Early Finishers

tips for early finishers.pngWhat in the world do you do with early finishers? This is a big question for teachers! I think it is important to teach your students to check their work when finished. Teaching students to improve their work when they think they are finished is a valuable lesson. But, after that, there are always going to be a handful of students who will finish their work sooner than the rest of the class. So, back to the question … What do you do? Sitting and waiting for the rest of the class to finish or doing busy work can be very boring and is not giving these students a chance to continue learning. Here are some of my favorite ideas for early finishers!

Set up a system for students so they can find out what to do without disrupting the class or asking you while you are helping other students. I love this display that can be set up at the front of the room.  The signs can be switched out depending on what you want the students to do each day.

 

 

Make sure your students know your expectations so they are not off task or disruptive. This poster is a great example and it is free! You could also make an anchor chart.

Have a place to organize the materials and supplies the students need for the activities to minimize questions such as “where do I get paper for _____ …. ?”

Extension menus are great for independent work. I like this reading menu, but you could make a menu for any subject. For example, if you are working on place value you could have a menu with place value activities for students to choose from.

Bulletin boards such as Boggle or Noggle can be fun! You can change the numbers or letters out every week or two. You could even put some students in charge of updating the board and making the answer key!

Stem Bins are a great hands on activity. Lots of fun while building reasoning skills.

Partner games and centers are a way to let your students interact with others while practicing skills.

Computer games and websites can be great learning tools. Make sure you set procedures up for how to get online and which sites students will go. Here are some of my favorites!

For more great ideas check out my early finishers board on Pinterest!

Back to School Get to Know You Activities

back to school 10 ideasThe first week of school is an important week that sets the tone for your whole year. Taking time to get to know your students and for them to get to know each other helps build a classroom of community and caring.  Here are some of my favorite ideas for back to school activities. I wish there was time to do them all!

I love to read The Important Book to my students! It is a short, but sweet book with a great message about being yourself. After reading the book, I give my students index cards and have them write important things about themselves that they would like to share me and with the class. Once they have written their cards, I pick them up and shuffle. I read one card at a time without saying whose card it is and the other students guess whose card it is. A fun way to learn about each other!

back to school cards

 

Another activity that would go along great with the book is to have your students make posters about themselves to hang around the room.  This All About Me Craft would be perfect!

 

Who doesn’t love a great selfie?

 

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You could have your students draw “selfies” or make collages of themselves doing a favorite hobby or activity.  Then have students share the “selfies” with the class.

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Another idea for selfies is this selfie project which looks like so much fun! Download it for free!

 

 

Get your students moving while you have a beach ball toss with questions designed to get to know one another!

 

And while you are up, play a game of switch sides if …

 

Student searches can also be a lot of fun! Here is a free download.

 

I remember making an “All About Me” bag for a class when I was in high school.  We decorated the outside with magazine pictures and words and then brought the bag back to school with a few things inside to share. Here is a free download with instructions from A Love For Teaching:

 

 

How cute is this cootie catcher?  Way cute, right!

 

Need ideas for Back to School Math?

 

How about Science?

 

For more great ideas, check out my Back To School Board on Pinterest.

Decomposing Fractions in Upper Elementary

simplifying

There have been a lot of changes in Math objectives and instruction over the past few years. One change that I wasn’t so sure about at first was “decomposing fractions“.  At the time I was teaching third grade and there were already so many fraction concepts to teach. But, let me tell you, after working with my students on decomposing fractions, I see that they understand fractions a lot better than when we just labeled the fractions. Composing and decomposing the fractions helps them to really see how the parts and wholes relate. Now that I am tutoring 4th, 5th and 6th graders, I see how decomposing fractions really helps them to understand the “bigger” things that they do. Continue reading