But one day, a few weeks ago I just plain ran out of time. The guided instruction I provided and the extensive collaboration students were engaged in afterwards ate up the clock. Don't get me wrong, the students needed that collaboration, but there was not sufficient time to send them to do any productive independent work as part of the GRR. We used the remaining time in class, 10-15 minutes, to do Math Masters -- an engaging way to practice old skills. I decided to push the independent practice until the next day.
So at the beginning of class the next day and after a short two-problem review, the students worked through the independent practice problems instead of a warm-up I routinely give them to start the math period. Glory, hallelujah! It was great to see them work largely independently and unhurried unlike other days where their independent practice may have been cut short by the end of class. It seemed also that the math taught only a day earlier had 'marinated' nicely overnight through their cranium and well into their gray matter.
So this is serendipity. Although I should have seen separating independent practice from guided/collaborative instruction by a day as a good option, I did not. It took serendipity to give it clarity.