Lesson Study at an Elementary School

Following is a description of the Lesson Study process and examples of how it was implemented by three grade-level teams. These examples could be useful as a guide through a Lesson Study cycle at your cite, following the steps outlined below.

Included are samples of the agendas each grade-level team followed through the Lesson Study process, links to the resources teachers used, artifacts and photos from their collaboration, and samples of student work from the Research Lessons.

Lesson study is a professional development practice where teachers:

Stage 1

  • Identify long-range and short-term goals for their students
  • Analyze data (through classroom observations of student learning, student interviews or review of student work) developing a picture of students’ current strengths and areas needed for growth

Stage 2

  • Based on the gap between goals and student performance, select an area to focus on for a cycle of research and inquiry
  • Read and discuss professional literature on the identified topic of inquiry, or consult with local experts, to broaden the knowledge of the group
  • Review relevant curriculum

Stage 3

  • Develop a Unit Plan – a sequence of lessons that will help students achieve the goals identified – adapting curriculum to reflect the needs of current students based on the data analysis.

Stage 4

  • Select a lesson from the unit plan as a lesson of focus for a research lesson. Collectively observe the research lesson and collect data on student understanding and learning; debrief the lesson – sharing the data collected and drawing conclusions and designing next steps

In most instances in the lesson study cycle, conducting a Unit Plan happens before the planning of a research lesson. The research lesson is chosen from the Unit Plan as a critical learning point for inquiry. However, because each grade-level team at Garfield conducted their work over two sequential days, the model was adapted to accommodate their time restraint. Teachers conducted a research lesson at their current moment in the curriculum and then planned the following unit based on student outcomes.


You can find more information on Lesson Study at lessonresearch.net. This is a website maintained by researchers at Mills College. It has video examples, articles, research findings and links to further resources. This work was based on the materials from the book Lesson Study Step by Step: How Teacher Learning Communities Improve Instruction by Catherine C. Lewis and Jacqueline Hurd. The book includes video examples as well as sample research lessons.