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Thursday, June 16, 2011

What to do with Fast Finishers

Every class always has those students, the fast finishers.  Without direction on what to do next these fast finishers can quickly turn a quiet working classroom into free time.

Jill recently posted a great comment and asked what do my students, who are done with their independent work, do next?

My students have a couple of options...

1.  Independent Math Game
2.  Brain Teasers
3.  Extra Review Math Packet

There are several great resource books out there, such as Take it To Your Seat by Evan Moor.  With a little assembling you can make an independent math games for students to grab as they are finished with their math work.  TCR has a series of great books here that are Math Brain Teasers. They come in different grade levels.  I have a couple grade levels, for the different abilities in my classroom.  I copy the pages and laminate.

**A good tip is to mount the pages on construction paper before laminating.  Designate a color for the challenge level.

For example:  Purple equals HARD
                      Blue equals HARDER
                      Yellow equals HARDEST

This ways students can easy spot which puzzles are more challenging, just right or too easy for them.**

These pages go into a bin.  As students finish their math workbook pages they are to grab either a game or brain teaser.

Also Suduko or Kukuro are great math logic puzzles you can teach your students.  Teach students the most basic level first and they themselves will move up to more challenging as they are ready.  You can copy puzzles off the internet and laminate for repeated use.  I bought a book for kids that has four levels.  I teach the first level as a whole group, so they can grasp the concept.  I copy puzzles from various levels and have them on hand for fast finishers.

For each math unit I also put together a packet of pages that help review and practice the concept I want them to master.  This is a packet that they work on after the math book pages.

REMEMBER.... you have to teach students about this option.  You will have to model and practice getting, cleaning, and returning the materials.  Make a chart that lists what they can do when they are finish with their math independent work and display it in a spot where they can see and be reminded of what to do next.

I hope this helps!

What are some of your favorite fast finisher activities?  Feel free to share in the comments section.


  1. Wow, thanks! I really appreciate that you took the time to write a whole entry. Thanks for all the resources also!

    I never even thought of Sudoku, but that is a great idea along with your others! They take a bit of time to do and the students have a chance to use their brains in a different way.

    Magnificent Multiagers!

  2. I love those ideas!! Thanks!

  3. What do you do with the kids who rush through their work to do a Fast Finisher activity? I'm wanting to create some activities for my kinders next year but am worried that they'll rush through just to do the next thing. I already feel like I'm constantly saying "It's not a race!"

    Little Miss Glamour goes to Kindergarten

  4. Mary,
    I have my kids doing math journals using story problems. The kids love writing in them and have done a really good job. I'm going to send people back here for more ideas...I love your site!


    Rockin' Teacher Materials

  5. Fast finishers students are gifted with their math skills in solving equations. They are the one who excel in solving at the same time having fun solving ,challenging for them.

    Jojo @ Math worksheets online