4th Grade Frenzy: Early Finishers - Warning! Not For Quiet Classrooms!
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April 18, 2022

Early Finishers - Warning! Not For Quiet Classrooms!

Early finisher tasks are often assigned to students who finish assignments before the rest of the class. Although these tasks can be worthwhile assignments, the early finishers themselves are an overlooked valuable asset. 

In many situations, the early finishers can act as coaches for students who are struggling to keep up. Coaches work particularly well when students are completing hands-on activities such as craftivities. 

One way to facilitate coaches could work like this:

1. The first wave of students finish an assignment.

Other students are at various stages of completion...anywhere from just finding their scissors to almost finished.

2. Have the early finishers clean up their own space.

While the early finishers clean up, notice the various stages of completion of the other students. Mentally consider which early finisher may be a good match up for slower workers.

3. Ask "Who would like a coach?" and "Who would like to be a coach?"

Just ask students who are still working if they would like a classmate as a coach to help them move along. Then ask who would like to help out and be a coach. Students who are still working and the early finishers love this opportunity! 

4. Pair up students.

You know who works well with whom. Match up coaches to students still working.

5. State your expectations.

As students settle in beside each other, tell them that talking is expected, but to make sure that indoor voices are used. Add your expectations for use of materials. 

6. Assign additional coaches.

Continue assigning those who finish with those who are still working.

7. Monitor.

Walk around and assist as necessary.  

Student coaches are a win-win situation! The early finishers get something to do that isn't just another assignment, the slower workers get a little push, and the teacher has no additional assignments to prepare or grade for the early finishers. You may find that students who tend to work slowly pick up the pace on their own so they get to be a coach!

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