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Early Finishers

Compiled By: Mrs. G

We all have students who ask the question " I'm finished! Now what should I do?" Here is a collection of ideas to help out with those early finishers.

Early finishers
Posted by: Mariella

I always carry extra work for "early finishers" -number puzzles, word searches, graph art (where you don't know what the picture will be til you follow the instructions, use the colours listed in their right spots). I do find, though, that sometimes kids are eager to finish just to see what it is that I've brought for extra work and they RUSH through their work and don't do it well. So, before I let them have the work for early finishers, I send them back to their seats to double check their work or to edit (depending on their age, I will tell them to make sure they've used a capital at the start of every sentence and a period at the end and have fingerspaces between words; for older kids, the editing process is more complicated but they still have to do it - clear topic sentence, capitals, punctuation, spelling, etc.) You can also have them act as "tutors", helping the kids who may be struggling a bit. You can get them to sweep the room, clean boards or tables, sort through paperclips or clean paintbrushes (paintbrushes ALWAYS need a good cleaning!) And free silent reading time is always a good reward!

For extra activities...
Posted by: only4Him

There are always students who finish early and then wonder what to do. In the past I have asked them to read for AR or go to our centers to work. But they always choose the same thing. So I am going to try this document this year and see how it goes. If students are up to date with AR points, they may work on this. What do you think Any ideas You may use or alter to fit your needs if you want!

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early finishers
Posted by: Kim

In my classroom early finishers are invited to help themselves to a variety of "Just for Fun" sheets that are located in an accordian style folder next to the bin that finished work goes in. The sheet always contain a skill (ie: dot to dot counting, coloring sheets that require reading color words or directions...)
One of my class' favorites to do as a "Just for Fun" activity as well as a group or class activity is sequencing with comic strips. I cut out and laminate Sunday comics ranging from simple pictures for non-readers to those with dialogue fo r advanced readers, place them in envelopes and give them to the children to put back together in the proper order.
The biggest benefit to activities such as these is that there is no grading involved! Extra activities for the children doesn't have to mean extra paper work for you.

"early finishers"
Posted by: Tabitha

I know that somewhere in this board we posted things that you can have your early finishers do.
I will type in again what I have come up with. I teach 5th grade as well. On a poster board titled
What Do I Do Now? I have ten things listed. They are:
1. Work on unfinished assignments.
2. Read a book.
3. Write a story in writing center.
4. Use computer for research projects.
5. Make a crossword or word find puzzle.
6. Find a poem, riddle, or joke to share latter.
7. Research an animal and write a small report
to share.
8. Draw a picture or make a card for the teacher,
Mom, dad, grandparents or a friend.
9. Do file folder games or activites.
10. Study multiplication facts with a partner.

You can add as many as you want, but I think this will keep my students minds going for a while.

early finishers
Posted by: christy

I always have logic assignments for early finishers. They hated them at first, but once we got used to it, no problems. They know any "busy" work is extra credit. The only catch is that they try to zip through the reg. assignment to zip through 3 or 4 busy assign. to get extra credit.
Another thing is that if they choose, they may read their AR books. Most don't want to because every other teacher makes them do it.

There is a website that gives advice, printable worksheets, etc..... I will search for it, and let you know. It's great to tailor to you lessons.

Early Finishers
Posted by: Peggy

I do something similar to Gina. On my chalkboard at the front, I have a poster that shows all of the early finisher options they have. This way, right in September I can train them to choose from the board rather than asking me. I also keep an early finisher file for the students in a designated area so that their early finisher work does not add to the choas of desks. Not that kids are every disorganized or anything!

Some of my options are:
1. Read
2. Sketch
3. Study (for upcoming tests)
4. Unfinished work (other subjects)
5. Homework
6. Research Projects
7. Vocabulary Detective (search out cool words in the dictionary, fill out form and have the option of sharing with a friend)
8. Clean your desk
9. Invent a game
10. Write a story/letter etc

Hope this helps!

early finishers
Posted by: Brooke

In my classroom we have several interactive bulletin boards, they are called Word Challenge, Math Mania and Super Spellers. The students can always read a book or do one of the bulletin boards if they finish early. We change the boards each week. For example, this week on Word Challenge we have 10 words displayed and the students are required to break the words into syllables. They turn their paper in to the special word challenge container and we give them points. 1-2 correct 1point , 3-4 correct 2 points, etc. About every 3 weeks we total up the number of points the students have and the student with the highest number of points gets a prize. Math mania is counting money this week and the Super Spellers is the same each week. They play memory with their spelling words. The students love doing the boards.

fast finishers
Posted by: Kelly

In my room the students who needed the extra boost were in 2 groups. The ones that needed a boost and the ones that really were working above grade level. The ones that needed the boost were given more responsibility. They were told they were capable of more then they were giving. I did not want them to think they were "better" then the rest of the class. So it was a personal goal. I took their problem areas and gave them personal goals. Write more, different style, using thesaurus while writing etc. The group working above grade level was given a special project. It was done during group time and was not presented as special project. Just different. Last year my top group studied fairy tales and ultimately wrote their own doing illustrations and everything. Their goal was to take it from story webbing to rough draft to edited draft to good copy. When done they read it to various other classes. They were very proud. During transitions or times when they had completed other work they would work on this. The first group would have a special folder with fun activities designed for an individual student. Like Jamie -- really really good at math -- always finished early loved to try to stump others. So he would create questions based on what was being studied at the time and solve. I would review and occasionally use them in one of the centers with a note on it saying it was created by Jamie - he was estatic.

work for early finishers
Posted by: DM

I start the day by asking students for ideas about what they can do if they finish work early.
I list these ideas on the board and add others if necessary. One item on the list is "ask Mrs. M." for students who don't want to do any of the things listed. For these students, I'll have a worksheet, puzzle, etc. available.

fast finishers
Posted by: Mary Ann

I have different jobs when students complete work early for different times of the day. Here are a few:

Choose a character "stuffed animal" from our reading center and read him/her a story.

Complete a job card. (I laminated different phonics and math practice sheets and leave Visa V. markers out for them to complete the task)

Pull a newspaper/magazine page from the writing center. Circle or highlight the letter of the week and/or any sight words you know.

Just a few ideas. Hope they help.

Re: Centers for Early Finishers
Posted by: SubTeacher123

Maybe extra work folders. Each month give each student a new packet and collect the old ones. The packets can include some monthly fun theme sheets as well. As an added incentive, you may want to inform students depending on how many correct and completed sheets inside their extra work folder is completed by the end of the months, depends on how many extra credits points they will get, or any other award.

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early finishers
Posted by: rita

this doesn't seem to be a problem for me this year but in the past I've had a large jar labeled "things to do when you're done' inside are folded up sheets of colored paper with different assignments on each, could be math, journal, reading, etc. the kids loved picking from these

Posted by: GoTeachers

I have an "I'm ALL done shelf" set up in my class room. It's a small book shelf (two shelves) that is stocked with things to do after they finish all assignments (including the work in there finish-up folder). There are books (in a basket), Coloring pages, dominoes, small puzzles, teddy bear counters and math fact cards, chalk boards for spelling practice, writing paper for stories and pictures and stuff like that and much more (all educational in some way). I change things out about every other month or so (the books more often). Last year I let the early finishers go on the computer but I'm not going to do that this year. The same ones were getting on and it became a problem. The shelf works great for me! ;)

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Tic-Tac-Toe Challenge for early finishers
Posted by: purplealum

I have a challenge board in my room for early finishers. It's a tic-tac-toe board with 9 different challenges on it that I rotate from time to time. Students must complete 3 (in a row for a tic-tac-toe) challenges and turn them in for a free 100. I teach math, but I put journal prompts and life skills activities on there too. The kids like it!

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fast finishers workshop
Posted by: scrapbookmom

I have been at this for more years than I'd like to admit. I have struggled with the same issue. This year, though, I spoke with a 1st grade teacher who uses the old Workshop Way program, and I have adapted it to my 4th grade class. Now I have a bulletin board with numbered tasks. Students begin each day at #1. The tasks cover many subject areas and are short and kind of fun. The file folders are a part of the tasks.
Spelling is the 1st activity. I have a set of cards that I rotate with fun spelling activities like mirror-write your spelling words (write frontwards and backwards). Another task is to read an article in a magazine and fill out a short form about what they knew already and what they learned. I have a set of cards with numbers on and the students have to write the number on that day's card and represent the number in words, expanded notation, and an array. I now have a total of 15 activities.
The most important piece of this whole thing is that the students put the results of their work in their box or cubby to take home at the end of the day. I don't grade it or even look at each piece. I can go to their box and spot check to see if they are indeed working and doing quality work. I may remind a student or the whole class that they need to have more of the tasks finished, or better quality work. Sounds too easy, but it is working! I think the key is that the tasks are short, varied, and kind of fun.

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Discovery Drawers
Posted by: teach4fun

I have a drawer for each child (I got them from a teacher's catalog they are blue with 6 colored drawers) I numbered each of them 1-30. Each child has a class number. When they are finished with their work: math, handwriting, some lan. arts and projects or activities: they go to their drawer and take out an activity or worksheet. Some have SRA's, linking cubes with activities to do, squiggle art, story books with questions that go with them that I have made and more. I can individualize the drawers for the child. If one needs more work on short i and I have moved to short o then I can put in some rhyme time work for them. It is agreat assessment tool as well. I love my drawers and the kids think it is "cool" to use them.

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I'm Done Activities
Posted by: ABC

I have a poster in the front of the room with "What to do when I'm done" They include...

Write a letter to a friend. Sometimes if you go to local card shops or grocery stores, they will give you last season's extra envelopes from the card dept. I use those and have a cardboard mailbox. They may write to a friend and "mail" it without sealing the envelope so that I may look and make sure it's appropriate and then mail it to that friend.
Do a wordsearch or puzzle. Carson Dellosa makes great seasonal books for St. Patrick's Day, etc. for about $3. They have mazes, what's wrong pictures and lots of other stuff.

Write in your journal.

Do math flashcards.
Look at a book from our browse basket. These are usually books not at an instructional level, but related to what we are studying.
Silent reading of course!
I also have file folder games that you can buy or make from your local teacher's store. (I tend to limit these since they are not independent.)
How to draw books for kids.
Practice spelling words on a dry erase board or small chalkboard.
Also, books called Doodleloops are great for creative writing purposes!
Of course you can limit any of these depending an your original activity, but overall these keep my faster workers busy for that extra 5-15 minutes you may need.

Good luck!:)

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