Even though I’m enjoying a much-needed Easter break today, I couldn’t press the pause-button on my 20 Days of Opinion Writing. I’m on a roll! Like so many teachers, my day off will be spent on a few errands that are hard to get done during a regular work day at school. The car will be at the mechanic’s today for it’s own version of a “spa day” – new brakes, transmission flush, etc. This is my last big break before the end of another school year so I won’t spend it all on chores and such, though. Tonight I will attend the Good Friday service at church, and I’m hoping the weather will cooperate for another outdoor run. I need those endorphins flowing through my system to get through the last days of the school year!
Early Finishers Dilemma
One thing I’ve really been struggling with during my Writing Workshop is what to do with my early finishers. We all have them. I think they must have some kind of achiever strength in them or something because they are those kids who are always finished lightning fast. Their mantra in life is, “What can I do now?” Bless their speedy little hearts. In the past I’ve tried having them add more details to their writing, but they get that done in what seems like only five seconds. Asking them to write another essay will earn you a look on their face as if you’ve just given them a week’s worth of recess detention. Letting them do little tasks around the room (sharpen pencils, sort papers) often delights them, but leaves me wondering if I’m not wasting their instructional time.
Suggestions for Early Finishers
Here’s a list of suggestions to get you started on keeping your early finishers busy when they declare they are done with their essay:
- Word Choice Task Cards (read more about how I use these cards with an earlier post I wrote)
- Early Finishers Task Cards – these cards offer more variety than the word choice cards, and having a plentiful supply of cards is a necessity when it comes to your early finishers as they tend to go through your resources at a much faster pace.
- Free Write in Journals
- Typing Completed Essays – what better way to practice keyboarding skills in an authentic context? Now that my school is a Google School, I’m looking forward to having kids type their essays in Google Docs. If you change the privacy settings, you can even comment on their work and have them revise their writing. I can’t wait to try that feature!
Here’s the link again for the free opinion prompt that is part of my 6-week opinion unit. Next week I will conclude my 20 days of opinion writing series with a focus on revising/editing, reflection, and meaningful data charts. Happy teaching! ~ Sally