I haven’t been teaching that long, but over the few years I have been teaching–I have noticed that when you are blessed with those 22 (sometimes 25) children that will be in your classroom for the year…they come from VERY different homes and they are at VERY different levels of learning. Some of those students can be done in 5 minutes with an activity…while some take the entire time and need a lot of help. (that is okay!)
Be cautious–do not get frustrated with the ones that take a while, chances are they are learning and sometimes they may even do better than the ones that finished quickly. (Because they actually took their time and read carefully.) I also do not praise the ones that finish early–kids want to be praised, but praise them for working hard or taking their time, this will instill endurance, patience, concentration, and appreciation for their own work.
HOWEVER–we still have those students that just can’t help it. When they get it, they get it! They are done in five minutes…and inevitably, they come up to you and say…”What do I do now?” So, I was reading a blog of a Kinder teacher and she had a fabulous idea called, “Fast Finishers.” I decided to use part of her idea. However, I didn’t want to call mine that–fearing that it would instill a bit of praise in just the title for rushing through work.
I’ve decided to call mine Early Birds. For any one that finishes early; they will look on the board and see what the Early Bird assignment is for today. I simply made a few signs to put on the board, I will just rotate them each day (or even every other day). The students will know exactly what is expected of them. The first week, I will spend explaining these assignments or activities so the students will know where to go and what to do from Day 1. Here are my different assignments and activities: