How To Conquer The Early Finisher Syndrome

We’ve all been there…It’s small group and station or center time.  You are in the middle of small group when you hear them!!! Those words of horror… “I’m done!  What can I do now?”  What do you do?  Sweat pops out between your shoulder blades and your mind goes blank.

Now I’m no superhero or even a super teacher but I have a solution!!!  So here I come to save the day!!!  Wait a minute…that was Mighty Mouse! Seriously, I really do have something that will save you from those sweats and blank minds!

Once upon a time, before there was the Internet, I found myself in need of SOMETHING that would keep my more advanced third graders challenged and enriched while I worked with my struggling students in small group. I began writing my ideas down in my spare (what’s that? today) time.  In turn, I would cut out monthly shapes with an Ellison machine; think of it as the Criket of its time.  I would put my ideas on the shapes which I had numbered and WALAHH! I had a bulletin board of challenge ideas for my early finishers.

All my students had a spiral notebook kept just for the challenge board. All my students knew to work on their challenge choices when their station or center work was completed.   They wrote down the challenge number and the challenge on the top lines of their paper and then began to work on the challenge.  Any time their classwork was completed, my students were allowed to get their challenge notebook and work on their chosen challenges.  I no longer heard those 7 words of horror and my more advanced students no longer had “idle hands” which could lead to disrupted station time and an angry teacher!

In my last few years in teaching in the public school system, my challenge board had to come down.  I needed the room for a focus board of objectives, standards, schedule, “I can…” statements for each subject I taught and other “required to be posted” things.   The challenges and enrichment ideas were brought down, but not forgotten.

Cue my retirement and as I was packing my schoolroom, guess what I found…yup!  My collection of bulletin board challenges and my TpT mind started thinking about how many teachers still need to keep students challenged and enriched in these times of “testing mania“.  As a result, I began creating my “Early Finish” challenges and enrichment activities for my store.  They are my way of striking back at the “testing  at all costs” mentality that has been the bane of teachers lives for the past few years!!

Here is one of my Early Finishers products created in honor of those teachers who know their students are more than a number on an End-Of-Grade test.  I know y’all will love this one!  Be  sure to check out all the other Early Finish products in my store!


Thanks for stopping by!



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