I just finished a Design Your Own Learning Plan with my students at school. I try different ways of bringing homeschooling or differentiated learning into the classroom. This was a new invention for me. My colleague and I gave the students 5 or 6 culminating tasks that they could choose from in each of our subjects (oral communication, reading, writing, measurement and numeration) and they could decide when they would work on them. The assignments we offered usually included all learning styles. Students also had the opportunity to come up with their own assignment/project as long as it demonstrated the required expectations (eg/ surface area and volume of a cylinder). They had 2 weeks to complete their goals. The students loved the freedom and choice and it gave us, the teachers, time to work one-on-one with individuals and let those students who soar independently, do so.
Now we're moving on to Literature Circles. I was told by many colleagues to avoid them but I'm trying them out anyway. We've selected 5 books and the students have to choose one. Each week they have required reading and a role to play in the group (director, vocabulary, summarizer, illustrator, travelling, etc...). Often the problem with Literature Circles is that if a student doesn't keep up, it lets the group down. I have a great group of students this year so I think we can pull this off and they all chose their books wisely. I however may not keep up! I have to read all 5 books and the only one I have any experience with is A Wrinkle in Time and I don't remember it well at all. I'm looking forward to a lot of great discussion and debate.