Last Saturday we kicked off an exciting professional development experience that’s being hosted here at the Calgary Science School.
Over the last few years our math team has participated in a type of PD known as lesson study. Basically lesson study is a way to approach PD where teachers slowly examine and improve students’ understanding by designing and working through rich problems together, collecting evidence of student thinking and then designing next steps together. The lesson study approach was most famously discussed in The Teaching Gap, an examination of math teaching practices in different countries.
This lesson study is facilitated by the Galileo Educational Network who have created the framework for the discussions as well as the various math problems we are using.
Our math team is now into their third year of thinking about math this way – and there is great momentum building amongst the team. One of the things that has really impacted our teachers’ experience of lesson study came at the end of last year when we began providing time for teaching partners to get together and actually ‘do’ math, in addition to just thinking of how to teach it.
You can learn more about our journey with lesson study, including some examples of mathematical thinking in a classroom setting here:
With that in mind, the Calgary Regional Consortium has very generously provided the funding for us to host 22 junior high math teachers from various jurisdictions across the city in a similar form of lesson study – being hosted by two of our teachers, Jon Hoyt-Hallet and Erin Couillard.
This last Saturday was the kick off event. The 24 math teacher gathered together to spend the day ‘doing’ math. In groups they worked through two problems and then shared their process with the rest of the group.
Having working through the problems themselves, the teachers will now return to their own math classes and have their students tackle the same problems. The teachers have been asked to document the learning in their own classes and then bring back evidence of student learning.
When they come back to CSS they will see the same problem a third time – this time as an observer in one of our CSS math classes. This process of teachers doing a problem, teaching a problem and observing a problem being tackled by students will be repeated three more times- all directed toward examining students’ mathematical thinking.
The first day was kicked off by a keynote from Paulino Preciado, a post-doc in math currently working with the Galileo Educational Network. You can watch Paulino’s keynote here: