Tag Archives: classroom

Guided Discovery Lesson Plan: Freeze Signal

The Freeze Signal is used to communicate to students that they should suddenly stop what they are doing and pay attention to the teacher.  I consider it an important safety measure.  Personally, I use a singing bowl, but I have seen teachers use bells, wind chimes, and miniature xylophones.  Use what works for you.


What is a Guided Discovery?
It is a student-centered approach to introducing materials and routines in the classroom, developed by the folks at Responsive Classroom. According to Lynn Bechtel and Paula Denton,

The primary goal of Guided Discovery is to generate interest and excitement about classroom resources and help children explore their possible uses. Guided Discovery also provides opportunities to introduce vocabulary, assess children’s prior knowledge, and teach responsible use and care of materials.

I would add that Guided Discoveries also build community.  Students are asked to listen to each other, compliment one another, and really see and hear the work and ideas of their peers.  Using this strategy I have built compassionate, organized, and respectful classrooms.

Arrays, Multiplication and Factors

The Magical Minds have a pretty good understanding of what multiplication is.  They know it has to do with groups of the same number.  It is adding the same number over and over again.  It is skip counting.

A 3x4 array of picture books

Building arrays is another way we explore multiplication.  An array is a set of objects placed in rows and columns. Because we know the brain remembers connections, this is one more way we help our brain learn and remember multiplication facts.  This manipulation of objects helps the visual, kinesthetic and naturalistic learners understand multiplication on a deeper and more meaningful level.

How Many Different Arrays Will Make 36?

Arrays also help us understand factors and division.  Our class hasn’t gotten to the division discussion, but we are digging deep into the idea of factoring.  Last week I used a lesson form NCTM‘s site, Illuminations where the third graders created factor posters.  They first built and drew the arrays, and then used a “factor rainbow” to figure out all the numbers we can skip count to get to our product.

An Array Built From a Variety of Classroom Objects

This study of arrays will also come in handy when we begin our measurement unit.  Arrays are simply width and length.

The Different Arrays You Can Build to Make 12

What kinds of arrays do you see in your life?

Do you see arrays in your home, at the store, on the road?