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Early Finisher Ideas for the Elementary Classroom

INTEGRATING Science and social studies INTO READING SERIES #6

Having engaging, meaningful and independent work for students who are done with classwork early is always a challenge. The key to “early finisher” activities is making sure they can be done independently, so students can begin them on their own and with what tools they have. One of my favorite ways to sneak in and incorporate science and social studies standards into the day is with early finisher activities. I’m going to share THREE of my favorite early finisher ideas for the elementary classroom here!

Choice Boards

Choice boards give kids freedom to pick something they are interested in, but that also is skills-based and teacher approved. They can be used for any skill, topic, or standard. I create choice boards with 9 options to cover various learning styles. I also like to provide options of varying difficulty to meet the needs of all learners in the classroom. Choice boards are a great way to extend learning of science and social studies standards. Students are engaged and excited to work on choice board activities!

Learning Videos

QR code videos (pre picked by the teacher) are an easy way to continue the learning when students are working independently after finishing a task. You can have students watch the short videos and/or fill in an activity page to go with it. Simply use a tablet to scan the QR code to begin watching!

If you are not sure how to make or use QR codes for videos in the classroom, check out my blog post about it here.

Hands-on Learning Puzzles or Task Cards

Learning puzzles and task cards are a favorite of mine because I can laminate them and reuse them year after year. Task card sets can be on any topic or skill. Use a storage container to set up multiple decks. When students have time, they can grab a deck and begin working! Students can keep their task card recording sheet in an easy to access place and continue where they left off each day.  Practicing content specific vocabulary with the puzzles is such an engaging way to keep students busy and learning. Print multiple decks for an easy grab-and-go early finisher activity.

Early finisher ideas conclusion

I hope these ideas are ones you can take to your classroom and use for your early finishers. If you try one out, let me know I’d love to hear! This is the LAST post in the integrating science and social studies series so if you missed the other posts in this series be sure check them out for other tips and tricks! 😊

Series introduction
how to integrate science and social studies text into reading
Ways to increase student vocabulary
How to write about the text
Engaging classroom learning centers