“Teacher, I’m done! Now what?”
As educators, we’re all familiar with this enthusiastic yet challenging cry from fast finishers.
While some students seem to breeze through assignments effortlessly, others require more time and support to complete the tasks at hand.
As a result, managing the diverse needs of students can be a balancing act.
That’s where fast-finisher activities come in.
These purposeful tasks keep students inspired, focused, and intellectually stimulated, even after they complete other assignments.
They are the perfect answer to the age-old question of “What should I do now?”
Instead of letting their spare time go to waste, fast finishers can stay focused on tasks that reinforce skills, encourage creativity, and foster independent thinking.
This post includes an array of good fast-finisher activities that cater to a wide range of interests and learning styles.
Whether you teach elementary, middle, or high school, these activities can be easily adapted and integrated into your daily routine to make the most of every minute in the classroom.
1. Work On an ABC Book.
ABC books aren’t just for younger students. They can be used as vocabulary activities for any grade or subject.
To do this fun fast finisher activity, provide students with an ABC template.
After reading a book or completing a unit, they will brainstorm a word related to the lesson or text for each letter of the alphabet.
On each respective page, students will write the word, sketch an image, and write a small caption, summary, or description of the word.
Once all letters are complete, students will arrange the pages to make an ABC book.
2. Read Independently.
Encourage students to choose books appropriate for their reading level and interests.
If your classroom budget and space allow, provide bean bag seats for students to relax in as they read.
Also, consider keeping a bin of books from various genres along with a list of book recommendations in a special location.
Encourage students to explore these high-interest books at their leisure.
To motivate students even further, give them a reading challenge sheet so that they aim to read a certain amount of books within a specified timeframe.
3. React to a Writing Prompt.
Support students in strengthening their writing skills, expressing their thoughts, and improving their concentration by asking them to respond to a writing prompt as a fast finisher activity.
No matter the grade or subject you teach, there is a writing prompt to serve your needs.
See writing prompt ideas.
If you feel that no prompt fits your teaching focus, seasonal writing prompts are a good choice because they apply to all classroom settings.
4. Do an Arts and Crafts Project.
Students love doing arts and crafts projects even though there isn’t much school time given to the fun tasks.
Incorporate more hands-on projects into your curriculum by simply adding them as fast-finisher activities.
Good starter projects include mosaic art, musical instruments, pet rocks, and brown paper bag puppets.
Also, don’t forget about seasonal arts and crafts projects. There is no shortage of ideas; just do a quick online search.
5. Complete a Book Report.
Boost students’ reading comprehension skills and vocabulary by assigning book reports as fast-finisher activities.
After students read a book, they will complete a book report about it.
6. Design a Puzzle.
While completing a puzzle is something that students have done in the past, designing their own custom puzzle is a task that they probably haven’t yet done.
To have success with this fast finisher, first give students an opportunity to review puzzles such as Sudoku, word searches, and crossword puzzles.
Doing this allows them to note the structure of each and gain inspiration.
Afterward, challenge them to choose one type of puzzle and create a unique one.
Collect all student-made puzzles to use as future early finisher activities.
7. Challenge Yourself With Brain Teasers.
Brain teasers include mad libs, Sudoku, trivia questions, math puzzles, riddles, and any other tasks that require students to problem-solve plus think outside of the box.
Brain teasers make great activities for fast finishers because they promote critical thinking, engage students fully, and help students improve their academic skills.
Start by sharing with students the following fun brain teasers.
8. Conduct Research and Graph Results.
Ask students to choose a nonfiction topic to research such as recycling, a holiday, healthy eating, exercise, plants, etc.
After doing research to discover at least ten new facts about their chosen topics, have students create a chart or graph that highlights some type of important information about the topic.
9. Utilize Printables.
While some teachers frown on the use of worksheets, they can be useful in helping students to review skills or practice basic facts.
All you need to provide is a packet of exercises based on your grade level’s learning objectives.
Once students finish a classroom assignment, they know to immediately begin working on the packet.
This idea is simple and straight to the point.
These activities for fast finishers offer the perfect solutions to what students can do when they finish their work early.
These engaging exercises will keep focused students of different ability levels and can be modified to serve all ages.