Ideas for students who finish early

by National Hall of Fame Teacher Alan Haskvitz

One of the most consistent problems for teachers is the decision of what to offer students who finish their work early. In could be as simple and unrewarding as more work or as motivating as solving problems that are related to the assignment or what has been studied in class. Regardless, the work that has been completed needs to be checked for accuracy to make sure the objectives of the lesson were reached. Another area of concern is that the activity does not disturb other students and is not so attractive that students rush through their work to participate. Also be aware that students who don’t finish rapidly may resent those that do and so the activities should not be considered “fun” but provide more depth to the lesson.

A little bit more time intensive is to offer the students a chance to write a letter for information to a state or national travel agency or even a sports team and ask for a decal or other item. The teacher needs to proofread the letter, but they can be sent be email or regular mail. Here is a list of sports teams:

Have an appropriate jigsaw for them to work on individually or as a team. When these are completed they can be glued together and framed and given to the students as gifts at the end of the year.

Depending on he grade level, have appropriate reading books. In each book is a card and the students need to answer the questions on the card and give it to you when they have finished. The questions should include fact based questions, but just as importantly, they should have opinion questions such as , “What do you think the heroes most important decision was?” They hand the card to the teacher who keeps it in a file. At the end of the year the teacher hands back the cards to the students so that can add to their reading file in subsequent years.

Another good approach is to have the students work on word games or puzzles. There are a great many and here are some links to such printables. Students can also create crossword puzzles for other students as well using the subject matter being covered in class.

Allowing students time to finish homework is a frequently used option, but

Working on breaking a code. For younger learners:

click on Chiefs of State. Use search engine word “codes” and when the list comes up click on code one. The site has five codes and answers.

File games are another good activity. Here is an abundant listing of ideas:
Some bulletin board ideas

Create an online book

They can use provided artwork and write their own stories and keep them online. Preview work first.

Have the students listen to stories done by professional readers. Have students use headphones and write a summary

Write and post a book review on a bulletin board is another idea that works for all grade levels. But,  read them first.

List of ideas for early finishers

Sites for students who finish early

For younger students