Lesson Study Reflection

letters home

Note: to see student responses to this assignment click on the Lesson Study category

Write a reflection on the experience of using the lesson study format to look at your lesson and share your ideas with your classmates. Here are three perspectives that may be useful for reflecting on the experience.

Note: You do not have to write on all three – these are merely suggestions to help get you started. Make this work for you.

  1. The model: Is this “Lesson Study” format useful? Did it help you to better understand your lesson and peers’ lessons? Did the process yield any useful improvements in your lesson? How can we improve the model for the next round of lesson study?
  2. Working with peers: What’s our capacity as educators to discuss key elements of a lesson? Did we see lessons in the same way? Did we share useful feedback?
  3. Big Picture: What does this activity tells us about kinds of tasks students are being asked to do? Do you see any patterns in our classes collection of lessons?

Blogging schedule:

  1. Blog your reaction to Lesson Study I as a post by  11PM Thursday 9/12.
  2. Comment on at least 2 other posts by 11PM Saturday 9/14. (Note: I will be leaving  comments as well.)
  3. Follow up on 1 comment to your post with your own reply by 11PM Sunday 9/15.

This is your first graded assignment. Evaluations will be based on:

  • Completion of full blogging assignment by the due dates above. Each step builds on the previous. Let’s not fall behind.
  • The quality of the reflection. Does it simply narrate the experience or does it recognize patterns, evaluate lessons learned or set new goals. See my Taxonomy of Reflection for more on higher and lower order reflection.
  • Do comments demonstrate a close reading of their peer’s post and serve to offer useful feedback, constructive criticism and / or to advance the dialogue.

Image credit: Smithsonian Institution A.2006-99
Description: Soldiers stationed at Fort Upton (New York) shown taking the time to write letters home, as suggested by a large banner on the room wall.
Creator/Photographer: Unidentified photographer
Date: 1918
Collection: U.S. Postal Employees
Repository: National Postal Museum

Class 3: Using the Lesson Study Process

Our third class is comprised of three segments:

  • Task 1. I’ll be showing you a sample lesson I created as an interactive iBook. “Progress and Poverty in Industrial America.” Free at iTunes I want to demonstrate how I used the lesson study to plan the book and introduce you to what you can create with iBooks author. (I have a cart of iPads coming in).
  • Task 2: Give you time to use your lesson study to offer each other feedback on an upcoming lesson you will teach in your placement. See Lesson Study Assignment (41 KB pdf) given out at Class 2
  • Task 3. Get you set up on WordPress – your assignment this week takes the form of a blog post.

To see students’ reflections on Lesson Study click Lesson Study 1 Category

Here’s a sample “Lesson Study” based on my iBook “Progress and Poverty in Industrial America.”

Content – I have three goals for this iBook lesson:

  1. To study the industrial era of late 19th century US Use an essential question (EQ) that is still relevant to students: “How do we evaluate the social costs and benefits of technological innovations?”
  2. I want students to think about the impact of contemporary technological changes on peoples’ lives. 
  3. Guide students through the historian’s process with Common Core style prompts

Progress and Poverty in Industrial America-coverProcess – I begin by posing the essential question (then to make the question relevant to students) I offer a brief examination of the impact of 21st c technologies / global economy on progress and poverty in contemporary America. I’ve gathered a short collection of historic documents – some text, but also photographs, posters and an early Edison film. Instead of explaining the documents to the students, I have minimal explanation, with short guiding questions to help the students think about the documents and ultimately the essential question.

Product – I left this rather open ended since I published it on iTunes and I don’t intend to be there to deliver the lesson. But in the introduction, I do include a series of possible activities that teachers might utilize.

Evaluation – I did not include a formal assessment in this iBook. (If used by a teacher, I’ll let them figure it out). But at the reader level I do have a series of reflective questions for students related to content goals (the late 19th c industrialization, essential question, and process of historical thinking.)

What kinds of thinking will students need to do to participate in the lesson? For the most part its all higher level thinking (analysis and evaluation) I have many documents with opposing viewpoints on the impact of industrialization. The guiding questions ask student to compare (analysis) and evaluate.

To what extent do students have options or choices regarding these lesson components? I choose all the content. No student choice there. While I offer suggestions for how to look at the documents, there is no specific process or product. So there is a chance for student input. The material lends itself to a debate format, though students might simply use the content to form their own opinions about the EQ. That’s their own personal “evaluation “ of the question.

Class 2: Thinking About Thinking

key lesson components

I introduced a modified lesson study model.  As I noted:

The goal of this assignment is two-fold. First to offer supportive feedback on your lesson development through a peer review process. Second to offer some “lenses to look through” that help you easily see the essentials of a lesson. It is not a substitute for the School of Education lesson plan format. Think of it as a pre-lesson plan planning guide. This is not some exercise for the benefit of your instructor. This should be a process that works for you. So feel free to modify to meet your particulars. Use a scale that works for you – focus on just a small segment of a larger unit, or look at the entire unit. Don’t like Bloom? Use another schema to discuss the kinds of thinking that your students will need to successfully complete the assignment. Assignment here. (41 KB pdf)

Next I used a presentation and LearningCatalytics questions to lead the students through a series of activities as participant / observers. I wanted them to look at the lesson from the students’ perspective with a focus on the four components of a lesson. I also wanted them to use Bloom’s Taxonomy to see if they could identify what level of thinking they were using. We monitored the extent the decisions about of content, process, product and evaluation were being made by me (the teacher) or by the students.  Slide deck here. (6.4 MB pdf)

When I asked them to summarize what they thought my goal was for the class, one student replied “You wanted to get us to think about thinking by having to think.”