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A TIME for Physics First Lesson Study Through Physics First

• Is a statewide project aimed at implementing 9th grade physics curriculum & professional development among the 21 partner districts over a 3-year period. • Project website:

Mark Volkmann ~ University of Missouri Steve McMullin ~ Columbia Public schools

17 Professional Learning Teams (PLTs) One Coach Mentor is assigned to each of 10 areas:

1–3 PLTs 2–2 PLTs 3–2 PLTs 4 – 1 PLT 5 – 1 PLT

9 8 10

6 7



2 31

6–2 PLTs 7 – 1 PLT 8–3 PLTs 9 – 1 PLT 10 – 1 PLT

PLT Responsibilities • Meet periodically to share successes and concerns in teaching physics to 9th graders • Compare notes on teaching and learning • Collaborate on Lesson Study

Overview • • • • •

What is Lesson Study? What is a Lesson Study Cycle? What do teachers need? How can administrators help? Why should you do lesson study?


Lesson Study is …  Professional development that is teacher-driven, student-focused, and jointly-designed.

Funded by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

Lesson Study is …  A collaboration among teachers to plan, teach, refine, and re-teach a single lesson.

Funded by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

Lesson Study is …  A research process that has the potential to transform teaching.

Funded by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

Lesson Study 

Involves the examination of student work. This examination provides a window into student learning. What’s learned is used to improve the lesson.

Funded by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

The Lesson Study Cycle 1. Planning Goals and Lessons 2. Teaching 3. Discussing 4. Consolidating the learning


5. Lewis (2002)

1. Goal Setting And Planning

4. Consolidation Of Learning

2 Research Lesson

3. Lesson Discussion

Lesson Cycle: Setting goals  Goals are developed by each PLT by comparing the ideal to real student behaviors and producing a long term vision for change.  For Example: “To help students learn to think critically by using evidence and reasoning to support explanations and conclusions.”

Setting Goals at Oakland JHS • At Oakland JHS, our goal was to increase student understanding of graphs.

Reason for Setting Goals To develop a common vision for improved learning by asking questions: • • •

What actions will you take to enact your goal in the classroom? What are reasonable expectations? What behaviors will demonstrate success?

Lesson Cycle: Planning  The PLTs choose an existing lesson as a starting point  PLTs develop a detailed lesson plan.  PLTs maintain focus on the instructional goal.

The Teachers’ Role in Planning • To identify a point in an instructional sequence where learning breaks-down. Beginning of Sequence

Ending of Sequence

• Where do students have trouble? • Where does it make sense to plan a lesson?

The Teachers’ Role at Oakland: Incorporating Reforms • We focused on a mathematical model (writing a line equation for a linear Xt graph) that could be used in a variety of applications. • We revisited the same model when we investigated Ohm’s law and acceleration.

Selecting Lesson at Oakland JHS • Specifically, we wanted students to transition from a mathematical expression of slope to the uniform motion equation expressing a linear relationship between position and time. • y=mx+b xf=vΔt + vi

The Teachers’ Role Assessment The role of assessment: • In this particular lesson, we gauged student learning with an exit slip. • Other formative assessments that we have used include – quizzes and class discussion.

The Teachers’ Role at Oakland: Designing a Protocol • What did the observers look for? • Observers walked around the room, took notes, listened to student questions, and analyzed student exit slips. • We were able to gauge student learning.

Coach Mentor Role During the Teaching at Oakland • The Coach Mentor was critical to our success. • The Coach Mentor – aided in lesson selection – Arranged for release time – videotaped the lessons, and – offered opinions on how to improve future teaching of the lesson

Lesson Cycle: Teaching  One teacher volunteers to teach the lesson.  PLT members observe and record student responses.  Protocols focus observations

Lesson Cycle: Discussion   

Works best when discussion occurs immediately after the lesson. Improve the quality of the lesson and develops deeper knowledge about teaching physics. Recommend changes based on observation of students’ responses.

The Coach Mentor’s Role in Discussion • Plans the place, date and time for the discussion. • Directs the discussion: – The teacher who taught the lesson speaks first. – Members of the PLT speak next. – Other observers go last and ask questions. – The conversation remains focused on teacher actions and students’ responses.

The Teacher’s Role in Discussion at Oakland • The teacher may have decided to move away from the lesson plan at various points. • It is important to discuss why those decisions were made and how the changes might be incorporated into the second teaching.

Lesson Cycle: Consolidation Re-teaching lesson  May include an outside expert  Discussion follows the re-teaching  Publication of lesson study results 

Observers pay close attention to the influence of the changes made to the lesson on student learning


Questions For the Teacher • Will Lesson Study help my students learn? • What benefits and what problems will I encounter? • What help should I expect from the administration? • What’s the payoff?

Problems – View from Oakland • Challenges included coordinating times to observe each other, and • Finding enough time to plan together. • We felt that the payoff outweighed the time commitment.

Successes – View from Oakland • Our PLT collaborates on a regular basis, but lesson study allowed for more focused collaboration. • Lesson study provided an opportunity to perfect a lesson that is ready to share. • Observing fellow teachers is a great learning experience. • The luxury of time to observe students and teachers who are not normally available.


Question -- Administrators • • • •

In what ways will teachers improve? Will teachers buy into Lesson Study? Will student performance improve? Will teachers find Lesson Study to be meaningful? • What will I need to provide? • What is the pay-off?

Do Lesson Study Because: • Teachers who enjoy working with others. • Teachers who are willing to open their classrooms to others. • Teachers who desire to become better at teaching. • Teachers who have administrative support


References & Resources • Lewis, C. (2002b). Lesson Study: A Handbook of Teacher-Led Instructional Change. Philadelphia: Research for Better Schools, Inc • The Lesson Study Research Group (LSRG) is housed at Teachers College, Columbia University,

• Lesson Study Group at Mills College

• College Lesson Study Group • A Time for Physics First


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