Purposeful Fast Finisher Math Activities Your Students will LOVE!

Every classroom has them; students who are fast finishers! As teachers, we need to plan for our lessons, but we also have to plan in place with additional fast finishers' activities.  Better yet, how about planning purposeful fast finisher activities.  This does NOT need to be a lot of work and stress.  

Purposeful fast finisher math activities that your students will love

Managing Students who are Fast Finishers

Before thinking about how you will manage the students who finish work, ask yourself these questions: 

  • Have they really finished the task to the best of their ability? 
  • Have they checked their work to ensure it is complete?
  • If they are always done their work early, is the task too easy?  

The first and second questions can be easily answered by checking in with your student and setting expectations for what "done" looks like.  Perhaps they are rushing to the "first one done," as is the case in my first grade classroom.  There is never any prize for finishing first, but first graders feel so much power in saying "I'm done" before anyone else.  

Take care of your fast finishers by keeping them engaged with math activities that promote skill practice.

If your students complete the task thoroughly and to the best of their ability and are still whizzing through the work, then perhaps the work is too easy.  If this is the case, it is time to make sure you differentiate for your higher achievers.  Making a change to a more challenging task will keep them working longer and reduce the need to have other activities available to them.  

I'm Done. Now What?  Traditional fast finisher activities.

My go-to activities for fast finishers for first grade have been the standard:  read a book, draw in your doodle books or write in your journal.  None of these tasks are overly engaging, but they all have merit.  Students practice reading and writing, but wouldn't it be better to practice math skills when they finish early in math (or any other subject).

Purposeful Fast Finisher Activities

My fast finisher activities are math tubs that I use for centers, morning tubs, and fast finishers.  Each tub is filled with the necessary manipulative and several activities to go with it.  All of the material needed is in the tub so students can take it to a spot to work and get busy right away.  There is no lost time collecting manipulatives etc.  

Math fast finisher activities that are grab and go.  Put the manipulatives in a pencil box and add the activities to a bin and your are ready to go.

The benefits of using activities like this over traditional fast finisher are many; Students are more engaged in what they are doing - it is not another worksheet or page in their journal.  It is a hands-on activity. 

Students are practicing current unit math expectations or reviewing previously learned content which is beneficial for retention of the content.  Finally, students are encouraged to finish early because these tubs are highly desired tasks that they want to use.  

Try out one of these activities with your students and see if they like it!  Click on the image below to join my email list and access this free activity to use with your fast finishers or as a morning tub or math center.  The beauty of these activities is that they serve many needs in the classroom.  

Free Pattern block activity cards that are perfect for your fast finishers.

Are you interested in learning more about how you can use these activities in your classroom?  Check out this blog post that highlights how these activities can be used as part of your morning work or math center time.  

5 Simple Reasons Why You Need to Switch to Morning Tubs.

Before you go, take a minute to pin this post so you can return to it later! 

Try purposeful fast finishers activities that promote skill practice in math rather than the go-to activities of reading and writing in a journal.  It's a better use of your student's time.

Until next time, 

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