• Welcome teachers! Log in or Register Now for a free ProTeacher account!

slowwww pokes



I have always had pokey kids in my class. I hate for them to feel like they are being bad or punished because they take their time. However, in life there are deadlines and schedules to keep and if you don't it could mean missing an airplane or getting fired. What can I do?
My gut says to set a timer and collect work finished or not and send it home. Then they face the rath of the parents.
They could miss recess and do work then but then I get punished because that's my free time (when I don't have duty).
Or just grade what they do and let their grades suffer.

Any ideas would be appreciated.


Senior Member

When we are doing practice skills and I am not grading the paper I have a stamp that says "homework" . The ones that are not finished in the given amount of time (and I do set a timer sometimes) get their paper stamped and it does become part of their homework. I sometimes add a note at the top such as "20 minutes classtime given" or if the kiddo has just been playing instead of working I might write "Johnny did not choose to use his classtime wisely, please finish at home." and stamp it.

When it is for a grade, I give them the regular class time and then maybe a few extra minutes off their special or recess, but like you said that punishes me by taking away from my planning or break times, so I don't give them much extra time. When this happens I just write at the top "classtime plus extra" and I grade it as is. I feel that part of working on level is finishing the work in a reasonable amount of time. Of course if a student has an IEP or 504 modification for extra time they get it. Usually, they get their extra time during centers when their group is at "deskwork"


Senior Member
I'd like to be able to make my students complete unfinished work during recess however it's a state mandate that you cannot take away recess time. All my students must have their 15 minutes regardless of behavior, unfinished work, whatever.

What I've started doing is either making them do it during fun classroom times (class reward times like fun friday or our occasional popcorn party) or I also collect all unfinished work, staple a bright yellow letter to it and send it home on friday to show parents just how much work their child is getting done. On the letter it gives various reasons I can check off to explain why the child's work is incomplete so that they'll know "oh, suzie didn't finish because she was off task and talking to her friends" or "uhoh, johnny has to re-do his work because it's messy and he didn't follow directions". The parents know to look for these packets and they try to have their children complete it as "weekend homework". They sign the letter and return it to me. I make note of how many of these letters I send out and I inform parents that if their children continue to turn in incomplete work it will affect their report card grades (there's a section on completing assignments). I've just had to pick and choose what I'm going to be particular about. If I see them seriously working I may give them a break but when I see it's incomplete because they were goofing off I definitely send a letter home.

I do keep in mind which children have IEPs or other modifications. I wouldn't want to penalize a child because of some special need.


penalizing for pace

I spend the first several weeks of the school year monitoring the pace of my new students. I don't beleive that children should be penalized for pace. If it's a practice page for morning work then I grade what they finish (12/14 rather than 12/20). Every student needs to finish an assessment--test or writing paper--so I build in enough time to get everyone to finish. Here early finishers are given another task. Practice pages are all reviewed together so I set the timer for the amount of time I think is reasonable, then we all review the questions together so that everyone benefits even if they didn't finish. If I call on a child who says, "I didn't get to that one," then I tell them to think about it now and we'll wait to hear his or her answer. Early in the year I can see who is being too slow and that generally causes me to speak to their parent about the student's general pace. By October you know who has a pace problem because of a disability versus slow to start. If the child is slow to start then it goes home for homework. I guage all of my early observations on my morning work routine. Mostly if it's practice work I believe that I can take an accurate grade on work done. If it's review I believe that reviewing together gives the slowpokes their shot at the review, and if it's an assessment then I believe every child should have the time they need to match their potential. This has worked well for me each year over the past six in teaching.


New Member
I normally take my kids out for Teacher recess, so if they do not get their work done, I either have them sit in another teacher's class or they take it outside with them and finish it. Sometimes, I have them finish it during center time.

Sharon D. W.

Full Member
Archive - Folders

Go to the archive button and type in "folders". Check out an old post Not Yet Finished Folders. I still use these!

On Day 4 of the 6 Day cycle I pull out work from the few folders that needs to be completed at home as EXTRA homework and staple a pre-printed note to it. Then I date the note and write in the due date which is usually 2 days later.


PS: As long as I have written permission I can keep my kiddos at recess and many parents allow this and I only do it if I really need to do it. This also goes for all of the Speical classes as well. Sometimes they need to "loose" something of value so they know that they really do need to get the job compeleted!


Senior Member

Every once in a while ---everybody who has finished the assignment on time gets a piece of candy from the candy jar. Chocolate Kiss something small and wrapped.... Or gumball from the gumball machine. Works wonders... Or everyone finished gets to put a marble in the marble jar and everyone not finished has to take one out.


slow pokes

I am a student at Benedictine University, my major is elementary education. I guess there is going to be a time when I will have to face similar problems. I think that the first thing we need to see is if the lack of interest in finishing work on time is characteristic of that particular child.Or if the child has a learning disability. The latter involves many departments coming together and collaborating with you,and that could takes days, or months. But the former is something that you can easily foresee as a class teacher. Try to see if the child is socially active if so change his or her sitting arrangements. Another point that could work is taking away a privelege for the day, that the work is not handed back in time. As you stated earlier that all these habits stay with individuals for ever and making poor choices now will hurt them in the long run. If you send the assignment home with the child there is a possibility he or she will do it but how can you be sure? Maybe the parents jumped in and did it for them versus those students who did it on their own at school. Don't get me wrong parent's help and involvement is always appreciated. First graders are usually able to comprehend the pros. and cons.They should be made aware of consequences of not meeting deadlines.