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Using a Before-During-After Model to Plan Effective Secondary Mathematics Lessons

Using a Journal Article as a Professional Development Experience


Title:           Using a Before-During-After Model to Plan Effective Secondary Mathematics Lessons
Author:       June Murphy Wilburne and Winnie Peterson
Journal:      Mathematics Teacher
Issue:         October 2007, Volume 101, Issue 3, pp. 209 – 213

Rationale for Use
This article provides mathematics teachers a structure in which to develop lessons to motivate and engage students. The lesson is trisected into before, to “hook” students into the lesson, during, to engage students in exploration and discovery, and after, to focus on reflection and sense-making. The article offers a format for lesson design as well as guiding questions to assist teachers in the development of effective lessons.

This professional development offers teachers the opportunity to:

  • Design lessons using a common model geared to engage students
  • Link segments of lessons together into a cohesive whole
  • Reflect on the success of individual lessons

This professional development activity will take at least two sessions to complete.

Procedures/Discussion Questions 

Session One 

Goal: Participants compare their process of developing lessons to a model offered by the article.

  1. Open the session with a discussion on how teachers prepare lessons for their classes. If there is a common lesson structure mandated/requested by the district, have the participants evaluate it’s effectiveness and the process they use to develop lessons to meet the model. If there is no required/requested format, have the participants discuss the structure they use in developing lessons. Where do you begin? How do you determine the goals of a lesson? How do you know if students meet those goals?
  2. Next, delve into the participant’s current view of lesson design:
    • As teachers, what do you feel are the most important aspects of your lesson design?
    • How do you involve students in the learning process?
    • How do you know whether students have learned the presented lesson?
    • What did the students remember of the lesson the next day?
  3. Have the participants read the article completely. As they read, have the participants highlight at least three items that were one of the following:
    • ideas they had not thought of before,
    •  ‘aha’ moments for them,
    • something they viewed as an exemplary practice, or
    • made them think of a question to ask.
  4. Review/discuss various aspects of the article. Have the participants work in small table groups (perhaps four per table) to share their highlights from the article. Once participants have had time to share, bring the group together for a whole group discussion. Have each table group share the two or three meaningful/unique highlights from the article and why they chose them.

    Some facilitator questions for consideration in the discussion:
    • Introduction
      • Why is student motivation/engagement important?
      • What does the article suggest doing in the first fifteen minutes of class? How does this compare to what you do?
    • Before
      • What should you do to “hook” students into a lesson?
      • Why is it important to assess student knowledge at the start of a lesson? How far back should that knowledge be assessed?
    • During
      • What level of activity do your students expect during your lessons?
      • How do you “build understanding” in students?
    • After
      • Why is it important for students to reflect on the activity?
      • Why is it important for students to make generalizations in lessons?
      • Why should students communicate and summarize their conclusions?
      • Why is embedded assessment an important part of a lesson?
    • Summary
      • Why is it important for all aspects of the lesson to connect together?
      • Why will a variety of activities keep your students better engaged?o How do you find problems/activities rich enough to meet the standard implied by this model?
  5. Discuss how much freedom teachers should have to incorporate their own style into a common structure of lesson design. How can personality or teaching style be part of lesson planning and implementation?
  6. Discuss how lessons can be developed and written with the level of detail expressed in the article. How can this lesson design work to develop lessons over a multi-year period?
  7. Homework:  Have the participants pair up and select a future lesson topic and develop a lesson using the B-D-A format (see page 212 of the article). At least one of the participants should deliver the lesson prior to the next session. If there is a district-required lesson design, see where there are links between the required format and the B-D-A model. Use the guiding questions on page 211 of the article to assist in either designing lessons or in shaping a lesson format that meets both district- and article-based objectives.

Optional Intervening Session:

Have the participants conduct peer planning, observation, and reflection sessions utilizing the B-D-A model of lesson development. It is important for the participants to share in the entire process of developing a lesson, observing the lesson in its implementation, and having an open and honest reflection on what worked and why it worked.

Session Two 

Goal: Participants use their experience in developing and implementing a lesson in the B-D-A model to discuss its effectiveness.

  1. What did you gain from the experience of designing a lesson using the B-D-A model? If it was a lesson you have instructed before, what did you see/do differently based on the B-D-A model?
  2. How did the guiding questions (page 211 of the article) help in designing the lesson in the B-D-A format?
  3. How did working with a partner help in the development and implementation of the lesson? What would you want to do differently next time?
  4. What challenge(s) did you find in integrating the three parts of the lesson? How were you able to overcome the challenge(s)?
  5. How did the role of questioning impact the lesson you delivered?
  6. How can differentiation (providing support to those students that need it while allowing other students to enrich their understanding) be included in the B-D-A model?
  7. How would you embed assessment in each stage of the B-D-A model?

    If optional intervening session completed:
  8. What did you learn from the process of developing, implementing, and reflecting upon the B-D-A model?
  9. What benefits are there from working collaboratively in investigating lesson development?  What are the struggles?

Next Steps/Extensions 

Use the article “M&M’s, Rhinos, Cockroaches, and Cooperative Learning” Laurie H. Rubel, (Mathematics Teacher, September 2006, vol. 100, no. 2, pp. 152 – 156) to discuss the importance of context and cooperative learning in helping students make sense of mathematics.

Connections to Other NCTM Publications 


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