In a classroom full of students with varying learning styles and needs, you’re bound to have early finishers. Resist the urge to overload them on worksheets or just let them figure out what to do on their own. Enriching, meaningful activities for your early finishers are everywhere. Planning ahead will make life easier for you and your students.
A Few Simple Activities for Your Early Finisher
Read a book.
I always encourage my students to have a silent reading book of their choice with them at all times. Early finishers can pull out a book and have free reading, no matter what the class or content time. This book should be a choice book so it is enjoyable and doesn’t feel like extra work. Give your students a chance to visit the library often and have a list of recommended books or Golden Sowers available, but ultimately, let them choose the free reading topic, level, and book that they want to read for fun!
If your early finisher loves to doodle or draw, let them put their learning into pictures with sketchnoting, adding images to text to summarize what they know about the topic. Some students may enjoy taking notes this way as they read or listen to you teach as well. Have your students publish their sketchnotes in a book format or try their hands at a digital app like Paper by Fifty Three, Adobe Sketch, or Procreate. Tutorials to get started are available online.
Make an infographic.
Another way to summarize learning is by creating an infographic, a digital chart that contains data in a pictorial form. Piktochart is an online, intuitive tool that students of all ages can use to share what they’ve learned or present new information to classmates. Allow students who finish early to share their creations in a blog or shared Google Slide presentation with their classmates.
Volunteer and build character.
Some students seem to finish early and strong almost daily. Set up some time for these students to work with younger students in the school as classroom helpers or tutors. Having students work with others not only will solidify their own learning, but it will also help build character and confidence.
Create their own extension project.
We are always telling students what questions we want them to be able to answer. Why not ask them what they want to learn? Have your early finishers come up with a topic or question they want to research further. This can be their anchor activity they always go back to no matter what the content area and can incorporate reading, writing, research, and the creative process.
When students get finished with work early, don’t let them sit and spin. Extra worksheets will not help them extend their learning. Try these activities for your early finishers to help your kids continue to learn in your classroom.
If it’s math specific, you can always check out my post 5 Activities for Early Finishers in the Math Classroom. Otherwise, stay tuned, as I have more ideas to come…