Prepare for the Lesson Observation
Once the Research Lesson is complete, teachers will prepare to teach the lesson to students. To prepare for the lesson observation, several decisions must be made. The following sections contain guidance for making these decisions.
After watching the video, click on each essential question below for in-depth items to consider prior to teaching the research lesson.
Low Inference Data Collection
Observers should collect low-inference data during the lesson observation, so it will be important to ensure that all observers understand that this type of data provides factual evidence free from judgments or interpretations. The facilitator may wish to provide some examples and non-examples of low-inference data for clarification, if needed. Guidance is provided in the Low-Inference Data Collection Information document and the following video. Both the document and video may be reviewed during the pre-observation meeting.
- The first teach of the Research Lesson will be video recorded only to be used in the debrief. The reteach (second teach) of the Research Lesson will need to be high-quality video and audio. This videography work will be coordinated by the facilitator.
- If the final Lesson Proposal is not intended for publication on the Texas Gateway and access to audiovisual equipment is a barrier to Lesson Study participation, work with your group to find best fit alternatives, such as using a mobile recording device, proceeding without microphones, or contacting the district or Education Service Center for assistance.
- The facilitator may elect to invite the Final Commentator or Knowledgeable Other to review and provide feedback on the Research Lesson prior to the first time it is taught.
Besides the decisions about the observation, other arrangements must be made. Prior to the Research Lesson observation day, the facilitator will prepare an agenda for the day’s activities including the pre-observation meeting, the observation, and the debrief. A meeting space will need to be arranged for the events in advance and copies of the agenda, Research Lesson, supplemental materials, seating charts, list of students by groups, observation logs, observation guidelines, and reflection forms will be needed for all observers.
After the pre-observation meeting and just before the lesson observation, the teacher of the lesson should go to the classroom to prepare students for the lesson observation and videotaping. The videographer may set up during this time or during the pre-observation meeting. When the teacher speaks to the students, the teacher should remind students why they are being observed and videotaped, and encourage them to relax, be themselves, and to the best of their ability pretend the observers and cameras are not present. The time before the lesson observation begins is also a good time to double check lesson materials, have students sharpen pencils or make other preparations, and to introduce the videographer and observers. Allow students to ask questions prior to beginning to allay any concerns they may have. And, if a student decides they do not wish to participate after all, be sure to have a plan in place so the student may join another class during the observation lesson.
Teach and Observe the Research Lesson
The teaching and observation of the Research Lesson is the culmination of weeks of work by the Lesson Study team. Because the lesson reflects the team’s research, data analysis, reflection, and hard work, when the lesson is taught the lesson should not be changed. Certainly, there will need to be some room for adjustments as the teacher presenting the lesson interacts with students and monitors and adjusts based on students’ responses. This is simply good instruction. However, the original plan for the lesson should not be altered unless circumstances warrant it. For example, if it becomes obvious to everyone that in spite of the most carefully planned and delivered instruction, students still do not understand a concept and therefore cannot complete the activities in the remainder of the lesson, it may be necessary to approach the concept another way. The Lesson Study team may want to discuss what are considered acceptable reasons to make major changes to the lesson. Then it will be the decision of the teacher presenting the lesson if these types of changes are necessary during the lesson observation.
During the lesson, the observers collect low-inference data, paying particular attention to their assigned observation target(s). It is helpful for observers to have a clipboard, pen or pencil, Observation Log, additional pages for note-taking, a copy of the lesson, and a seating chart. Observers will stand and walk to locations in the classroom necessary for close observation and data collection of the students they have been asked to focus on. If observers are assigned to a cooperative group, it is appropriate for the observer to be seated nearby and to stand as necessary to observe student work. Throughout the lesson, observers should be careful not to get in the way of the teacher or the video camera(s), and not to talk with students or each other. It is permissible for an observer to ask students questions to better understand student thinking however, as this will benefit the Lesson Study team’s debrief discussion that follows the lesson observation.
Lesson Observation Log template (fillable pdf form)
The Research Lesson from which the above video derives was taught by kindergarten teachers at Reagan Elementary School in Leander ISD. Visit the Texas Gateway to read the published Lesson Proposal and watch more complete videos of the Revising Sentences lesson.