Before diving into moving to the Plan phase, take a moment to take stock of your work in the Study Phase.

5-20 minutes

  • Make sure you have studied the topic (standards, curriculum, research) before diving into planning the unit and lesson
  • Examine the Teaching-Learning Plan and update it to reflect what you have learned
  • Take care of research lesson logistics that need advance planning
Two teachers discussing a paper that one of them is holding


Are You Ready to Plan?

Before moving to the Plan phase, it’s important to take stock of your work in the Study Phase.

Assess Your Work So Far

As shown in the graphic below, your team’s work to date–articulating your long-term goals and studying the topic–provides the foundation for the Plan phase. In the graphic below, you are now transitioning from the Study phase (blue) to the Plan phase (green).

A pyramid diagram divided into four horizontal sections
Make sure learnings from the Study phase are captured in your Teaching-Learning Plan or team notes, so you can carry them forward into the unit and lesson you plan. If needed, take some time to summarize and consolidate your team’s thinking from the Study phase, and identify gaps in your knowledge that you want to continue to work on.


Examine the Teaching-Learning Plan

The Teaching-Learning Plan was introduced in the Study phase. Now it’s time to take a deeper look at this important document.

Overview and Guiding Questions

Your team may already be using the Teaching-Learning Plan to summarize some of your thinking. If you are not familiar with it, now is the time to take a careful look at the Teaching-Learning Plan, which is designed to:

  1. Capture your team’s study of the topic, so readers can easily see what you learned.
  2. Explain and justify the unit and lesson design, including how they relate to your long-term goals.
  3. Guide lesson observers to collect data on key elements of the goals
In daily practice, teachers make many quick, solo judgments about what works for their students. Collaborating as a team to write a teaching-learning plan provides a rare opportunity to make the thinking behind teaching visible and available for discussion.
If your team is not familiar with the Teaching-Learning Plan Template, take 5-10 minutes to examine it, and note anything you find interesting or puzzling. The filled-in example of a Teaching-Learning Plan may shed light on some of the features you find puzzling. Spend another 5-10 minutes to discuss as a team;
  • What features of this Teaching-Learning Plan are unfamiliar to us, and what is their purpose?
  • What features might help other educators–who observe the lesson or who read the plan– learn from our team’s work?

After your review, write up components that your team has already discussed; for example, the Research Theme (with your Theory of Action) (#2) and the Background and Research on the Content (#3).


Teaching-Learning Plan Template
Teaching-Learning Plan Template
Example of Completed Teaching-Learning Plan


Lesson Logistics

Before you delve into planning of the unit and research lesson, it’s a good idea to address any outstanding logistics from the list below.

Decide the Research Lesson Date and Instructor

If you do not yet know which team member will teach the research lesson, you may want to decide soon (or agree when you will decide). Among experienced lesson study practitioners, teachers often commit to teaching a research lesson every year or two, as a way of building their professional learning, so you may already have an identified instructor. Sometimes the research lesson teacher naturally emerges during the Cycle, as one member of the team develops a strong vision for the lesson and interest in seeing the lesson with their own students. If more than one teacher is interested in teaching the research lesson, you can schedule it to be taught twice, preferably with at least a day in between teachings. If the lesson will be taught more than once, we recommend that you conduct the observation and post-lesson discussion on just one of the lessons, so that the focus is on learning deeply from the team’s lesson design–not on comparing two classrooms.

Other Logistics for the Research Lesson

Once you have set the instructor and date, you can:

  • Arrange substitutes for the team members
  • Collect parent and student consent forms for the research lesson class (if you plan to take video or collect student work)
  • Invite a specialist to provide commentary at the end of the post-lesson discussion (see Reflect Step 3
  • Choose a moderator for the post-lesson discussion (see Reflect Step 2)
  • Invite other educators to observe the research lesson, if desired.
More information about these logistics for the day of the research lesson is included in Plan Step 7