A group of teachers from Burton Street Elementary were recently praised for their innovative instructional methods at the World Association of Lesson Studies virtual conference.
Lesson Study is a way for teachers to work together to test if their best ideas about how to teach are working well for their students. To do this, the teachers carefully plan a lesson and then watch the students to see how the teaching is impacting the students’ learning.
Christy Allen, Beth Ann Kempf and Julie Kielbasinski worked with colleagues at Syracuse University (Dr. Sharon Dotger, Jen Heckathorn), to plan a second-grade lesson from a science unit designed by the Smithsonian. In their plan, they worked on improving students’ opportunities to talk about their science ideas and write about their thinking in their science notebooks. To support students’ discussion and writing, the teachers worked hard on posting students’ ideas on the board in thoughtful ways.
The Cazenovia teachers shared their lesson by video at the global conference and discussed student learning with colleagues from Brazil, Japan, the United Kingdom and other countries.
Experts were impressed by the students’ readiness to make scientific claims and support them with evidence. Additional positive feedback included comments that all students were engaged throughout the lesson and that it was evident that science and investigation practices are valued in the classroom.
The panel of learning experts also made suggestions for improvement to the lesson plan, including giving students sentence starters for their notebook responses and making the board more interactive for students.
The Cazenovia group of educators commented that they look forward to collaborating with colleagues again in the next Lesson Study cycle.
More information on the World Association of Lesson Studies can be found at www.walsnet.org.