Q&A: What do you do with those students that are fast-finishers?

From Santiago, Chile I got the following question:

What do you do with those students that are fast-finishers? I always make them help the rest of the class but I think I need a new strategy. Greetings from Santiago, Chile!


This a big concern to many teachers, because if not handled correctly it could definitely bring difficulties in classroom management and at the same time it would lead to the students that haven’t finished their work to feel unmotivated and maybe even rush through just to finish quickly. To avoid this, there are a few strategies you could implement:

  • Keep a folder:

One way to keep them busy is to keep a folder with extra worksheets. I try to make them fun activities, that don’t feel like more work. The objective of these worksheets is to give them extra practice, but to allow them to have a little fun. You could get great worksheets from these pages: Busy Teacher and iSL Collective.

  • Get them reading:

Try to have with you different reading material. I like bringing comic books, fun short stories, magazines, or links to resources they can check online (depending on the tech you have available to students during class). Again, the idea is to have fun reading material, so try to make it things your students are in to.

  • What now? strategy:

Be prepared by having a list of activities they can do when they finish. Here you can get tons of ideas as to how to set it up and what to include. I usually like to include topics that I know my students are struggling with and need extra practice on, or having them find an activity they can share with the class to reinforce a topic in the next class.

  • Write a six-word story:

This is a fun one! Have your students write a story using only six words. You can even put them up on a billboard so that they can be motivated to write really good ones.

  • Newspaper blackout:

I thought this one in particular was really cool. Again the end result can be put up somewhere in the room. Keep pages of old newspaper cutouts and have students black out all of the words until the only ones showing make a sentence saying something about themselves or maybe even a particular topic, and you could change the topic monthly depending on what you’re seeing in class.

I found those last two on this page, in case you want to read some more ideas.

Hope these help you out!


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