I taught a lesson on the SmartBoard a few weeks ago on creating large arrays out of 2-digit by 2-digit multiplication problems. The lesson was an accessible algorithm from the Houghton-Mifflen math series that we are piloting in my grade level. We are also teaching multiplication in the traditional way, but this was an opportunity for me to approach the same old lesson in a new way.
I was very skeptical about this lesson. It began with direct instruction with the whole group. The next day, I worked with individual students on creating arrays with 2-digit by 1-digit problems (the 2x2 problems were a little too much at the outset). I was blown away by how quickly some of my struggling students "got it". I grabbed the digital camera and started recording. Later, I had another struggling student demonstrate the process for the class on the SmartBoard. This was also an attempt to model "math talk" where students talk through the problem, and then their peers ask them clarifying questions. This is very much a work in progress. The old ways are very hard to change for both students and their teacher.
I am very pleased with how the lesson went. I think it served as an alternative method for reaching students who otherwise may not have been able to access the skill. It was also a way for students who already knew the "traditional" method to extend their knowledge by representing the problem in a different way.
I posted the video and the SIOP lesson plan on the Global Learner Wiki.