For a few weeks now I've been engaging my intermediate students in learning through Math centers. The idea is that they work independently (either alone or in a small group) at various guided learning stations while I do some precision teaching with individuals and small groups of students, based on diagnostic and observational data (currently geometry).
Although some students took quickly to the model and are relishing the independence (and using it wisely; a small group today presented a self-designed power point on Pythagorean theorem to the rest of the class), others have needed a little more convincing.
One gal in particular has been desperate for spoon-feeding. "Please, can you just teach us?" she pleaded one day in a winy voice, as I checked in on her while she wandered listlessly from one station to the next, seemingly unable to get started on any meaningful task. My mini-lecture about needing to become independent learners capable of choosing wisely from the learning buffet of life did not convince her.
But today, today I think my little friend embarked down the road of self-inspiration: Asked at one center to identify and construct the five platonic solids, she and a peer set out half-heartedly to build an octahedron out of the plastic polydrons provided.
The "net" just didn't click for her at first, and she came over to me and ask if I would build it for her. When I declined, she nearly gave up, but with a little encouragement she suddenly saw the task for the achievable challenge that it was.
"Okay, let's DO this!" she decidedly announced to her partner.
Not long after that, they arrived to show me their completed octahedron, and insisted that they be allowed to put it back in the center as is for all to see and admire, rather than tear it apart when it was time to tidy up. :D
I am looking forward to observing and fostering my new convert's progress as she continues to discover the joy of meaningful, self-directed learning.