“Teacher, I’m done! Now what?!”
You’ve heard this question from your middle school students too many times to count.
You’ve made a vow to figure out once and for all what to give students who finish work early.
Well, you’re in luck because this list of early finisher activities for middle school students is just what you need.
Instead of assigning boring worksheets, engage fast finishers in your classroom with early finisher activities that stretch brain power, stimulate critical thinking, and offer tasks that middle school students actually enjoy.
These fast-finisher assignments can be adapted to fit with just about any subject area whether it’s science, math, social studies, art, or literacy.
What’s more, these exercises will challenge gifted students as well as struggling learners.
You will never again have to worry about what to do with your early finishers.
Early Finisher Activities For Middle School
1. Make Origami.
Origami is the Japanese art of transforming paper into decorative shapes.
Participating in origami tasks encourages middle schoolers to follow instructions and exercise mental concentration.
All you need for this early finisher task is a set of instructions plus colored paper.
See these middle school origami projects for inspiration.
2. Solve a Rubik’s Cube.
If you want to stimulate students’ critical thinking skills to the max, offer Rubik Cubes as one of your middle school early finisher activities.
Not only are these cubes fun to figure out plus engaging, but they encourage friendly competition among students because they will be eager to discover which classmates are able to solve the cube first or at all.
3. Conduct Research.
If you want to incorporate online tasks as part of your fast-finisher routines, consider having students conduct research.
Middle school is a great time to give more research assignments to students because they understand how to conduct research and have a foundation of topics in mind from which they can choose.
To get started, ask students to brainstorm a list of topics that they would like to explore further.
Alternatively, you could provide topics to students based on a current unit of study.
Afterward, students will do research on their topic using online search tools. They may record their information on a research template or in a notebook.
4. Solve a Crossword Puzzle or Word Search.
An easy middle school early finisher activity is to provide sheets of crossword puzzles or word searches for students to solve.
Make them connect to current units of topics in order to keep them educational.
Alternatively, you could challenge your middle schoolers to create a word search or crossword puzzle for classmates or younger students.
Provide them with a word search or crossword puzzle template.
They’ll choose words from a current unit of study, or they may select words related to concepts studied by younger students.
For example, they could create a language arts word search puzzle that reviews parts of speech such as nouns, verbs, and adjectives.
5. Complete a Reading Response Activity.
Have students respond to a book that they are currently reading.
They can do this by completing a graphic organizer, or they can answer a series of reader response questions.
Provide a variety of graphic organizers and reader response questions from which students may choose.
This allows for differentiation which addresses the needs of all learners … from gifted to struggling.
6. Draft a Reader’s Theater Script.
If you’re an ela teacher or a teacher who would like to integrate more literacy into your subject area, consider using reader’s theaters as one of your early finisher activities for middle school.
While your students may have participated in a reader’s theater in the past, most have never written a script.
Challenge them to draft an original script based on a current unit of study or topic of interest.
Be sure to first provide examples of scripts so that students understand their structure.
Also, give clear guidelines and expectations so that all students follow the same criteria.
7. Explore Brain Teasers.
Prompt critical thinking and mental concentration by having students solve challenging logic puzzles such as Sudoku, riddles, and math puzzles.
These make low-prep and engaging science centers that students can work on independently at their desks.
Sudoku puzzles are arguably one of the best early finisher activities for middle school because they come in different levels (great for addressing varying ability levels) and keep students focused until the very end.
8. Write a Letter of Gratitude.
Having a growth mindset is essential for success in school and life.
Support students’ journeys towards an optimal growth mindset by encouraging them to show gratitude to something or someone by writing a warm letter.
This task can be completed in their writing journals or on a special sheet of stylized paper provided by the teacher.
Final Thoughts On Middle School Early Finisher Activities
Figuring out what to do with students who finish work early is no longer an issue when you utilize these engaging early finisher activities for middle school.
Not only do these teaching resources reduce downtime and eliminate interruptions, but they also help students progress toward their academic goals.