In every classroom, there are always students who will finish their work faster than everyone else. Waiting can become boring, which can then result in fidgety kids and distractions for others. It’s not always easy to keep those quick workers busy and still learning. That’s why, after struggling with this portion of classroom management myself, I created a fast finishers choice board!!
These activities are unique because the tasks change throughout the year! This will keep your early finishers board fresh and your kiddos interested. There are everyday activities (marked with a star), like Tech Time and Buddy Reading, as well as themed monthly activities (marked with a relevant symbol like the bus for September) such as Read and Review where students will be prompted to read an apple book in September, a pumpkin book in October, and so on. Printables are included for many of the activities– if a printable is not included, it’s meant to be completed in a journal.
Since releasing my Fast Finishers board, I’ve received a lot of questions about how to implement them in the classroom. I’m going to do a little FAQ here, which will hopefully help answer any questions you might have!
Where can I purchase these Fast Finishers activities?
Where do I find this pocket chart?
Besides the set itself, you’ll need a pocket chart to display the cards. I love this one with the individual pockets, or this one which is just as good! Both are “mini” size and come in black. Any other pocket chart will also work well (I have a few pics below showing other charts).
How do I get started?
I’ve included several everyday tasks (marked with a star) in the Fast Finishers set. Begin by only displaying these. The activities are not themed and can be kept out all year, but they are great for getting your students started with this choice board. Everyday activities include tidying your desk, reading a book, and catching up on unfinished work. Explain to your students that when they are done with their work, they can choose one of these activities to work on while they wait. After a week or two, you’ll be all set to begin adding the monthly tasks!
How do you find time to explain the tasks when they change each month?
For the most part, the activities only need to be fully explained once… when you first introduce the board! The beauty of this Fast Finishers board is that the activities mostly repeat– it’s the themes that change. For example, each month includes a Making Words activity. In September, students will make words from the letters in the phrase “Back to School.” In October, they will make words from the phrase “Trick or Treat,” and so on. Spend a little time in the beginning of the year explaining this activity, and students will understand what to do with it the next month and the next month!
After your initial introduction of the activities, I recommend setting aside 5-10 minutes at the beginning of each month to go over the board again. Use that time to review the activities, the new theme, and where to find the printables. Answer any questions that might pop up. Your students will be set for the month! In the event that someone needs a little more direction, you can have a student helper answer their questions.
How do you keep students from rushing through their work?
Before students can visit the choice board, I would have to approve their work. It doesn’t have to be a long or disruptive visit, but it’s important to have a system in place that ensures kiddos aren’t rushing, guessing, or skipping just to shout “I’m done!” and move on to something else. When you first introduce the Fast Finishers, model the appropriate way to complete work and have it quickly reviewed.
How do you make sure a student doesn’t pick the same activity every time?
I usually find that kids are pretty honest and will choose different activities. If you have a few that always want to pick Play-Doh, for example, you can try asking them to pick from the top row only (where you will not put a Play-Doh task), giving students a checklist of the activities, or making the Fast Finishers activities something that you glance at (but don’t necessarily grade) at the end of the month, giving students the idea that they should be completing a variety of activities.
How do you organize the copies/supplies? What if we can’t share supplies?
There are so many different ways to organize the materials! I shared this idea using an open-top hanging file container and bright hanging folders. Each printable gets its own file and students can easily grab the paper they need. It takes up very little space and can go anywhere!
Other options teachers have shared with me include a hanging file pocket chart, a book bin with individual folders, and a 10 drawer rolling cart. If group supplies are not possible, then I suggest creating a folder for each student with the printables included for the month!
Besides the printables for certain activities, there are minimal supplies needed. Play-Doh and construction paper can be kept in a bin beneath the pocket chart display. Just show the students where the materials are and you’re all set. Again, if group supplies are not possible, you can provide each student with a tub or two of Play-Doh and a few pieces of colored paper, or you can simply scrap those few activities for the month.
Do you have Fast Finishers for other grades?
Yes! You asked and I listened! I now have two sets of Fast Finishers: one for grades K-2 and a new set for grade 3-5! The 3-5 pack is very similar to the K-2 pack. It includes many of the same activities with more grade appropriate printables, as well as BRAND NEW activities geared toward grades 3-5 specifically! These are available in my TpT shop only right now.
I hope this blog post answered all of your Fast Finishers questions! If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact me via the contact form here on my website, or over on Instagram!