Grade 4

Lesson Study & Visualization

Lesson Study on Visualization with Mathodology

Follow our Journey. Lesson Study with a Focus on Visualization.

Jugyou kenkyuu, a Japanese phrase gives us the term “Lesson Study”. Introduced in the U. S. in the late 1990s, interest in Japanese lesson study remains strong in the education world throughout the United States. Our Lesson Study this year will focus on visualization and metacognition.

Lesson Study & Mathematics

Lesson study works well across education and in particular, in improving mathematics education. We will wrap up professional summer reading on visualization in September with a look into the routines we create in classrooms that promote visualization. During “Introduction to Lesson Study” in October, we will explore what lesson study is, how it works, how to use it, and best practices with a focus on creating metacognition in students.

Pre-Lesson Study Questions

We engaged our focus group from St. Edward School in Vero Beach by asking the following questions:

What attracted you to this Lesson Study?

Overall the participants felt this lesson study would improve their ability to use visualization strategies in their own classrooms. They felt the experience would allow them to “dig deeper” into learning the best way to improve their teaching skills to build visualization.

What do you hope to learn from this Lesson Study

Participants generally responded similarly, wanting a deeper understanding of the science behind visualization, learning how to integrate visualization into their daily teaching, and using visualization to help students see concepts in a different way.

What is visualization to you?

It is creating a picture in your mind, being able to ‘see’ what you are hearing or reading to help you better understand the lesson, and it brings life to situations, assisting a student in understanding the concepts being taught.

What do you feel you already know about visualization? (before reading)

The response to this question was consistent with all participants. All felt that visualization was a way of seeing something in your mind to better or fully understand it and using it in math as well would bring life to situations and assist students in better understanding the concepts being taught.

Ideas on how to get kids to visualize math?

  • Using various concrete and pictorial models
  • Incorporating color in our board witing to connect ideas
  • Relating ideas especially in the operations
  • Have children create a short movie in their minds with each math concept so they can ‘see’ the process and verbalize it before computing

What questions do you have before we start the lesson study?

  • Can all students visualize?
  • How are other teachers using visualization?
  • Does the brain have any physical limitations with visualizing?
  • How do we teach visualization to students so they use it seamlessly when seeing a math problem?
  • What forces the brain to want/have to visualize?

We will be holding a private Lesson Study at St. Edward’s School, Vero Beach, FL in September.

Follow us through this Lesson Study.

We’ll be at Oak Hill High School in Nashville, TN, October 2, 2019 – October 4, 2019. Seats still open!

Click here to register for this event and for details on this Lesson Study.

View Comments

Do students need to draw the bars when solving word problems?

Dear Sarah,

I am currently in the unit of Parts to Whole, teaching bar modeling.  Looking ahead, it seems to me that bar modeling is a big part of not only this unit but upcoming units as well.

My wondering and question: I have students who are looking at the problems and can figure them out by stacking numbers then using the renaming strategy which was what they learned in lessons before bar modeling.  Should I be encouraging all of my students to draw the bar model before stacking the numbers to solve the problem? How critical is it for them to bar model? Please know that I am not saying that I don’t want to teach it at all, but I don’t know how much I should be “pushing” those that either don’t understand it or those that feel like they can work the problems using other strategies.

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Why do Students Struggle When Learning Math Facts?

Learning Math Facts

Math facts are simply the basics: addition, subtraction; multiplication; division. They are basic number combinations and calculations we do every day.  So why is it that learning math facts  creates such huge problems for teachers and students in our classrooms?

Subtraction mistake when learning math facts

Common subtraction mistake when children are learning math facts.

Is it that some of us are just naturally better at math than others?  Perhaps.  The good news is you as a teacher can help anyone improve their math skills.  You might be wondering how.  Well, rote memorization alone won’t get us there.

Continue reading

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Math Facts

Hi Sarah,
Your name came up during today’s fourth grade math planning meeting, as all three of the teachers attended the Mathodology conference,  this past summer.  We were discussing math apps to practice the multiplication table, and they said you recommended Reflex, which I’m not familiar with.  Would you be able to help answer questions for an individual use?

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