Whether in workshops or via email, one of the most common questions I hear is:
What do I do with my early finishers?
But, friends, I do believe that this is the wrong question. What we should ask is: why are students finishing so fast in the first place?
Imagine A Meal
Imagine that you’ve cooked a meal for a large group. But your “meal” consists of a handful of tiny appetizers. And that’s it. If someone came up and says that they’re finished, you wouldn’t say “What the heck do I do with this early finisher!?” right?
The answer is obvious! Just give them the next course! This person is ready for the entrée! You wouldn’t bring them more of the same appetizer, right? They need something hefty!
Back To School!
So… why do some kids finish so darn quickly?
Well, many of the tasks we assign are aimed at a low level of Bloom’s Taxonomy. It’s likely that the work they are doing is simply too simple for some students. They’re ready for the entrée!
The solution for early finishers is to plan a sufficiently complex task to begin with, not to try to keep them busy once they finish.
A great task will climb Bloom’s Taxonomy. It might start at Remember. But then it’s going to ask students to Apply. There will be a step where students Analyze. They’ll Evaluate. And so on.
Now, not every kid will get to every step. But that’s the idea! Not every dinner guest will finish every course. A lot of people might skip dessert (or just have a bite!). But we’re planning tasks that have room to grow. People may not want after-dinner snacks, but gosh-darn we’re going to be ready with them, right!
So, to plan ahead for advanced students: