MAT Blog

5 More Engaging Activities for Early Finishers

Posted by Marygrove MAT on Jul 24, 2014 9:46:14 AM


As a student, I was rarely the first to complete my tests or in-class exercises, but when I was, I held onto my work until it was collected. Why? Because I didn’t want to be “rewarded” with more work. In other words, I didn’t want to select a time-killing ditto from the teacher’s filing cabinet.

If I didn’t want to work on dittos while the rest of the students completed their work, I know that my early finishers probably don’t either. So I’ve compiled a list of what I consider to be fun, creative, meaningful and self-directed learning activities that are not only unique enough to meet the needs of individual learners, but also push them to engage in higher-order thinking.

I recently posted a collection of 10 of my favorite activities for early finishers, but since then I’ve added a few more to my list.

5 More Engaging Activities for Early Finishers

Get it in writing: Set goals for the rest of the week
To keep students motivated and self-reflective, I like to have them complete goal-setting worksheets every week. These are simple writing exercises that ask students to set a learning goal and outline the steps they will take to achieve it.

Students have until Friday to submit the assignment, but if they complete their work early, they can take advantage of this free time by completing this goal-setting worksheet (If this worksheet doesn’t work for you, Worksheet Place has a nice collection of alternatives).

Listen, learn, and report
Another option my students have is to listen to a 15-Minute History podcast or watch a Crash Course episode and document what they learned in one paragraph. This activity is ideal for history students, but I think English students will also find it useful and entertaining.

Find a new book
My students used to always complain that they couldn’t find books that they liked, so I did a little bit of research and came up with five different websites that recommend books based the reader’s taste.
Book Wink, Whichbook, What Should I Read Next?, and Goodreads are my students’ favorite sites, but other worthy mentions include Book SeerandYour Next Read.

Practice a foreign language
I’ve toyed around with interactive language learning software like Rosetta Stone and Fluenz, but they certainly aren’t cheap. Purchased at a discount or even used, both programs approach the $300 mark. As an alternative, my early finishers have been using the following language-learning applications:

  • Gus on the Go ($3.99): This language learning app gives users the choice of learning 24 different languages.
  • Little Pim (Free) gives students a choice of learning eight different languages. Little Pim allows us to create profiles for students so we can track and assess their progress.
  • French Words for Kids ($3.99) provides 240 word-picture-audio combinations that teach students how to spell and pronounce French words.  Students cannavigate their waythrough three levels of difficulty
  • Duolingo (Free) uses timed practice drills, images and sounds to teach students Spanish, German, French, Portuguese, and Italian.

Research your family history
Many students know very little about their family history, but they can easily find out by using a free website called FamilySearch. Founded in 1894 and funded by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Family houses 2.5 billion names and is dedicated to preserving family records at absolutely no cost.

Photo credit: I like / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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