Be cautious--do not get frustrated with the ones that take a while, chances are they are learning and sometimes they may even do better than the ones that finished quickly. (Because they actually took their time and read carefully.) I also do not praise the ones that finish early--kids want to be praised, but praise them for working hard or taking their time, this will instill endurance, patience, concentration, and appreciation for their own work.
HOWEVER--we still have those students that just can't help it. When they get it, they get it! They are done in five minutes...and inevitably, they come up to you and say..."What do I do now?" So, I was reading a blog of a Kinder teacher and she had a fabulous idea called, "Fast Finishers." I decided to use part of her idea. However, I didn't want to call mine that--fearing that it would instill a bit of praise in just the title for rushing through work.
I've decided to call mine Early Birds. For any one that finishes early; they will look on the board and see what the Early Bird assignment is for today. I simply made a few signs to put on the board, I will just rotate them each day (or even every other day). The students will know exactly what is expected of them. The first week, I will spend explaining these assignments or activities so the students will know where to go and what to do from Day 1. Here are my different assignments and activities:
The students will be allowed to go to the back of the room and play my BOGGLE board. Here is another picture of my Boggle Board. :)
I got this idea from a fellow blogger. :) But the students will go select a class journal and write in it! Here is a picture of the journals! Go visit her link!
This one will not be done as often...but maybe as a reward for great class behavior. :) But the students will not get to go do something "more fun" than the students still working. These will be "by yourself" games at your seat. Such as matching synonyms, homophone sort, etc.
Obviously, the title says it all. I just get tired of telling my kids to "Go read a book." It becomes a phrase that makes the kids feel like they are bothering you. I like this phrase better. :)
You can make any signs you want that fit your class or the activities you already have made. I chose these because I knew they would work for me. Another choice is PUZZLES, I chose not to do that but plan on using puzzles as one of my "GAMES" components.
Be cautious of choosing activities that are "more fun" than what they other students are working on. I am not going to make a big deal out of the EARLY BIRDS--but simply have something educational for them to work on when they finish. My rewards will come for hard work, and taking your time; that is SO important!! Also, in your own class you might want to create a rule for when it is no longer EARLY BIRD time. (For example, when 14 kids are finished, that's not really EARLY BIRD time.) Just something to think about. :)