My students had a hands-on project they were working on for social studies. This project had many steps, which we had been working on, little bits at a time, for weeks. As students became ready to put it all together I knew, from experience, that they would arrive at vastly different times.
I had finally figured out that I was not going to be the one to try and show each student how to do the 'final assembly'. Instead I showed the first two students who were ready. Subsequent students who wanted to assemble had to ask an 'expert'. It was fantastic to sit back and allow them to rely on one another. I did period spot checks, but mostly I observed the dynamics of people working together. My absolute favorite part was one afternoon when as student was finally ready to put it all together. He declared to the class, "I need an expert." To which three students replied, "I am an expert!"
"Why did it take me so long to figure this out?" I wondered to myself, with an enormous grin on my face.