# Lesson Study: A Japanese Approach to Improving Mathematics Teaching and Learning

By Clea Fernandez; Makoto Yoshida | Go to book overview

6
Refining the Lesson Plan

Two lower grade meetings were held to discuss the lesson plan prepared by Ms. Nishi and Ms. Tsukuda. The first of these meetings took place on Monday November 1 from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. and the second on Friday November 5 from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. There was also an all staff meeting on November 4 during which Ms. Tsukuda took 30 minutes to walk all the teachers at the school through the proposed lesson plan. Although at this meeting there was no time for extended discussions about the lower grade lesson, everyone thought that what Ms. Tsukuda presented was a good start and they encouraged the lower group to continue developing their ideas.

Both the November 1 and November 5 meetings were held in Ms. Tsukuda's classroom and were attended in full by all the members of the lower grade group. Ms. Tsukuda led the meetings and Ms. Nishi was assigned to take notes. In preparation for the first of these meetings, all the group members carefully read the lesson plan, which they brought with them to both meetings and often referred to as they discussed various aspects of the lesson (see Fig. 6.1).

During the course of these meetings Ms. Tsukuda and Ms. Nishi provided details about the design of their lesson. They talked about the rationale behind certain decisions they had made and they also highlighted aspects of the lesson that had given them difficulty. Their initial work and their commentaries stimulated a rich discussion, which we summarize below according to the main threads of conversation that came up, rather than by taking the reader through the two meetings in chronological order.

WHAT PROBLEMS SHOULD STUDENTS WORK ON?

The teachers spent a good deal of time discussing the problems to be presented during the lesson. Ms. Tsukuda first provided the group with the rationale behind selecting 12–7 gingko leaves as the main problem for the lesson. She explained that she and Ms. Nishi wanted students to use a real-world situation to think about various ways for solving subtraction

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