson, the body of the lesson, wrap-up/focus question discussion, exit ticket). One of the team members is going to model this lesson while the other members observe and reflect.
At the end of a lesson study, educators share their insights and takeaways from the experience. The sharing of expertise and observations are essential components of instructional improvements.