Students Who Finish Work Early
I have always struggled with students who finish work early. I don’t want to punish the students by having them do more work, but I also need to give the other students extra time to finish. At a professional development last summer, someone mentioned extra time centers for students who finish work early. A place to put fun games and activities that focus on literacy or math. I love to place technology into these bins as well. Some ideas I enjoy using are write about it, math fact games, or digital storytelling. I also include previously learned math centers. Students have the choice which bin they use. I loved this idea! I just had to think of a fun name to go with coffee.
“Dessert Bins” for Students who Finish Work Early
I decided on dessert bins. Who doesn’t want dessert with some coffee? Education Coffee Break came from my love from coffee so why not incorporate it into my classroom as well. After students learn and have their main course, they enjoy a dessert bins while others finish. Dessert centers for students who finish work early allow me the time to help others finish or work with a student who is struggling.
Rules and Routines of Dessert Bins
I taught my students that after they are done their “main course” (their work) then they can have dessert. We talked about what happens when you don’t finish your meal or are too full, you don’t get dessert that day. Other times there is no dessert and that’s okay too. Once my students understood the rules they were set. My students know the expectations of the centers.
My students love the activities and going to the dessert bins. They are still working on important skills and learning, but they are doing so in a fun and interactive way. Students also get a chance to work with friends and socialize along with learning. I have never seen students work so hard in extra time. My students who used to dread working on sight words are having a blast.
Materials in the Bins
I have a lot of different materials I rotate into the dessert bins. These don’t have to be hard. As I previously mentioned, I use previously taught games for reading centers or guided math groups. I have CVC games with different themes for the season. This game is similar to POP! They pull a card out, read the word, if they get the card that says miss a turn or put a card back in. The winner is the person who has the most. I use almost the same words but different themed pictures. I also have sight word and phrase cards for the students to read. They try to read as many cards as they can in 1-2 minutes, then they try again for a faster time. I have basic sequence games, math flash cards, writing prompts, math games, etc. Students have choice in their extra time.
Just Dessert Bins?
If students don’t want to do one of the dessert bins, they are free to do something else extra time such as read, write in their journal, practice sight words or work in their extra time folder with their unfinished work.
Freebie!! Download the dessert bin pictures and use baskets or tubs to organize your materials. I rotate a bin out every few weeks to keep it interesting.
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