Fast finishers are those students who usually complete the given tasks before their classmates. Sometimes, it has to do with the fact the child is hyperactive, talented for the subject in question, or has above-average intelligence.

Every teacher knows that not all kids learn or finish the assignment they’ve been given at the same time. Some need more time, and then there are those who finish before everyone else. And as teachers, we have to always be ready to engage our fast finishers in other activities so that they wouldn’t sit idly waiting for the next task.

Draw Something

This type of activity is one of the most used among teachers as it requires nothing besides a pencil and a piece of paper. Your students can draw anything they like, or you can give them some ideas like: draw a picture of your family, draw your best friend, think about the day you were most happy and how it made you feel then illustrate it any way you want, etc. This way you help your students think creatively and also keep them busy while the rest of the class finishes.

Playing with Play-Doh

Play-doh is excellent sensory-perceptual material to explore, small children can make a variety of things and develop fine motor skills while older children can express their creativity. You can teach colors by giving your youngest students a set of little plastic items and they should match them with the color of the Play-Doh.

Creative Writing

Your students can simply write down their random thoughts, ideas, schedule activities for the day, write a short story or start writing a chapter of their own novels. This way, the students practice their writing and spelling skills, while developing creative thinking at the same time. You can also let them know that they can share their writing with you if they want once the class has finished.

Classroom Library

Bringing several books into your classroom can prove to be very beneficial. These should be books that are relevant for your students and that you think will be interesting to them. Pupils who finish fast can choose which book they want to read and do it in silence while their classmates finish their assignments.

This will be extra useful for your visual learners: Learning a Language by Reading, Writing, and Watching

Finishing Homework

Finishing tomorrow’s homework will ensure that your student does the work necessary for next class and will also give them more free time to play around and enjoy their favorite leisure activities once school’s finished for the day. In addition, students perform better while they are in a learning environment, it is easier for them to focus on the task at hand, thus it will be easier for them to do their homework.

Spelling Practice

If you have taught vocabulary that day, you can assign your fast finishers with the task of writing each new vocabulary item in their notebooks three times. This will help them remember the words more easily while practising their spelling at the same time.

Research Report

If your classroom has a computer, your fast finishers can do research on just about any topic that interests them and they want to know more about and write a short report. You can guide them by telling them to ask themselves 3-5 questions and answer them when they are writing. Children are inquisitive by nature, and it is certain they will enjoy this activity a lot. If they wish to share their report with you and/or their classmates, they can do so at the end of the class or the beginning of the next.

Cleaning Out their Desk

An activity that doesn’t last long but can be very helpful. If your students’ working space is nice and tidy, it is more likely their productivity will increase. They will know where their book or pen is without having to look for it, so they will be ready to tackle a new task as soon as you assign it.

Dollar Words

Assign a value to each letter of the alphabet on your alphabet board (ex: A=0.01 B=0.02 F=0.06). Your fast finishers need to try and come up with a word that will amount to a total of $1. It’s fun and useful! They will be practicing their vocabulary, learning new words and practice their math too. You can occasionally change the value of your letters to make it more fun for your students.

“I’m Done! Now What?” Jar

This clever Pinterest idea is something that is fairly easy to incorporate into your classroom, but so fun that it will make all of your students want to finish fast. All you will need is a plastic jar and pieces of paper that will serve as your task cards that the students created earlier. Instead of asking “What now,?” your student(s) will go and take out a card from the jar. They then have to finish that task and cannot move on to another task unless they have finished the first one.

I'm Done Jar

It is important to maintain a productive working atmosphere in your classroom and pupils who finish fast can oftentimes distract the rest of the class as they wiggle impatiently in their chairs waiting for you to assign a new task. That’s why it’s important to give them something extra to do to keep their minds busy and preserve the quiet order of your classroom. At the same time, your students will be practicing different skills through different activities and have fun while they’re at it.

Want more tips like this? Visit our Teaching Tips blog. Or offer the students an extra leg up with our Language Learning Tips.

About the Author

Milica Madić, a freelance article/blog writer from Serbia, with experience in teaching and working with young learners.