Lesson Study Goals
We will provide students access to student-led discussions through multiple modalities of learning using the UDL Framework and social justice teaching to allow students to engage in higher order thinking skills.
Content Understanding Goal:
Students will be able to use discussion and active listening skills to participate in a student-led discussion to make connections through a socially-challenging point in California’s history.
Throughout our lesson study planning phase, we did research on: peer-led discussions, innovative learning spaces, universal design for learning (UDL), and social justice teaching . As a lesson study group, we unpacked each reading and used the main ideas to inform the planning of our lesson. Two of those main ideas include:
PDSA Cycle 1
Overall, our research lesson went well. Students were engaged in conversation with one another and embraced each other's curiosities. All 25 students participated in the peer-led discussion through the different modalities of learning (listening, speaking, and writing). Thoughtful and reflective questions were being brought up around race, identity, and the timeline in which the image took place.
(Above): Images from the Research Lesson at the beginning, middle, and end of the entire activity.
Observations & Student Examples
(To the right): You will find the data collection sheets of the 3 focal students in my classroom (host). It is noted that 1 out of the 3 focal students shared during the whole-group discussion.
Focal Student Information
Focal Student #1: I chose this student because they are a social and happy child outside of the classroom with their peers. In the classroom, this student struggles with sharing ideas and staying on task. I hoped to build their confidence to share and deepen their higher order thinking skills.
Focal Student #2: I chose this student because they are on the quieter side in the classroom and require accommodations per their Individualized Education Plan (IEP). They rarely share in whole-group discussions and I hoped that with these series of lessons, they would feel confident to raise their hand.
Focal Student #3: This student was chosen because they are very quiet when they share their ideas with the whole-class. They prefer activities that are independent and related to math. I hoped to see their voice be heard because they have great ideas to bring to the conversation.
(To the left): You will see some of the responses on the Exit Ticket that was given at the end of the Research Lesson for students to provide their feedback and thoughts for next steps. Questions included multiple choice and short answer responses. Here are the questions:
- Did you share today?
- How did it feel to share?
- Why did you feel this way? If you didn't share, why not?
- What was something that you heard a classmate share that stood out to you?
- What would you change to make the student-led discussion better?
- Which norms were we successful at?
- Which norms could we practice more?
(Above): The conversation web from our Research Lesson of how the discussion went. It includes the connection lines between students who shared and the next person they passed the conversation. It also has the three individuals who held the job titles of facilitator, time-keeper, and counter during the discussion.
Completing this final lesson study cycle was a valuable experience that provided me with many takeaways that I hope will continue to serve as a foundational aspect of my practice as a teacher. Before this cycle, I did not realize how impactful peer-led discussions can be in an elementary classroom. I knew that creating spaces where students were able to talk amongst themselves was important; however, taking a step back as the main facilitator has taught me so much about how capable young children are and their ability to hold each other accountable in conversation. My students were able to have thoughtful conversations related to the history they are learning in the current project about California History.
Through this lesson study cycle, I started thinking about my teaching practice and what I can do better as an educator moving forward from this particular cycle. I thought about the impact these peer-led discussions had on my students and what it might have been like had I implemented peer-led discussions from the beginning of the school year. For example, I hope that in my coming years as an educator, I can create spaces where students are engaged in conversation with one another from the start of our school year together. I hope that in doing so, students will be able to have deep, meaningful, and authentic conversations with each other. The last thing I realized that I don't have to be the person standing in front asking the questions, but the students can be doing and facilitating all of it. They are more than capable of holding that responsibility of learning. Young children especially have such a beautiful, natural curiosity about them that providing them with space to engage in conversation can help organically strengthen the classroom community and broaden their access to learning.