Monday, September 26, 2016

Ideas for Fast Finishers



"I'm done!"
"Have you checked your work?"
"Yes."
"Really? Are you sure?"
"Yes."
You know it's true. He's a fast worker and knows what he's doing. Now what?

The answer is NOT more of the same. That's a sure-fire way for kids to hate school, especially kids who need lots of stimulation. If they've just finished a worksheet, they don't need three more just to eat up their time. Kids have a "junk" sensor when it comes to that sort of thing. If that kid is excited about learning, curious, and loves new things then that Fast Finisher file had better be filled with really good "stuff".  Below are some of my favorites...kids love them too!


1.  Put up three or four centers within the room each week just for fast finishers. These centers should take some thinking to accomplish. It may be a small project for social studies, science, or reading.

2.  Offer task cards. They can be kept in zip-lock bags and kids enjoy them. Use task cards that are a big challenging and may have to be visited three or four times to complete. If you need a FREE set for mental math, pick up this freebie in my store:  Mental Math Thinkers

3. Ask students to do book and movie reviewers, type them out, find a picture to go with it online, and post under a "Don't Miss!" section of the bulletin board.

4.  Create a "What's the question" bulletin board.  Put the answer to a math problem on the board and students figure out the question. There can often be numerous correct questions. Ideas include:  the answer is 12 more raccoons, the answer is three sides and three vertices etc. Post the different questions to allow students to see how others think about the problem.

5. Allow students to do mini ressearch projects on things they are interested in. Ask students to write three questions that they would like to know the answer to. Then start researching the answers. This activity could go over a week...easily. Be sure to teach a short lesson on narrowing the topic as this is critical.

6.  Provide fun enrichment activities such as a science activity, scavenger hunt, math puzzle etc.

7.  Provide an "I'm done" jar. Write a number of activities on large craft sticks (write a letter to a friend, find five words that start with "ch",  draw a picture using only shapes, write a note to your teacher, etc.) Students pull out one stick and do the activity.

8.  Science center for investigation

9.  Make a file folder game on whatever you are studying

10.  Clean out your desk

11.  Do a computer based learning game (this is always a favorite!)

12. Allow the student to do an individual project of their own choosing.

13.  Read.   It has been my experience that this one is always a winner!

14.  Provide number and logic puzzles. There are a nunber of kids magazines with number and logic puzzles. Cut them out, glue to cardboard and laminate. Students can use a dry erase marker to do the puzzle, then clean it off.

15.  Make a map of a magical land. This can take as long as needed, even weeks.

16.  Write a journal entry: If I could go anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

17.  Write and illustrate three math word problems

18.  Write a story using at least 5 different emojis

19.  Provide a listening center (story or music)

20.  Sometimes students just need down time, provide something they can "fiddle" with such as something with sensory appeal, smooth rocks, sand-filled balloons, squeeze balls etc. This is also very good for ADHD students

21.  Have a lego center (this is great for any age!)  keep a building going and students can add to it over the week.

22.  Have a "chat" corner where early finishers can go to and talk quietly.

23.  Write a letter to your future self

24.  Draw a picture, "What people will wear in 100 years"

25.  Make a popsicle stick jigsaw puzzle....put 7 (or more) sticks together side by side and draw, color a picture, then put it in a zip lock bag for other students to put together.

Do you have any other ideas? If so please add them below!

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