Review Instructional Materials and Research and Record Findings
Teachers will do research to find, analyze, and reflect on instructional strategies that are the most effective for student learning in the specified topic and SE(s). It is suggested that three or more research-based resources and scholarly research articles are reviewed during this process.
Tips to make the research process more efficient:
- Use the Research Protocol and Research Collection tools linked below
- Provide teachers with research-based articles and journals containing scholarly research articles
- Summarize research for teachers if there are time constraints
- Analyze curriculum materials (e.g., textbooks, district-designed documents, professional books, curriculum management systems)
Facilitators will guide teachers as they create guiding questions for research. To ensure success in the research process, the facilitator may provide some foundational research as a model that can be shared prior to the teachers’ own research. Research can be ongoing and may need to be revisited after Phase 3: Teach and Observe.
In the search for relevant, quality research and access to databases, consider reaching out to service center specialists, district specialists, universities, campus librarians, or campus media specialists. A selection of free resources from research institutes and databases to begin the search are below:
- What Works Clearinghouse
- The Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk (including associated projects and institutes)
- Alliance for Excellent Education
- Building RTI Capacity
- The Charles A. Dana Center
- Actively listen to assist teachers in finding research that could benefit and grow the team’s knowledge
- Note that teachers may want to research brain development, cognitive maturation levels, and differentiation
- Provide guidance in selecting reputable sources online
- Plan to review guidelines for creating professional documents if needed (See phase 5 for more information.)
Design the Formative Assessment
Teachers will design an assessment to collect and analyze data on the students’ knowledge and comprehension of the instructed SE(s). This data will allow teachers to reflect on whether the instructional strategies were effective or need refinement.
Consider the following in formative assessment design:
- Align assessments to chosen SEs for the unit and Research Lesson
- Include a unit assessment, if desired
- Design an assessment to accurately measure student mastery of the objective(s) and to guide reflective discussions
- Scaffold the questions to see where students’ understanding breaks down
- Ensure the assessment is rigorous and is a clear indicator of mastery
- Create the assessment as an exit ticket so it can be administered at the end of the Research Lesson
- Design the assessment as a set of multiple choice questions with an open response, a writing sample, or an individual performance assessment (All of these options should include an example exemplary student response and a rubric.)
Matching the rigor of assessment questions to the rigor of the SE(s) and ensuring the questions focus specifically on the standard taught in the Research Lesson are key factors in assessment design. The facilitator can offer assistance with curriculum and other resources that may offer question stems appropriate for use in developing assessment items. Teachers should look at the SE(s) selected for the Research Lesson and unpack the SE(s), honing in on the verb as it is an indicator of the level of rigor required. Unpacking a standard means that teachers determine what students must know and be able to do in order to demonstrate mastery. The assessment should not take students long to complete.
Creating assessment questions may take longer than expected. Be ready to provide support as needed.
Designing an aligned pre-assessment is strongly encouraged where it is appropriate to the content and chosen SEs. A pre-assessment can be administered to students immediately prior to teaching the Research Lesson, prior to teaching the unit containing the Research Lesson, or even prior to designing the Research Lesson but after the chosen SE(s) have been identified.
Examples of effective pre-assessments include:
- English Language Arts and Reading students complete a survey of reading habits helping teachers identify which genres of text to select to teach their chosen SE(s).
- Mathematics students are assessed while teachers plan the Research Lesson to isolate a specific skill within a broad SE that students struggle with most.
- Biology students complete a pretest the day before the Research Lesson, which has been designed as a reteach. Pretest and Posttest results are compared by teachers to assess the effectiveness of the reteach.
- Pre-assessments should be designed and results should be analyzed as intentionally as the formative assessment.
- Teachers may need additional guidance to decide if a pre-assessment is appropriate, what format to select, and when to administer it.
Map Out the Unit
In order to ensure the Research Lesson fits well within the scope and sequence of the unit, teachers will write a unit timeline and identify where the target lesson falls. The unit timeline needs to be research-based and sequenced in a logical order that supports a high level of student comprehension.
The team will do the following when crafting the unit timeline:
- Use research to inform the unit design
- Include information on students’ understandings and/or misconceptions for the stated objectives
- Determine the placement of the Research Lesson within the scope and sequence of the unit
Facilitators will guide teachers as they sequence and plan the portion of the curriculum surrounding the concept and SE(s) they have chosen. Facilitators should remind teachers to align the unit timeline to the goals of the Research Lesson. The timeline may just be a portion of the unit, covering the selected concept and SE(s).
- If the campus or district does not have a scope and sequence, the team may need extended time when writing this timeline.
- The Learning objectives for each lesson within the Unit timeline should address the Current Unit TEKS identified in Phase 1.
Design the Research Lesson
One objective for TXLS teams is to create an effective lesson that achieves the group’s goals. The team may begin with an existing lesson or create a new lesson. As the team designs the lesson, keep in mind the following considerations:
- Connect the research to lesson design
- Advise teachers to select instructional strategies from reputable sources with evidence of positive student outcomes
- Focus on anticipated student responses and misconceptions
- Include activities that provide opportunities for observers to collect data (e.g., small group discussions)
- Use the board plan to showcase what students will see from the beginning to the end of the lesson (e.g., lesson objective, anticipated student responses if sharing whole group)
Facilitators will guide teacher discussion throughout the Research Lesson design using the prompts given in the Lesson Proposal template. The Implementation Fidelity Tool also provides additional detail on what to include in each section of the Lesson Proposal.
- The facilitator may need to remind the group to revisit the research findings when crafting the Research Lesson.
- Some sections of the Research Lesson may be repeated more th.an once depending on lesson design (e.g. Posing the Task, Anticipated Student Responses, and Comparing and Discussing).