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Lesson Study at Traverse City (Michigan) Area Public Schools


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Teachers from a school district in northern Michigan selected a specific science content standard as the goal of their Lesson Study. The teachers' comments make reference to Lesson Study as a supportive professional experience that helps them in understanding and sustaining a standards-based curriculum as well as promoting their own professional growth. The comments are organized according to the characteristics of Lesson Study that teachers found to be useful.

Planning and Improving Lessons. One characteristic of Lesson Study is that it helps teachers plan and improve lessons.

Photo of Karen NelsonKaren Nelson, a teacher at Eastern Elementary School in Michigan, talks about using Lesson Study to plan lessons collaboratively. [Video: :35]

 

Photo of Robin BristerRobin Brister, a fourth-grade teacher at Norris Elementary School in Michigan talks about using Lesson Study to develop lessons. [Video: :43]

 

Deeper Understanding of Science Teaching and Learning. In addition to helping teachers plan and improve lessons that focus on a specific content standard, the Lesson Study process helps teachers develop their own understanding of the content, which in this case is science.

Photo of Abbey LeppienAbbey Leppien, a fourth-fifth grade teacher at Bertha Vos Elementary School in Michigan, talks about how appropriate professional development intertwined with standards-based instruction has helped her gain a deeper understanding of science teaching and learning. [Video: :50]

 

Lesson Study, however, is not just for science content. Kristin Sak, fourth-grade teacher at Bertha Vos Elementary School in Michigan, says that Lesson Study carries over to other academic areas and especially is valuable for ensuring that content makes the connections to the real world for students.

Focus on the Learner. Another characteristic of the Lesson Study is its focus on learners rather than teacher behaviors. Lesson Study keeps students at the center of this inquiry process. By focusing on what students need to know and be able to do, science standards serve as guidelines to help teachers define the student outcomes, frame observations, and reflect on accomplishments and improvements.

Photo of  Robin BristerRobin Brister, a fourth-grade teacher at Norris Elementary School in Michigan, discusses the focus on student understanding. [Video: :35]

 

Collaboration. An important feature of the Lesson Study process is collaboration. Lesson Study teams offer teachers opportunities to learn from each other. Teachers who participate in Lesson Study teams speak highly about the experience of job-embedded learning about science knowledge and science content, supported by their colleagues' expertise and the contributions of knowledgeable others.

Photo of Linda EgelerLinda Egeler, a fourth-grade mathematics and science teacher at Cherry Knoll Elementary School in Michigan, discusses the collaboration inherent in Lesson Study. [Video: :34]

 

Ongoing Teaching and Learning. Because the purpose of Lesson Study is to engage in ongoing inquiry about teaching and learning rather than arriving at the perfect lesson, sharing and trust is critical. Teachers who participate in Lesson Study benefit from the opportunity to engage in ongoing learning, explore new ideas, and try them out in the company of a supportive group of colleagues.

Photo of Linda EgelerLinda Egeler, a fourth-grade mathematics and science teacher at Cherry Knoll Elementary School in Michigan , is appreciative of the power of the collaborative learning community built around Lesson Study and the feeling of trust and sharing among her colleagues. [Video: :39]

 

ReferencesReferences

Return to " Science Education in the Era of No Child Left Behind—History, Benchmarks, and Standards."

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