Sonoma County Office of Education

Math Project

Lesson Study

Since its inception, the California Math Project: North Coast (CMP:NC) has collaborated with teachers to develop Lesson Study groups focused on the improvement of mathematics instruction.

About Lesson Study
Lesson Study is a professional development model that supports teachers working together to analyze and improve classroom lessons. Over the course of a year, teachers write, study, teach, revise, and re-teach lessons, focusing their energies on improving mathematics instruction. While the lesson is taught by one of the teachers, others observe and collect data about student responses – a practice that leads to lesson revision. This long-term process allows a team of teachers to think carefully about orchestrating the complexities of instruction and to study the impact on student understanding.

The work begins with each school identifying goals for students. These goals are focused on math content and learning attitudes. Educators take time to think about what students need in order to reach the school’s goals for students.

The study team constructs a lesson using the best thinking about how students develop understanding of mathematics. The lesson is taught in a classroom with the study team observing and focusing their observations on a specific target. The lesson is then debriefed, the data and student work analyzed, and the lesson plan revised. The next version of the lesson is taught, and the cycle of debriefing, analyzing, and revising repeats. To assist in the construction of the lesson study process, protocols are developed by the team. These are procedures embedded in the process, guiding the way teachers and observers work together when discussing complex issues.

At the end of the lesson study process, the lesson is made public and published. The publishing of the lesson may occur by sharing:

  • The lesson plan itself
  • Reflections on the goals and accomplishments of the lesson study group
  • Audio and video taping of the lesson
  • A large audience observation or “open house”