How many times have you heard the phrase “I’m done!” in an elementary classroom? Too many, right?! And it’s so catchy too. Once one student says it, then before you know it, THEY’RE ALL DONE. It’s like magic, only not really. So what kinds of activities for fast finishers will help this problem?
So, today I’m going to talk you through a plan to make sure that your kiddos have plenty to do at their literacy centers.
I have five ideas for you to try, and two different ways to organize your work. But before I get to it, it’s REALLY important that you plan your activities for fast finishers with something that will keep your kiddos learning and will help them grow as students.
Just say NO to busy work. Focus on extending the activities at your centers, rather than just give them something to do to keep them occupied!
Leveled Readers For Early Finishers
So my first idea for your early finishers is to keep tubs of leveled readers available for them to read. It’s not a fancy idea, but the more print that your students have in front of them, the better. And if you’ve covered your expectations with them, then they will know that when they are finished, they take books to read.
There shouldn’t be an announcement or asking permission, they will know that they are to choose a book from their book bins because that’s what you’ve practiced with them.
Book “Shelfies” For Your Early Finishers
Take a Book “Shelfie”. (Clever, right?!) This was one of my favorite things to do. But you may be wondering, “What in the world is a shelfie?!” Glad you asked! A book shelfie to me, is a mix between a book report and a book recommendation.
Basically, I want to know their report on the book, what the title is, what the main idea is, or who the characters are. And honestly, you can choose any comprehension skill for this! I also wanted to know how they liked the book and if they thought their classmates would enjoy it as well.
It’s like free advertising for a book! I typically use Seesaw for this. I have my students take a photo of the book and then they record their report using the Seesaw tools voice recorder. Then, I’ll share it with my classroom Seesaw Blog for everyone to watch.
If a digital option just isn’t your thing then you can always make your own response form or book report pages.
Fluency Activities For Fast Finishers
My third kind of activity for fast finishers is fluency phrase or sight word practice. This can be as easy as writing the sight words or phrases on a notecard and keeping the note cards in a baggie. Often I would punch a hole in the corner and keep them on a ring.
To make your life SO much easier, color code the cards to help keep them in sets. This way you could reuse the cards and not have to start over with a brand new set from scratch every time you want to use this activity. You can also hang the cards in an area of your room where the activities for early finishers are kept.
Unfinished Word Folders
This is such a simple and easy method! You can thank me later.
I often required my students to keep their unfinished work in a folder. But I often found that I didn’t have time for them to go back and complete it! So this is a perfect time for them to do this! Finished with your work at your centers, now go finish the work in your folder!
Use Those Digital Resources for Your Fast Finishers
And since last year, you probably collected a TON of digital resources, why not put them to good use as an activity for fast finishers? I love the games on Boom Learning for this.
Plus, you’re able to still use some of the digital activities and the time and money you spent on them won’t be wasted.
Now let’s talk about how to organize your extra activities for early finishers. You could just have one activity required for your whole class.
For example, any time any of your students has completed the work they need to do, they would go grab their keyrings of sight words and fluency phrases.
But if you’d rather keep it open and give your students a choice, you could use popsicle sticks that they can pull, or my preference is to make a choice board.
A choice board doesn’t need to be fancy or Pinterest-worthy either! I think I wrote my options on cards and added them to a pocket chart.
It just needs to be a way for the students to see their options and choose which one they would like to do.
These ideas are great ideas for your early finishers. They’re simple for you, and yet your students will continue to learn even after they’re finished with their literacy center tasks. You can also check out this topic on my YouTube channel here.
I hope that these fast finisher tips were helpful for you!
Is it a struggle to teach your students the Seesaw tools? I’ve created a FREE game for your students that will help them learn to use the Seesaw tools responsibly!
Check out my Summer Series
To get you ready for Back To School 2021, I've organized all the best literacy station ideas for you! This past year was rough so let Teaching Firsties do the work for you this summer so you'll be confident and ready to begin school in the fall.
June 28, 2021