I get lots of emails from teachers and 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?
Most likely, the work they are doing is simply too simple. The goal, then, is to give students a meaningful task to begin with, not to try to keep them busy because they finished a too-simple task quickly.
To do that, we need to:
- Pre-Assess, so we know who already gets it before we teach. This will free up time so that students can do more interesting things.
- Avoid those common differentiation anti-patterns to make sure we’re actually offering something different, not just more.
- Make sure we’re asking students to truly think (which is slow), not just remember (which is fast)
Rather than wondering what to do when students finish too quickly, plan ahead for something meaningful and interesting.