Fast Finishers - help!

Discussion in 'General Education' started by sandytoes, Jul 16, 2014.

  1. sandytoes

    sandytoes Rookie

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    This year I really want to incorporate fast finisher task cards from day one. In the past I've done them at random times throughout the year but never had success. My biggest downfall is that I teach middle school and if it's not being graded they don't want to do it.

    I love the idea of the fast finisher task cards and have come across some really neat and intriguing ones. My question is, how can I get students to do them .... but not affecting the ones who never get to them. I was thinking like if you do X amount you get 10 extra credit points for the quarter...if you do X amount you get 8 extra credit points...but then I fear students would do the X amount right away then be done by middle of September lol.

    Please help!! :help: Thanks SOO much in advance!!
     
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  3. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    What do they do if they're not doing them? Do they just sit and do nothing? That's simply unacceptable in my classroom and students would be penalized for that. Everything I give them to do is completed no matter what. Sitting and not doing work would lead to a consequence.
     
  4. sandytoes

    sandytoes Rookie

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    It's middle school they want to socialize. This past year "free reading" just wasn't an option as not many brought a free reading book to class. What kind of consequence do you give for "not doing work"....I don't think that's something our administration would support as an infraction.
     
  5. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    And they will socialize and they will walk all over you if you let them. I'm not saying not to do the fast finisher cards what I'm saying is it shouldn't be acceptable for them to sit and do nothing instead. You don't think your administration would support you in giving a consequence to a child who refuses to do their work and sits and does nothing instead?

    It might start with having to finish the work for homework or at lunch, and go to calling/writing home or even detention. If you're telling them they need to do the work and they're not doing it, they're deliberately disobeying you. Don't let your class be the one where they think they can get away with hurrying through their work and sitting around doing nothing. Some might decide they don't even care about or need or want the extra credit and they will continue to sit and do nothing.
     
  6. Elocin

    Elocin Comrade

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    Jul 16, 2014

    I have a "I'm Done....Now What?" bulletin board in my room that students can check when they are done. I change it up sometimes but the things that are always on it:

    - Make sure daily journals are caught up (that's a bellringer but some kids might come in late, be absent, etc)
    -Start homework
    -Study vocabulary
    -Work on Greek Roots book

    The Greek Roots book is a year long project that I introduce at the beginning of the year that they have an open notes test on at the end of the year (with check-ins at announced dates). They can work on it in their free time (homeroom, end of class, etc) or sometimes I scheduled time for them to work on it-such as when we have 30 minutes at the end of the day because of an assembly or some other schedule change. I can send you the info if you PM me. It's a great early finisher activity and the kids are motivated because the better they do on the book, they easier the open notes test is!
     
  7. sandytoes

    sandytoes Rookie

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    iteachbx.....ok first of all I'm feeling as you are talking down to me. :mellow: You also must teach in one of those "fairytale classrooms"! You are lucky because unfortunately I deal with a VERY diverse group of students. I am a teacher identified with excellent classroom management skills...my students DO NOT walk all over me. Most of the time 90% of them use the time to work on that nights homework or something do later in the week. I'm talking about a small percentage of students. Not doing "something not graded" won't be supported, that is not considered defiant as opposed to a student that isn't doing the work to show he/she is meeting common core standards. I am looking to incorporate something new and fun this year and I see it ALL OVER the internet, just curious about the management piece.

    How would I ever be able to assign John Doe detention for not doing the "fast finisher task card" when Jane Doe never has time to get to one because she takes more time to finish her work or struggles through it and needs more of my assistance? Plus how would parents/guardians ever be on board with giving their child a detention because they didn't finish something that not everyone has to do. I am clearly aware that fair is giving everyone what they need, not giving everyone the same thing, but that is a difficult concept for young children & some parents!

    I came on here to see how other teachers use fast finisher cards because I know I can't be the ONLY one who foresees these kinds of roadblocks. :dunno: :help:
     
  8. sandytoes

    sandytoes Rookie

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    Elocin, thanks! Yes, I have those posted and they work well. We do bell ringers, they make sure they have any homework done, or missing work in, they can redo an assignment or a quiz, or read. I just want to provide them with some fun but rigorous task cards that they would enjoy doing and might give them some extra points because at one point or another they start asking about extra credit. Although, I have a policy that if there is any assignment or quiz that is missing they are not allowed any extra credit until the work is in. I also start with them correcting any assignment/quiz to try to improve their grade but only letting them try once again.

    Anyways, I'd love to see your greek roots book! That is something we visit at various times throughout the year in my classroom!
     
  9. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    As a gifted student I would have destroyed any teacher who punished me for working quickly. I can't understand why you would consider punishing a child who works quickly.

    ctoft, how often is this happening and with how many kids? Is it possible you aren't timing your lessons well? That is step 1.

    Assuming you are and you just have a few high-flyers a high interest bookshelf will do you wonders. I had this same problem early in my career. All students are expected to have their own books to read at my school but few enjoy them. I started building a collection of books I knew they would enjoy and I haven't had a problem since. Kids that finish early are more than happy to go to the shelf and get a book or magazine to read.

    I don't know what subject you teach but you can find great books and magazines for any of them. If you can't, get a Game Informer subscription and I guarantee your boys will never be a problem again.
     
  10. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Part of it comes down to why they're early finishers. If they're finishing early because the work is too easy, then find an appropriate way to challenge them. If they're finishing early because they are rushing, then make them do it again.
     
  11. sandytoes

    sandytoes Rookie

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    First of all, I'm not interested in punishing ANYONE. That's not what I'm looking for here!! Work completion is a struggle in my school with our population. So most teachers provide in class work time for students to do homework and I also highly favor that because I am there to clarify any questions, work with those who are confused or need extra guidance. The early finishers will be designed to challenge students. My students are not rushing through their work, I know and guarantee that. I have shelves full of novels, graphic novels, and non fiction books with lots of diagrams and photos, things that of their interest, but eventually they look through them all. I'm looking for teachers that use this strategy and have it in place and it works like a well oiled machine and to learn from that. I'm not a new teacher, but I'm not a vet. I am a very competent teacher with great pace and management. Just looking into something new that really interests me but I foresee roadblocks that I have shared and trying to see if there is anyone else out there that has experienced this, done this, and what they have done to manage/overcome it. Right now, I can't help but feel like a terrible teacher from these comments.
     
  12. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    sandytoes, I have a bit of an idea of what you are going through. While teaching 3rd and 4th grade, I was able to get the students excited about doing some other learning activities when they are done...5th and 7th weren't so easy. They just wanted to sit there or socialize...even when they got in trouble.

    I did find something that worked fairly well late last year. I worked hard to build up my classroom library and promote it. After reading a bit of some of the better books aloud, students began checking out books and wanting to read them when they were done with their work. All students? No, only when I am dreaming. This other one might sound a bit manipulative, but hey it worked. I started giving a bit more homework, but I started allowing them to start it in class. I figure if they waste time in class, a bit more homework can be handled. Many students loved getting a head start on homework. Also, I did have some good learning computer sites that a few could go on when they are done with the work. I am really picky about which sites, because I do want them to still do academic learning even after they are done. Finally, I did work with the couple students left to make it clear that if they didn't choose something that they would like to do when they are finished with their work, I would choose. (I did say it much nicer than that, but they knew I meant it).

    Excellent post...IMO it is one of the most challenging items with grades 5-8
     
  13. scooter503

    scooter503 Comrade

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    Elocin I sent you a PM.
     
  14. LiterallyLisa

    LiterallyLisa Companion

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    Jul 16, 2014

    I have this issue as well, when 2 or 3 students finish, they will turn and try and distract the ones who are still working..or when one group finishes before all of the others..sigh.

    I have a poster as well, "read your book, write in your journal, complete your reading response letter, work on unfinished work/HW, practice vocabulary on the computer, study vocabulary"

    I've looked at task cards as well, but have the same issues as you. How do I make them care about them, if not everyone will even get to them?

    I'm still thinking on it :p Extra credit is a good idea.
     
  15. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    Well you're assumption is pretty far off. I actually teach in a Title 1 school in a tough neighborhood in the poorest congressional district in the United States. My students are all on free lunch, most are in single parent homes, some are homeless, have parents in prison, are foster children, are new to the country, live in the projects, etc. etc.

    I was not trying to speak down to you but from the way you made it seem is that students just aren't doing what you're asking them to do. Whether the work is being graded or not, fun or not, if you're asking them to do something, they should do it. It's not a matter of what they did or did or didn't do, it's a matter of simply following directions. Joe Doe isn't getting detention (it doesn't even need to be that consequence) for not doing the fun activity, he's getting in trouble for not listening to the teacher.

    Maybe they don't have to do the fast finisher card if they don't want to, but what are they going to do instead? That's the part I'm confused about. If they're not doing it, then they're just sitting and doing nothing for part of the time they're in class?
     
  16. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Iteachbx, this is not as simple as you make it seem. For some schools, that would be the climate. Others, not so much. I agree with you, but I've only had one principal out of five that would support such a policy. In fact, after that principal left or school, I tried to give a consequence for a student not doing extra work and got called on the carpet for it. The student put his head down for a nap after doing a half________ job on the assignment. I told him to recheck his work, he refused.I told him to start working on his project, he said he had it at home (not due for a while). I gave him a more challenging problem, he put his head down again. Eventually his insubordination became a problem in itself and when I assigned a consequence for that it was made clear that "punishing" a student for working faster by giving him more work would not be tolerated. It is all in how one looks at it and who makes the big decisions.
     
  17. sandytoes

    sandytoes Rookie

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    2ndTimeAround....you are SO right. Our administration would not support it as I've said. I've chatted with my friends who are teachers because they understand our clientele and one of the best ideas I've heard was to make X number of fast finishers worth a piece of gum. Granted the work is done well. Our kidds are gaga over gum and I think that this would work well. I still think that there are some that wouldn't buy into it so I'm really thinking of making this a small participation grade. And students who just don't get to them in class will have to take them home. Or if not that, they will have to read X amount of minutes and write a summary and get a parent signature.
     
  18. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    sandytoes,

    I agree with everything that you have said, until you got to the gum. One year our P got desperate and decided to use gum to bribe the students. We had gum stuck all over campus. Also, once the students got less excited about gum, we were stuck (pun intended). The only solution was to keep giving students better and better rewards or realize this reward thing won't work in the long run.

    I would give students 4 or 5 choices of what to do when they are done. Those who don't choose, you let them know that you will choose. If they still don't do that, then have a small consequence. You will soon get everyone on board except your toughest students. For your toughest students...well it always takes a bit of creativity with them.
     
  19. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    I wouldn't support the gum idea at my site. I could foresee gum under desks, under chairs, or stuck elsewhere.
     
  20. sandytoes

    sandytoes Rookie

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    Shockingly enough...our students are very responsible with their gum. It has NEVER been an issue in our school. Interesting how things work and don't work depending on where you are at huh?! :)
     
  21. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Sounds like you have found your solutions. Good luck to you.
     
  22. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    How about something ongoing like a 1,000 piece puzzle, latch hook, etc.?
     
  23. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    you could make an X number of task cards required for the grading period. Then students that finish early can get a head start on them. Students that are slower to finish can have them assigned as homework during the last days of the period.
     
  24. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    I always had a really difficult and complicated jigsaw puzzle set up in the back of my room. There were art supplies back there, too. Early finishers who do a good job should be rewarded, not punished with even MORE of the same kind of work. Or any kind of "work."
     
  25. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I really like the idea of having a challenging jigsaw puzzle set up. This coming year, I will have more space in my room and I think I'm going to give this a try.
     
  26. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Wouldn't this just encourage kids to work faster with less effort?

    If the problem really is not that kids are finishing fast because they are good students but because they aren't interested in working then fast finishing isn't really the problem that needs to be solved.
     

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