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More On Lesson Study

You have probably heard of professional development through lesson study. The technique, based on the Japanese model, has spread to the U.S. in different variations and with some success.

Aptly named, the Chicago Lesson Study Group is one of the leading promoters of lesson study. Launched in the fall of 2002, the Chicago Lesson Study Group has worked primarily with Chicago-area teachers, teacher educators, and pre-service teachers...but also has conducted multiple lesson study conferences, summer institutes, and public research lessons.

Though I recommend browsing their full web site, please focus on their Lesson Plan Library. It includes mathematics lessons and units for grades 3-9, all aligned to the Common Core Standards.

Specific to grades 7-9, some lessons I suggest you peruse are:

  • Reciprocals of Quadratic Functions
  • The Secret of the Crystal Ball
  • Playing Math Fever
  • Which Container Holds a Larger Amount of Popcorn?
The lessons themselves are not necessarily innovative, but the interesting aspects are the thorough analysis of the lesson, the mathematics involved, the sequence of learning activities, and its implementation. I am curious as to why generally only half of the people looking at and reviewing these lessons report them as being "useful." No explanation is alavilable.

While offering these Lesson Plans to any teacher, the Chicago Lesson Study Group is also inviting the same teacher to rate and comment on the resources used. You also may want to join its forum to learn further about lesson study as a way to both improve student learning and your efforts as a teacher.

A concern I have is the apparent lack of current follow-through and updating via their web site (yes the one I am recommending). For example, the "About Us" section apparently was written in 2005 and has not been edited recently. Also, the web site has many "under construction" sections, such as international lesson plans or videos.