The first, and highly successful lesson study cycle at Grissom Elementary (Houston Independent School District) inspired its kindergarten through 3rd grade teachers to collaborate within their grade level teams, and across languages of instruction.
The process of planning an Intentional Read Aloud (IRA) lesson together, and watching a colleague teach that lesson, allowed the teachers to develop effective practices they could each use in their own classrooms. One of the most exciting aspects of this collaboration happened during the final grade level meeting of the Lesson Study Cycle. During the meeting each grade level team reflected on their lesson study process. The teachers found that participating in the entire Lesson Study Cycle improved their instruction and provided an opportunity to develop a collective focus on instruction. Evach teacher felt successful with the Intentional Read Aloud they taught in their classroom. The energy in the room during the debrief was electrifying! In addition, Grissom Elementary’s principal Jane Ocañas attended each grade level’s debrief meeting, sending a clear message to her teachers about the value of lesson study, and their work with CLI.
Sensing the excitement, CLI coach Cathy French seized the opportunity and challenged each grade level to collaborate on another IRA book. The first grade team was so excited, they chose another book right on the spot! They selected The Gingerbread Man to tie into the Christmas holidays. Their principal immediately offered to buy each teacher the book in English or Spanish and ordered the books on her phone at that very moment. Cathy then brainstormed lesson ideas with the teachers about the book, with each teacher shouting out ideas that they could implement as a team. The teachers felt empowered. Cathy suggested they give each child a gingerbread cookie at the end of the lesson, which the principal also offered to purchase for them. It was a definite WIN, WIN, WIN for the teachers, principal, and CLI coach!