Wednesday, July 22, 2015

What Do I Do Now? Strategies for Early Finishers

early finishers
Hi!  This is Jaymie from First Grade Centers and More. 

One of the biggest challenges teachers face in the classroom is keeping all of our students engaged and challenged.  Even with the best differentiation some students finish their assignments quickly, while others need more time.  

I try not to rush students (as long as they are on task), but what about the students who finish quickly?  I believe students love to have some free choice time, where they direct their activities.  I am a huge supporter of choice in the classroom for students, but it needs to be done in a structured way to avoid off-task behavior.

Here are some of the choices I give my students when their work is done:     

reading centerreading center
          This cutie chose to spend his entire indoor recess reading!

1.  READING!  Seriously, my students LOVE to read!  First Graders are usually so excited about this new emerging skill they have.  There is truly no way to become a better reader, than to DO IT!  

I have a HUGE classroom library with tons of books from very emergent readers to up into third grade level (I have a few higher level ones hidden in a closet). I have gotten books at garage sales, from Scholastic Book Clubs, from a yearly sale our local library has, and from parents of current/former students.  If you don't have a large classroom library, start collecting!

2.  Accelerated Reader.  I know, I know, you either love it or hate it!  My school is a huge AR school.  For many of my students, they can't wait to take AR tests. They love watching their flower grow and their points accumulate.  I don't put a lot of pressure on taking AR tests.  But it is always an option they can choose when their work is completed.
writing center

3. Writing!  My students have a writing journal they keep in their desks.  When they have time, they can write a new entry.  They can also go back and reread old entries, or add to a picture or story they were still working on.  They can also get a writing activity from our writing center.  I keep the writing center well stocked with all sorts of seasonal paper, letter writing templates, and they love the animal cards pictured above.  If they don't have a writing idea, they can grab an animal card and take it to their seats to write what they know about the animal.

4. Spelling Practice:  My students LOVE to do this activity to practice their spelling words.  You can visit First Grade Adventures Blog and read all about it.  It is a simple activity to prep, and the students NEVER get tired of it!

5. Math Games.  I often keep simple math centers that are easy to play (and easy to clean up quickly) available for students to use when their work is done. Students also have addition flashcards in their desk they can practice.  The fun game below is from .  You can click the picture to head over to their AMAZING site!

Those are a few of my students favorite fast finishers activities.

early finishers

Last year I started using a work completed board to help my students stay on-task when they had free choice time.  I LOVED it!  The visual clues really helped students to know what their options were. If students weren't sure what to do, I could quickly point them to the board. Also, if students were off-task I could say something like "I don't think ______ (talking, etc.) is one of our choices on our finished work board." I also love having the cards on these clothes pin clips, it makes it easy to change out the options for students.

If you are interested in seeing the fast finishers bulletin board set, you can click on the picture below to head over to my TPT store.  There are currently 34 different fast finisher options to choose from.

early finishers

I am also going to give away three sets of the bulletin board.  You can enter in the Rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for checking out my ideas for fast finishers!  I'd love for you to visit me at my personal blog as well!

Jaymie :)


  1. Very cute set! I like how you have it set up on the clips that you can change up. The clipart is adorable! :)

    First Grade Garden

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