I thoroughly planned my math lesson. It was hands-on with a terrific recording sheet and reflection page. I even thought of a “bonus question” for my early finishers.
I was ready for them this time.
I explained and modeled the assignment. I pulled my first small group while one group was doing the independent assignment I had so thoughtfully planned. My third group was working at stations.
I monitored frequently to make sure all students were on task and working. Five minutes. Eight minutes. Ten minutes. And then…”I’m Done!” Ugh!
Does this sound all too familiar? Do you need activities to keep your early finishers engaged and challenged? I did! After learning the hard way that you just must have an early finisher “stash”, I began creating challenges that my teammates and I could use to keep those eager minds involved. Challenges that were targeted to problem-solving and not just fluff. Challenges that were engaging enough to prevent off-task behaviors.
The tasks were so successful in our classrooms, that I want to share them with you, too.
These tasks will raise the rigor and give you the completed models you need for having your students create your “stash” of challenges. We usually print them out and laminate them so students can write directly on them. Sometimes, if we want a record of their thinking, students work in their math notebook. But, we keep it simple and easy to manage.
This activity focuses on number sense and the guess and check strategy. It helps students make connections to prior learning and lets them know that they will continue using what they’ve learned. Note the clue about inches in a one-half foot. Our students love the guess and check strategy. It helps them see that a wrong answer is not a bad thing but something to learn from and find a better answer. It helps them feel safe to try new ideas and solutions. A wrong answer can be powerful when used to enrich thinking.
When our GT and fast finishers complete their math daily assignments, they know they are not “Done!”. They go to the workstation area and take the folder/basket that is labeled “Early Finishers” and choose a challenge that is new to them. It is important to have a variety of challenges to keep them engaged and thinking.
Our kids L-O-V-E these “algebra” activities included in the resources below. They have to apply what they know about facts and then guess and check to find the exact numbers that will work for each letter. There is so much great mathematical thinking in these as well as great fun.
When students complete a challenge, it makes them feel math smart. They just know that they “can do it”. And that’s wonderful because it helps to build their math confidence. And that helps to build perseverance in solving problems. And that helps with mathematical attitudes. It’s an all around win!
Click on the FREE Early Finishers photo below. Print out the three tasks and you’ll have the challenges at your fingertips ready to go. If you want more, the early finishers bundle has over 130 challenges that you can print to have a ready-to-go stash.
When you hear, “I’m done!!”, you’ll be ready to turn waiting time into learning time.
And as always, thanks and …
Yes! Send my freebie.
Early finishers can be a great asset to your classroom, but...you have to be ready for them. If you aren't, they can be great creators of chaos. Turn waiting time into learning time and prevent off-task behaviors with this set of 10 FREE Early Finisher and Gifted tasks. You'll be ready when you hear that first, "I'm Done!".