November School Spotlight

Saint Edward’s School in Vero

Vero Beach, Florida

Saint Edward’s School in Vero Beach made a school-wide decision to implement lesson study as a form of professional development for the 2019-2020 school year. The desire to go deeper within the mathematics classroom made lesson study the perfect fit. Teachers met throughout the summer looking at areas within their practice to research and test ideas. Visualization was chosen as the focus of the study. This theme can have applications well beyond mathematics and teachers from other disciplines joined in collaborative discussions and observations. Teachers spent time reading the research and collecting initial suggestions on routines that could be implemented at the start of the school year in working towards building students that can “visualize” the mathematics.

Once the year started, teachers implemented these initial ideas and met back to select and plan a research lesson using insights from their own classrooms. Many teachers commented that planning the lessons was one of the most valuable aspects of the study. Margy a teacher at St. Ed’s stated, “Having the time to layout the chapter, look at what came before, and what would be required after, gave new meaning to the term lesson planning.” Teachers agreed that tackling difficult concepts as a collaborative group in this manner was a practice they would like to continue as a school.

The research lesson was presented in late September by two different teachers in different Grade 3 classrooms. Teachers met with Dr. Yeap Ban Har and Sarah Schaefer, leaders in the field, throughout the entire process to provide guidance and recommendations. The goal was to use the research lesson as a way to develop tools to build visualization in students across all curriculums. Teachers collected data, reflected as a group, altered the next lesson, and then implemented the changes and observed. One tool teachers developed through the study was the use of questions. Asking questions is important, but the type of questions needs to be more intentional. It is important to use “macro-questions” versus “micro” ones was a key finding.

Teachers at St. Ed’s felt fortunate to have the support of the school administration, Sarah and Dr. Yeap, and look forward to adding more faculty in expanding the program.

St. Ed’s congrats on being in the spotlight! Thank you for opening up your school and allowing others to learn from you. The administration, students, and teachers at St. Ed’s have lots to be proud of!