Do the Task and Anticipate Student Responses
Consider the central task of the lesson. Does it seem well-designed to support the goals of the lesson, unit, and research theme? Will all your students be able to find an entry point, and progress toward the lesson goals? Or do you need to modify the task in some way? Once your team has tentatively arrived at a lesson task, have each member of the team:
- Independently do the task, as if they were a student
- Imagine several students in their class, and anticipate how each one of them would respond to the task
Then share and discuss your responses to the task, using your own and colleagues’ experiences to expand your thinking about how students might respond.
The Value of Anticipating Student Thinking
Anticipating student thinking is a core teaching skill that allows teachers to notice student thinking and build bridges from it to new understandings. Anticipating student thinking and comparing your expectations with the actual student thinking during the lesson will help your team develop this core skill, which is so helpful in the “swiftly flowing river” of daily classroom life.
However, as teacher Heather Crawford notes, anticipating student thinking may initially be hard.
It is challenging – to try and think about the students’ solutions to the problem before they do it, and to try and get all of the answers they might come up with.… Before we did Lesson Study, we really didn’t think about what the student responses would be to the questions…. It was, ‘Well, we hope they get the right answer and if they don’t then we will deal with it.’ Now we are really thinking about, ‘Well, what if this answer were to come up? How would we deal with it?’ We think a lot more about the motivation for the lesson and making sure that the kids have the prior knowledge that they need before we teach each lesson.
Capture your ideas about anticipated student responses in your team notes. These will be used to design the flow of instruction, so that it builds from anticipated student responses.