Management Monday: Teacher, what do I do now?

How many times a day do your students ask you what they should do when they're finished? A MILLION. :) You gotta love em' for not just sitting there doing nothing while they wait, but sometimes I just kinda REALLY don't want to hear "what can I do now?".

  I made these fast finisher cards to hang on my board after I explain each independent activity.

Click {HERE} to download these

When they finish the independent activity, I have them look at the board and see what I've posted. Then, they can grab that fast finisher and work on a meaningful activity while the rest of the students finish up. I always go through each activity separately at the beginning of the year and throughout the year. I GO OVER MY EXPECTATIONS. This part of it is super important.

Explanation for each fast finisher:
Read a book:  I have books in a bin right next to each table {so I don't have wandering kiddos} and they can choose a book from there {these are separate from their book boxes for Daily 5}.

Marker boards: I have marker boards {shower board bought and cut at Lowes}, erasers {wash cloths}, and markers on a shelf. They can also grab a bag of flash cards and write the words from their flash cards {or even spelling or sight words}.

Puzzles:  I bought tons of puzzles from the Dollar Store and my kiddos love doing them {I hardly ever let them do this one...only if the are REALLY good ;) }. I cut the top of the box off {with the picture}, stick them in a ziploc and call it GOOD! :)

File Folder Games:  Over the years I have made lots of file folder games. They aren't my favorite, but the kids love them.  You can find some {here} for free at Kindergarten, Kindergarten and {here} for sale at DJ Inkers.

ABC Games:  Our team has OODLES of Lakeshore ABC games. They are great...minus all of the dang.tiny.pieces I find ALL OVER! :)

100's chart: I have a class set of 100's charts that are in page protectors so the kiddos can write with dry-erase markers on them.  You can grab my free 100's chart {here}.

Fast Finisher Folder:  I haven't quite made these, but I'm going to for sure!  Teacher Tipster is the one who introduced me to them and you can see that video {here}.

Math Game:  You know ALL of those fun math games you've been laminating, cutting, and putting in a million ziplocs?  You know....the ones you got from all of the fabulous blogs out there? USE THEM! :)

What else do you have your kiddos do for fast finishers {I'd love to get more ideas!!!!!}?

Clipart &/or fonts copyright DJ INKERS
Images copyright Thistle Girl Designs


Jodi said...

I love this idea :)


Katy said...

Love this! I always tell them what their fast finisher activity is, but I love having the picture reinforcement. Thanks for sharing! :)

Kindergarten Katy

Nancy S said...

This is great! I love this idea! Anyway you can make one that is called "Fun Packet" please? I make a monthly packet of word searches, puzzles, mazes, math practice for them to work on when they finish with work.


Anonymous said...

GREAT ideas as always...thanks for sharing!

Last year, I had a lot of high 2nd grade kiddos and I made a (laminated) book called, "Challenge Me!". It was 1/2 sheet of cardstock with blank crossword puzzles (they had to fill in words with beginning, middle and end sounds so it looked like a crossword puzzle with no letters in it-I'm happy to share since I'm visual and need to "see" what others are talking about!), an alphabet, a verb, noun and adjective page and a page for 2,3, 4 and 5+ syllable words. These last three were used with a magazine picture I projected (it could also just be hung on the board) that the kids referred to. I changed it weekly. On the alphabet page, they looked at the picture (usually an advertisement) and found as many words for each letter of the alphabet they could see represented in the picture. An add for laundry detergent might produce "white,", "clean", "bottle", "happy", "lady", etc. The nouns/verbs/adjectives were used with the same picture, but were in those categories. Same with the syllable words; use the picture and come up with words to describe.

I have also started using Teacher Tipster's "Pizza Pages"...check out that video!

Finally, in 2nd grade we do "Numbers Club", which is writing numbers (100 at a time) up to 2,000! It's amazing how a) challenging this can be and b) how much they LOVE it! they get a new page (stapled inside a colored file folder) when they master the previous one.

Anonymous said...

Ok, make that..." An ad", not "An add"-d'oh!

I also forgot to mention that the "Challenge Me!" books were bound with a plastic binding comb and I provided skinny dry erase markers that slid right into the binding so it could be stored AND used again and again, thanks to our good friend the laminator!

❋Karen❋ said...

It is funny that you posted this today, I just put this question out there on "We Teach" blog for first grade! Thanks for the great ideas! I saw on someone's blog: (sorry I can't remember whose, I follow A LOT) pattern block design sheets. I printed, put in page protectors and put in small tubs for the kids to grab and go. They like making the designs and it is a pretty quiet activity!
I'd love a sign for those! Thanks!

Sarah said...

These are fabulous ideas!!! And thanks for sharing the printables :) I usually just have my kids read quietly but I like the variety that you shared!

Kerri and Lindsay said...

AWESOME!! Just what I needed! You the bomb girl!
Kerri B

The Lemonade Stand said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Lemonade Stand said...

I love these! Thanks for sharing!

Chrissy said...

Thanks for sharing these great ideas! I have book boxes in the middle of each table, for children who finish before transition time. We have 32 readers to assess throughout the year, and, at the moment, their current books are also in the boxes.

I have a class that is 90% female and they love to draw! We dedicated a cute box to clipboards and drawing paper. Success!

Erica Bohrer said...

Great Ideas! Thanks for sharing.

Barbara said...

Thanks! Love your ideas.

Grade ONEderful

primary practice said...

Rachelle, Thanks for sharing these awesome printables!
Primary Practice

Ms. J said...

Thanks so much for this great freebie!!

Miss J
Smiles, Crayons, and Endless Stories

Leslie said...

Great idea!!

I have somthing similar called the Brainiac Club. They can work on their challenges and tell me their answers at recess only.

I wrote about it here:

Thanks again for sharing!!!


MMeyer said...

I also allow the students to use some Word Work materials such as letter magnets with metal trays, Wiki Sticks (also know as bend-a- roos), write around the room paper (which can be done from their seats as well). Students can write all the words they know from around the room.

Visit my blog at

lou + you said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lou + you said...

just wondering what the technical name for your "shower board"/dry erase boards are called? I would love to get some made at Lowes... just don't wanna look silly calling it something else. Thanks!!

Natasha Buckner said...

Love it!! How do I put your button on my blog? -Natasha

Brittani McFarlin said...

My "fast finishers" have the choice of marker boards to write the room, reading books, or drawing on Manila paper. I also gave each child a small container of play dough. They can play with it as long as their work is done. We have strict rules set if you are playing with it and your work is not done. Also, they are responsible for taking care of it. It has worked great, and is also great for their fine motor.

Kristin Young said...

This is a GENIUS idea!! I'm too overwhelmed with the list of options for kids who finish early. I don't have time to manage fifty extra half-done activities!! This is great. I'd add Sight Words because I always have kids who need to practice. These are rockin my world! Thank you!! :)

Little Miss Glamour Goes to Kindergarten

Amy Steidinger said...

I just LOVE this idea and want to use them in my future classroom! I am a first year teacher starting in August. Could you email me the editable version? Thanks!

Alison said...

I am also a first year teacher and would love the editable version! Email is

Thanks so much for the GREAT idea!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks a bunch! I appreciate you sharing your fab. ideas.

Anonymous said...

These are awesome! Can you email me the editable version or let me know what font you used because I would like to make some of my own. Thanks so much!

Neha Chopra said...

Thank you so much. This was just what i was looking for. I also let my children work with play dough, and let them make designs with foam shapes.

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