What to do with Early Finishers?

Monday, February 4, 2019 No comments
This is something I'm sure we all as teachers go back and forth with. Trying to find just the right thing that will work for our students is challenging. I know that's how its been for me anyway. I would come up with something and the students would do it but it never seemed to be just the right thing that would keep them motivated and working on different skills all while making it fun and interesting for the students.

It was my challenge until recently when I developed my "Early Finishers Center". 

When my students are finished and have time before we move on to our next thing they can come back to our early finishers centers. I found all these cute trays and tubs at the Dollar Tree and then created labels for the trays and tubs. Students can choose from multiple items to complete different tasks. 

I also created a list for all the choices they have when they come to the center. All of my students have a laminated card with their name at the top. If they finish a task they will bring it to me and I look it over to make sure they did it correctly and with effort. Then I will give them a check mark next to that particular task. Throughout the month they can work on the various choices. If they begin something and don't have time to finish that day I have a blue folder for unfinished work they can put it in on the table and then come back to the next time they finish early.
If a student is able to finish all the choices in a month correctly and with effort they will earn a free homework pass. (This really motivates the students to want to use the center and do something productive and educational rather than sitting at their desk and be off task. They also have to do a lot of extra practice or learning activities to earn it.)

Choices they have include:

1. Boggle - I actually have a Boggle game that they can shake the letter cubes in and then use the provided worksheet to complete.
2. Rainbow Spelling - I have markers in the tubs and I weekly update the word list so it is our current Spelling list. This helps them with extra practice for that week when they choose this one.
3. Noggle- which I found a great resource for Multiplication and Division facts here: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Noggle-Math-Boggle-Multiplication-and-Division-3165079
4. Math Task Cards- I have a couple different sets out that I have created and they can work on.
5. Math Worksheet- I have some extra practice worksheets for review of past concepts.
6. Creative Writing - This is something I created for my class for the students to enjoy. It is six different writing choice cards and  90 noun, verb, and adjective cards that they can choice from to incorporate into their writing. Each choice card has its own correlating writing sheet for the students and directions. 
You can check out this product here: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Early-Finishers-Writing-Choice-Cards-4327381

Early Finishers Writing Choice Cards
7. Reading Passages- I have some fun short reading & response passages about animals and various topics the students enjoy.

If the students don't feel like doing an item on the Choice Card at that particular time they have other choices not on the card to do too that are educational and fun such as:

My Zing! an Uno inspired Multiplication Game and then also my Division version (which the kids love to play and I have in Addition and Subtraction versions of as well.) 

                  Multiplication Math Game: Zing! (Plays similar to Uno)   Division Math Game: Zing! (Plays similar to Uno)

We also have been working on learning the States and Capitals, so I created a memory game for the States and Capitals and have them divided up into two tubs to group regions to play with.
                               States & Capitals Memory Game

It has taken me a while to develop just what works for my students. I went through some things that failed but sometimes we have to fail before we can succeed. My students are enjoying this and it is helping them to continue learning, have fun while doing it, and stay focused on something good!

If you have a fun, creative idea that you have used in your classroom for your early finishers I would love to hear about it. 

You can check out my early finisher products that I mentioned above on my TpT store: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Joyful-4th