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Gather & Organize

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Things to Consider Before Launching a Research Lesson Study Team!

Before engaging in a research lesson study cycle, use this checklist to determine if the conditions are in place for success. Don’t worry! If the conditions are not in place, you can build capacity by engaging colleagues in the core practices: anticipating student thinking, looking at student work, and observing lessons together.


Assemble the Willing!

You do not have to answer ‘yes’ to all of the questions below, however, the group will get the most out of the inquiry cycle if they are willing to engage in the following:

  • Do you have a group of 3 or more educators interested in conducting a lesson study cycle in your organization?
  • Is your group comfortable sharing their students’ work with each other?

  • Have you observed each other teaching, or are you willing to observe each other teaching?

  • Is the group willing to commit to the time required to complete a research cycle (8-10 hours to research and plan)?

Set Up Norms of Engagement

  • Do you have pre-existing norms for collaboration at your site?

Choose Meeting Place & Time

  • Is there a regular time when everyone in your group is available to meet for an hour for 8-10 meetings? 

  • Where is an appropriate place for the group to meet (free from distractions etc..)? 


Administrator Support

  • Have you spoken to your administrator about conducting a lesson study research cycle?

  • What level of support is your administrator willing to provide? (A handy overview of three levels from San Francisco Unified School District can be found here)


This resource provides detailed agendas for 8 weekly one hour meetings that culminate in a research lesson study and debrief event. Teams can complete 2-3 research lessons over the course of an academic year.

What is Lesson Study?
  • Components of a research lesson
  • Agendas for lesson study teams
Gather & Organize
  • Assemble the willing!
  • Set norms 
  • Choose meeting times
  • Administrator support
Gather & Organize
Research & Clarify
  • Hopes and Dreams for Students
  • Identify strengths & funds of knowledge
  • Determine a research question and theory of action
  • Determine a content and an equity goal
Research & Clarify
Anticipate & Plan
  • Plan the research lesson
  • Anticipate student thinking
  • Conduct a mock lesson!
Anticipate & Plan
Observe & Collect Data
  • Closely observe a focal student and collect data on their thinking
Observe & Collect Data
Debrief & Look at Student Work
  • What did focus students say or do? 
  • How well did the lesson achieve the content & the equity goals?
Reflect & Share

To view videos from research lessons including an overview of the research team inquiry process, visit our memorialization blog posts from some of our public research lessons:


We are grateful to JFF, KnowledgeWorks, and the Student-Centered Learning Research Collaborative and its funders for their support. Learn more at

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