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What Do Lessons Tell Us About Teachers


Need to focus on the mathematical purpose of the lesson, not just the activities ... Altered Lesson Plan Surfaced Differences in Thinking ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: What Do Lessons Tell Us About Teachers


What Do Lessons Tell Us About Teachers Learning
From Lesson Study? Betsy King, Catherine Lewis,
Aki Murata Rebecca Perry Lesson Study Group
at Mills College Oakland, California http//www.l
  • This material is based upon work supported by the
    National Science Foundation under Grant No.
    0207259. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions
    or recommendations expressed in this material are
    those of the author(s) and do not necessarily
    reflect the views of the National Science

Lesson Study
Post-Lesson Activities
Research Lesson
Planning Phase
Lesson Study
Planning Phase
  • Collaborative planning
  • Discuss goals for students content
  • Study available units lessons
  • Build from an existing lesson

Lesson Study
Research Lesson
Planning Phase
  • 1 teacher teaches others observe/ collect data
  • Designed to bring to life a particular goal/
    vision of education
  • Record lesson - video, audio, student work,
    observation notes

Lesson Study
Post-Lesson Activities
Research Lesson
Planning Phase
  • Formally debrief lesson
  • Discuss how lesson brought goals to life
  • Revise and re-teach if desired

Case 1 Overview
  • 5-day summer workshop
  • 14 participants from 8 sites
  • Elementary and middle school teachers

What Happened
  • Initial planning group (IPG, 3 members)
    pre-planned series of 3 grade 5 lessons based on
  • Whole group (14 members) helped revise plans,
    collect data, discuss lessons
  • 1 IPG member guest taught the 3 lessons to a
    class of 5th graders over 3 days

  • Video and transcriptions of 3 lessons, 3
    debriefs, and 13 hours of planning meetings
  • Written reflections (twice daily) in response to
    prompts, e.g, what is mathematical discourse and
    how does it promote math learning? What are the
    important ideas in teaching volume?
  • Lesson plans
  • Follow-up emails with IPG

Identified Learning Threads Topics in
mathematics and its teaching-learning that
surfaced more than twice
  • Examples
  • When and how to define mathematical vocabulary
  • Volume is not counted but measured Moving
    students from counting to multiplicative view is

More Examples of Learning Threads
  • Base times height provides a better basis for
    generalization to other prisms than does length
    times width times height
  • Need to focus on the mathematical purpose of the
    lesson, not just the activities
  • Blackboard can provide a written record of the

When How to Define Mathematical
Vocabulary Natural History of This Learning
I Prior to First Lesson
  • IPG added definitions and academic vocabulary
    activity to Investigations

IPG Additions
  • Teacher defines volume at outset
  • Teacher leads class to list descriptors of
    rectangular prisms and introduces term
  • Length width and height defined by teacher,
    linked to student informal vocabulary

Altered Lesson Plan Surfaced Differences in
  • If use the term rectangular prism, must define
    it precisely. This cant be done in 10 minutes
    takes 2-3 lessons
  • VS.
  • Dont want to spend too long defining it, but
    want to expose students to the term rectangular
    prism--if its said enough times students will
    get the idea

Examples of Pre-Lesson Views
  • The fact that we call it a prismIts just like
    me calling you by your name.I dont need to know
    where your name came from
  • If it were daily conversation, we could use
    prism, but since this is a mathematics lesson
    we need to use terms very very carefullyall the
    termsshould be defined

  • Front-load Vocabulary for 2nd Language Learners
  • Were dealing with a lot of second language
    students So when were given the opportunity to
    use some academic language, I think its
    bestto go ahead and use it. If we were to
    called this a box or a shapewe are missing out
    on an opportunity to use the academic language
    and call this a rectangular prism so that they
    hear that word, are associating it with this
    particular shape.

Lesson 1 A Compromise
  • Instructor did not define or use rectangular
    prism or volume
  • But spent much lesson time on activities designed
  • Elicit descriptors of rectangular prisms
  • Elicit students informal terms for height,
    width, and length and map to these 3 terms

Lesson 1 Debrief
  • Only 5/27 students wrote about 3 dimensions
  • Members concerned that lesson did not move
    students toward understanding of 3 dimensions and
  • Different ideas about why
  • Inadequate vocabulary development
  • No classroom foundation for discourse
  • Nature of task (3 dimensions not needed)

Reflections After Lesson 1
  • Consistency necessary with new vocabulary.
    Confusing for students/teacher to use same word
    to describe different thing.
  • Do students need to be able to clearly define
    length, width, and height to find volume and
    understand the concept?

Final ReflectionsElements You Will Incorporate
in Practice
  • Im going to focus on being more conscious of
    when, how I introduce vocabulary
  • The difference between learning vocabulary vs.
    learning the concept/the meaning

3 Months Post-Workshop
  • IPG revises unit and teaches in own venue
  • Problem revised so all 3 dimensions need to be
  • Students who write about 3 dimensions
  • -Summer workshop 18
  • -Revised unit 52

Changed View of Front-loading Vocabulary
  • This is primarily a reading strategy that was
    assumed to work in mathematics. Contrary to
    this, we have found that if we begin by teaching
    the mathematical concept with informal vocabulary
    first and after the concept is grasped we
    explicitly add the academic vocabulary that this
    works much better in terms of students being able
    to use the vocabulary and retention
  • An IPG members summary of talk to math

A Different View
  • I still take issue with Japanese colleagues
    resistance to the vocabulary development aspects
    of the lesson. I still feel very strongly about
    the need for EL students to review and see
    academic language as often as we can offer it to
  • -Another IPG member, 7 months after workshop

Implications for Lesson Study
  • Discussion of written lesson plan surfaced
    differences in thinking
  • Changes occurred over time, not in the course of
    a single lesson cycle
  • Model curriculum provides rich starting point

Implications for Research
  • Participants learned different things
  • -Some things could be specified in advance,
    others not.

Implications for Research
  • 2. Teachers continued to experiment after
  • Does PD foster structures, motivation, habits of
    mind for continued learning from practice?

Implications for Research
  • 3. The Nature of Research-Based Practice
  • Definitions and vocabulary development added
    because of research on 2nd language learners
  • Need practice-based opportunities to test and
    qualify proven research findings

Please Evaluate Resources
  • Table 2 History of Learning Thread
  • Discussion Excerpts
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