Today was a great day with the kids. Even staying at work so late, I was grateful everyone was safe and I came home to my puppies. I’m sure every teacher had a little more patience with their kids today.
We were asked not to speak about what happened in the classroom setting, which was hard because we had a moment of silence at 10:00 am to honor the tragedy. About half of my class knew what had happened on Friday. I’m sure there will be more questions.
In the midst of this, it is important to still stick to our schedule. And although I don’t want to ignore what has happened, I previously had a guest post scheduled for this week. Therefore, I’d still like to post it since I made the commitment. May you spend this week enjoying time with your families and your class.
Author Bio: Today’s guest post comes from Heather, she has been teaching 3rd grade for over 8 years and has a Masters Degree in Secondary and Professional Studies. She is a regular contributor to Teacher Lingo and to The Mailbox Magazine as a freelance writer. You can often find Heather writing for TeacherLingo.com, where teachers can buy and sell their original lesson plans, worksheets, and more.
Exceptional students-we all have them in our classroom. They are the students who zip through lessons and assignments before the other students barely finish reading the first set of directions. If you have a few early finishers in your classroom, it is very important to have a fool-proof plan in place that not only interests them, but challenges them and enables them to work independently without interrupting others. Here is how you can create enriching and independent activities for early finishers that coincide with the common core standards in your daily lesson plans.
Consider creating enrichment folders. Every student who finishes a lesson or activity early will say that they are bored and need something to work on. This can be frustrating to all parties’ involved-teachers, students, and parents! Eliminate boredom by sending home a planning sheet. This planning sheet will require students and their parents to sit down at home and discuss 4-5 personal and academic goals, as well as subject areas and topics that interest them. For example, a third grade student may be interested in learning about Roman Numerals in math, animal adaptations in science, creating PowerPoint presentations, and writing stories to share with classmates. The great thing about the planning sheet is that all activities are student selected, not teacher directed.
Next, once students turn in their planning sheet, you can begin gathering teaching resources to put in the folder or search age appropriate websites to direct students to so they can visit the sites to conduct research, receive subject tutorials, browse various resources, and utilize kid friendly technology to build on their background knowledge and interests.
You can include recording sheets, extension activities, books, and even worksheets that provide additional practice and guidance based on the activities created on the planning sheet. For example, if the student wanted to learn more about Roman Numerals, you can direct them to a website that will show students an informative video clip. Then, you can provide students with several websites to visit for guided practice identifying Roman Numerals. Finally, students can work on a few worksheets to do for independent practice to hand in for feedback and future guidance. They can also combine another one of their goals, creating a PowerPoint presentation; to teach their classmates what they have learned about Roman numerals. It is important to keep in mind that when you are putting together independent activities and experiences to combine goals and interests as often as possible to ensure that students are making the most of their time and are accomplishing all of their goals.
What do you do when students accomplish all of their work and goals in their enrichment folder? Simply send home a new planning sheet and repeat the process of gathering materials and utilizing teaching resources. Some students will complete all of their goals in a month or two, while others will work on completing their goals the entire year.
Be sure to have weekly or monthly “check ins” to have brief conferences to monitor progress, schedule a class presentation, and go over work handed in. These meetings are also necessary because it shows the student that you care and want to know about their independent activity progress and can offer additional resources and assistance if needed. Be sure to send home a note to parents to keep them updated on enrichment folder progress or challenges so they can not only stay informed, but help out at home as well.
Providing enrichment opportunities to early finishers is essential. Allow students to plan what they work on when finished early and with parental support and your guidance, they are being set up for a positive educational experience and academic success.