Recently, I had the opportunity to co-develop and teach a Lesson Study with two other teachers. We targeted two different Grade 8 LA classes with a lesson based on: “What makes a good quality how-to video”. The teachers and I established goals for the students: to identify the elements of a good how-to video and then formulate the criteria for creating one. We brainstormed ideas, found a variety of “How-To” videos, and created a lesson which I taught allowing the classroom teachers a chance to observe their students.
Without being told that the how-to video they were about to watch was a poor quality product, the students were asked to use their critical thinking and determine the criteria for what was good and what was bad about the video. A T-chart was written up on the board allowing the students a chance to share their ideas and have a discussion explaining their thought processes. Then the class watched a second how-to video that was a very good one. They once again developed criteria sharing their opinions on the quality of the video. With guidance, the students began to develop the criteria for a rubric. From a teaching perspective, the lesson seemed to go fairly well, but the students were not as engaged as we had hoped.
At break, the classroom teacher and I debriefed on how the lesson had gone. We recognized that part of the lesson needed to be changed in order for the students to remain more engaged and to get a clear understanding of how they were identifying, developing and eventually using criteria for a good quality “How-to” video. We tweaked the lesson.
The next day the same class did a cooperative learning activity called Placemat where they took the criteria that they had identified for the rubric, watched another how-to video and individually recorded their comments on their portion of the placemat. They discussed their ideas with their group members, came to a consensus and then graded the video. Each group presented their criteria and reflected upon why they felt that way. Having me teach the lesson allowed the classroom teacher to observe her class and identify when her barometer student (a term coined by the Two Sisters from Daily 5) began to lose interest. She was able to see that the lesson was not as engaging as was necessary and recognized that we would have to shorten and change certain aspects in order for more on task time for her students. We reflected upon the lesson and, once again, tweaked parts of it to make it better for the students who I would be teaching later that afternoon. I checked in with the teacher of the afternoon class to show her where we had made changes and asked for her input with relation to her class. She agreed that the changes would suit her students.
That afternoon I went into the second Grade 8 class and followed the revised lesson. The afternoon class had a barometer student who appeared to be kept more engaged because of the changes. The students were given the same opportunities for self-reflection and development of criteria for a good quality “How-To” video as well as group reflections and discussions. At the end of the day, the teacher and I were able to sit down and have a discussion on the successes of the lesson and any possible changes that would have to take place for future instruction.
The Lesson Study was a great opportunity to collaborate with other teachers, interact with students, and to self-reflect.
I look forward to seeing what the students will produce as they begin their own how-to videos based on the criteria that they developed with their teachers and their peers!