When you start working on anything whether it’s in your centers or just in class, some students are inevitably going to get done faster than others. Therefore, some students are going to have extra time to do, well nothing. This happens in the morning which is why we have morning work to combat the chaos. However, what do we do when students are early finishers during centers or independent work time? Well, if you don’t have an early finisher activity for them to do, chaos ensues. In order to keep everyone focused, you’ll want to have early finisher activities for students when they are in centers and doing independent work.
1: BOOM Keep Em’ Learning
One way to keep your students engaged is to use Boom Cards as an early finisher activity. Having a variety of Boom Decks available for students will help keep their minds moving and their focus on point. The Boom Cards can challenge your students to think beyond what they have already been doing. In this way, you are challenging your students to reach mastery. You can also differentiate and have your students work on tasks they haven’t mastered yet and need more practice with. Deciding who does what is simple by having a list of Decks with student names under them available in each center.
2: Challenge Early Finishers with a Game
Games are always a fun way to keep students learning and motivated in the classroom. Whether your students are finishing a math or literacy activity, there are simple games they can play independently or in a group. For example, students can play a game of Scoot or Squares Your Brain which just keeps them thinking as well as collaborating with others. Math games and literacy games are simple to put together and have in your center boxes for early finishers.
3: Go Beyond the Worksheet, Practice the Process
Worksheets can be an easy go to for an early finisher activity. However, are they doing anything other than keeping students busy? While being busy is good, you want the busy to be meaningful. Plus, worksheets just create more work for you. Therefore, you can skip the worksheet and focus on a process. Early finisher activities that focus on the process can be anything from beginning a writing piece or starting a simple science project online (virtually grow something like in a farming game). You should give students task cards to complete and have them take a picture of the process and post it in SeeSaw or Google Classroom. This gives students practice doing something without having to turn in a worksheet.
4: Let Early Finishers Adventure with Google
Google is a wonderful tool for so many things especially if you have Google Classroom. One, it has an easy application that allows you to see what students are doing. So, if one of your early finisher activities is a writing challenge, you can see on a Google Doc what they are doing. In addition, they have self-grading options or choose your own adventure possibilities with Google Forms. You can have your students complete a simple digital escape room or take part in a choose your own adventure with task cards to match it. This is a mess free activity for students to do that keeps them learning and focused on school.
5: Utilize Digital Centers
Finally, in the spirit of keeping things simple and clean, you should use digital centers to keep your kids working. Digital center activities are simple to put online and for students to access during centers or during independent work time. Because it doesn’t require a lot of set up, your students will not be a distraction to others who are working. Digital centers can review past material or it can enrich material that you are currently working on like rhyming, rounding, adding, multiplying, spelling, and more! Plus, they will get to use technology in a way that is beneficial to their learning and not just for entertainment. Whether you have students work on puzzles, a math review, or on Google Classroom, having them on a device strengthens their technology skills while enriching the content you are learning.
Early finishers are always going to be a part of your classroom. Therefore, having activities for those students to do while everyone else works is important not only for their learning but those around them as well. You can find simple activities for students to do that don’t need to create more work for you or even get an end result because the process is learning enough.
Until Next Time…
Keep Being Educational Rock Stars