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Randall E. Groth

Teachers of grades Pre-K-8 are charged with the responsibility of developing children's statistical thinking. Hence, strategies are needed to foster statistical knowledge for teaching (SKT). This report describes how writing prompts were used as an integral part of a semester-long undergraduate course focused on building SKT. Writing prompts were designed to help assess and develop the subject matter knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge of prospective teachers. The methods used to design the prompts are described. Responses to a sample prompt are provided to illustrate how the writing prompts served as tools for formative assessment. Pretests and posttests indicated that prospective teachers developed both SKT and knowledge of introductory college-level statistics during the course. It is suggested that teacher educators employ and refine the prompts in their own courses, as the method used for writing and assessing the prompts is applicable to a broad range of statistics and mathematics courses for teachers.

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Randall E. Groth

The lesson study model of professional development that originated in Japan is becoming increasingly popular in the United States (Lesson Study Research Group 2009; Stigler and Hiebert 1999). At its core, lesson study is a means of bringing teachers together to carry out the process of planning a lesson, implementing and observing it, and then examining it during a debriefing session (Yoshida 2008). The debriefing component is one of the most distinctive characteristics of this type of professional development. It provides a means–discussion–for reflecting on the strengths and weaknesses of the collaboratively planned lesson. As such, the debriefing component merits special attention from those currently engaged in lesson study as well as those considering using it.