Keeping Early Finishers Engaged and Focused
What do the students in your classroom do if they finish a quiz or classroom assignment early? Finding ways to keep early finishers engaged and focused while other students are finishing their work is essential to a healthy learning environment. Here are a few activity ideas for early finishers that you can utilize in your elementary classroom:
- Read Silently – Having early finishers read silently is one of the most popular go-to strategies for keeping students quiet and engaged until the rest of the class has finished the assignment. While this is a good strategy, many children get bored or tired of sitting still, which is why it's important to give early finishers several options to choose from.
- Practice Spelling Words – Ask children to write a sentence for each spelling word or to write each spelling word three times. You could also have them look up the definition of each word or make a story using three to five of the spelling words.
- Write in a Journal/Diary – Encourage children to practice freewriting in their journal or diary. This lets them express their thoughts and can help them prepare for the next lesson or assignment the class is going to work on.
- Choose a Writing Prompt and Write a Story/Essay – Have a jar full of writing prompt ideas for students to choose from or write a new writing prompt on the board each day for students to work on if they finish early.
- Do a Word Search, Sudoku, or Crossword Puzzle – Having a variety of puzzles and word searches on hand for early finishers is a great way to keep their minds engaged and learning as they wait for other students to finish.
- Write a Letter or Make a Card for Someone – Encourage students to write a letter or make a card for someone in their family when they finish an assignment early. You can also ask them to write a letter or make a card that you can send to a soldier, children in the hospital, or people in a nursing home. This is a great way to teach children about local organizations and encourage them to give back to the community.
- Make a Drawing or Create a Poster/Comic Strip – Giving early finishers opportunities to be creative can help them de-stress and better focus on the next task. Drawing or creating a poster or comic strip is also something that they can continuously work on throughout the day/week. Make sure that early finishers aren't rushing through their work to finish their drawing or poster.
- Work on Other Classwork or Start on Homework – If students have another assignment they can work on, encourage them to work on that if they finish early.
- Complete a Subject-Related Worksheet – Having extra worksheets on hand that relate to what you're teaching can help early finishers continue to learn and practice their skills in math, literacy, etc. as they wait on other students to finish.
- Meditate or Do Yoga Exercises Quietly – If early finishers have a hard time sitting still until everyone is done, another option would be to have a quiet corner in the classroom they can go to meditate or do a few simple yoga exercises. Try to keep posters or notecards with yoga exercises on them available for students.
Be sure to browse the Elementary section of our website for a variety or resources, tools, and materials you can use in your classroom.