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I have a list of things they can do: (I teach 6th grade)
1. Write and illustrate a sentence using your vocabulary words
2. Write a historical fiction story using facts from the book as well as your vocabulary words
3. Draw a country or state flag and on the back list the continent, capital, population, language, exports
4. Word Mix (I choose a word or phrase and they have to come up with as many words as they can using just the letters in the word or phrase)
5. Read AR
6. Illustrate vocabulary words
I teach social studies so these things fit very well with my subject matter. I have these listed on the cabinet so the students can start on them as soon as they finish the work I have assigned.
__________________ My Angels: 1/6 @ 5W5D 6/17 @ 4W5D
With first graders my class keeps moving and changing tasks frequently. They don't have alot of down time other than first thing in the morning after finishing morning work. During seat work time they read when they are finished. They keep library books in their desk and I rotate books in their desk caddies. During centers I keep an extra activity in the bin for if they finish early. It may be a phonics board came, card sorting game, a memory game...Math centers always have several activities in each bin. More times they don't finish the task given rather than needing extra work.
I have Kindergarteners and if they finish early, they can get their book box and read silently. On the rare occasion they're doing a worksheet or something and I need to wait for all students to finish, they can draw a picture on the back or color the pictures on the worksheet if they have them.