In every classroom, during every lesson, there is an early finisher. At the same time, there is a late finisher. How do you balance the two? The early finisher can become restless and distracting to others. The late finisher often becomes frustrated and may not do as well because they feel pressured to finish faster or embarrassed that they are not as quick or “smart”. Below are our favorite quick activities to hand to the early finisher. We like to keep these activities in organized boxes or have a center for these activities that can easily grabbed and rotated, so the early finisher does not get bored.
These work for every single grade level and subject. Print out a sheet about the lesson or unit, laminate that baby, and hand the student a dry erase marker and a paper towel. Instant reinforcement activity! Need to add differentiation in your lesson? Well here you go! Print off different levels of difficulty. For example, are you going over geographical land forms? Print out three different types or difficulty. Going over organs? Print off one that labels 4 organs, one with 6 organs, and one with 8 organs. In Language Arts, have students label different parts of the sentences, story, and poem.
Don’t have time to create your own? Head over to www.teacherspayteachers.com
This is perfect for younger grades. Hand the students cards with shapes, playdough, and toothpicks. Students will then recreate the shapes.
This may not be related to your subject, but it does encourage older students to use their critical thinking skills. How tall can they create a structure? This is a great way to analyze weight, balance, and structure.
This activity requires playdough, plastic knife, and fraction cards. The student can cut either a circle or square into half, fourths, eighths, etc… The student can extend the activity by taking the pieces to demonstrate ¼, ¾, etc…
Print out sheets and students create items for the sheet. For example, in health print out a picture of a plate and ask them to create a healthy well balanced meal. This also can work for organs or parts of a plant.
Stamp & Spell
Have a set of stamps with each letter of the alphabet. Ask students to stamp their vocabulary words into the playdough. You can also give students pictures and have them stamp the word into the playdough
This is much like building with playdough and toothpicks. I glued a piece of felt to cardboard. This helps the bottom cards not to move. The student can then create the biggest and tallest structure possible.
We have found these activities to be very helpful with our classroom management, differentiation, and as an extension of the lesson. They really help out when you are being observed. If your entire class ends earlier than planned then check out an earlier article “Last Minute Interactive Games” that will be just as helpful. You do not want a student to be sitting there idly and ultimately misbehaving. Best of all these activities are cheap and easy to store!