Sonoma County Office of Education

Lesson Study

Lesson Study

What is Lesson Study?

Lesson Study has been singled out time and time again as an exemplar the highest quality professional learning for schools and teachers. Sonoma County has long recognized the powerful impact Lesson Study can have on a school and district. In 1999, the California Math Project: North Coast brought Lesson Study to Sonoma County. Since that time, Lesson Study has had positive impact on teaching and learning across a variety of content areas. The power of its collaborative and inquiry-based approach to continuous improvement can be seen in the ways it has vastly improved the culture of schools.

On the surface, Lesson Study is a group of teachers collaboratively designing a lesson and investigating how students interact with it to build their understanding of how their instruction impacts students. Underneath the surface teachers are engaging in several pathways of professional growth:

  • increased knowledge of subject matter,
  • increased knowledge of instruction,
  • increased ability to observe students,
  • stronger collegial networks,
  • stronger connection of daily practice to long-term goals,
  • stronger motivation and sense of efficacy,
  • improved quality of available lesson plans
  • — from Lewis, Perry, Hurd | A Deeper Look at Lesson Study 2001

    What to expect from Lesson Study

    Experiences can be customized depending on teachers' and schools' needs, but typically:

  • Teachers will work in teams of 4 to 7
  • The full cycle takes 4 or 5 release days
    1. Two Full Release days for Planning
    2. Two or Three Full Release for lesson observation, debrief, and synthesis of learning
  • Teachers will share their learning at an afternoon, end-of-the-year Sharecase with other Lesson Study teams.
  • Resources

    For a quick description of Lesson Study, click here.

    To watch a video about Japan's Lesson Study programs, click here.


    Math Coordinator, Josh Deis | 707-524-2973

    Josh DeisAs a teacher, Josh Deis participated in lesson study. He attributes the experience to growing him into a teacher-leader as well as starting him on his path to his position at SCOE. He has been a practitioner for 15 years, writing his thesis on the topic, and believes Lesson Study is the most powerful professional learning experience he’s participated in.

    ELA Teacher on Loan, Kelly Matteri | 707-524-2928

    MatteriKelly has been at SCOE for three years, providing support to school districts in the areas of English Language Arts and Literacy. Prior to coming to SCOE, Kelly worked as a classroom teacher for eight years, as well as a behavioral counselor in residential treatment centers. She believes that educators and students must engage together in meaningful learning in order to advance both student achievement and educator capacity. Kelly enjoys singing, dancing, laughing and learning with her husband and son.

    Amie Carter, Sonoma County Superintendent
    "The mission of the Sonoma County Office of Education is to foster student success through service to schools, students, and the community." - Amie Carter, Sonoma County Superintendent