What to do when I'm through??

One of the most dreaded questions in my mind, is "Miss Berman, I'm done, what can I do now??" If you're a teacher, I'm sure you've heard this before. Before we start any activity, I often list options on the board on what they can do if they finish early. This past year, I even had a shelf with multiple options. This shelf had no less then 9 activities that all students can do independently. There were cross word puzzles, word searches, math games, reading games, flash cards ect. At the beginning of the year, we took the time to explore all the activities and have the students become familiar with them. No matter how many times I told the students what they can do, I still heard that dreaded question.

After being moved to fifth grade, I was speaking with another teacher on my team. She told me she created "Anchoring Activities Across the Mind" These activities are basically different options of activities students can work on when they finish their work early. However these are a little different. They are based around students different interests and all of the activities are rich in learning. When I was looking at her packet of her ideas, I tweaked some, added some, but kept many! These activities range from playing math games to researching your favorite artists and creating a multi-media presentation. With such a wide range of activities, I'm hoping my dreaded question will go away. (Even though, I know it won't!) I'm going to place the options of activities in an ideal location.. maybe that will help!? (Wishful thinking right?)

In order to make sure the students are invested into these anchoring activities, I am going to take the time to introduce them slowly at the beginning of the year. I think I am even going to take a few minutes each day to have the students practice working on some of these rich learning activities. Throughout the year, I am going to add more activities, based on student interest. In order for that dreaded question to go away, the students have to be invested in the activities, they have to feel comfortable doing them independently, and they have to enjoy them. My goal is by the end of the year to have that dreaded question go away. What do all of you do, when your students finish early? Does it work?

Below are different sites about Early Finisher Activities!

My new Anchoring Activity across the Mind Posters!


  1. That is such a dreaded question for all of us!!! I have had lots of great ideas for older kids but have a lot of trouble coming up with ideas for kindergarten because they can't really read by themselves for the majority of the year. If I were in older grades, I would have centers (like you mentioned before) or have them do individual journal entries. You could have an index card box with journal prompts organized by interest and have them go and choose one to get them started. I love your idea that your teammate came up with. I would love to know how it works for your class next year. I might do this but incorporate more pictures for my class.

  2. I really like the idea of having a place in the classroom for things to do when people finish early. I don't have anything like this for my high school students because find that I rarely have a lot of time left and if I do students need the few minutes of down time to relax before rushing to their next class. They have five minutes between a class and we have 8 periods in a day. But I think that there will always be situations where there is extra time left and we need valuable learning options for them to choose from. I like the journal idea Kim mentioned above. I could see myself using that on a regular basis to have kids work on goal setting in their lives, which is a health standard.

  3. I love the journal entry idea. I think I am going to have to add that to my activity "bank"! Thank you so much for the suggestions. I am hoping that this works well, but I know I will still have kids ask me what to do now!


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