15 June 2016

Early Finishers

It's summertime and I'm excited to finally find some time to blog and work on some of my unfinished projects.  One of those projects was to make a smaller version of my Early Finisher Calendars.
Let me start by explaining what my Early Finisher Calendars are.  They are calendars that I created specifically for my second graders that finish early.  You know, the ones that finish everything in record breaking time.  I wanted to have engaging activities to work on that were meaningful, but didn't require a lot of materials and preparation on my part.  These calendars were the perfect solution!  My students enjoyed working on the activities and were no longer asking the age old question, what do I do next?

When I first began using these calendars, I simply displayed each calendar on my Smartboard.  This worked great, because it was nice and large and they could easily see it from their seat.  Ultimately, this wasn't a long time solution for me, since about 80% of the day, my Smartboard is being used for one thing or another.  My next plan was to print 5 colored copies and place them in the same place they grab their station work.  This made it easy for students to grab the calendars and go.  This worked out great, but I soon discovered that 5 copies was not nearly enough. Last year, I found myself having to make several extra copies a month.  Of course, several of my missing copies would magically reappear when it was time to clean out desks.  For the upcoming year, I believe I have the perfect solution.  I will still print 5 full size copies for students to use, but I will also have a mini version for each of my tables.  The mini versions will have color coded ribbon which will match the table color it belongs to.  These sets will have to be returned to their table bins after they are used.  This will eliminate the problem of calendars disappearing into desks.  I always do a quick table check at the end of the day, so it will be up to each group to check that everything is neatly in their buckets, so they can earn their table point.

My students are free to choose any activity they like on the calendar of the month.  If they finish the activity and still have time to spare, they are free to choose another activity.  Last year, I simply had them use blank notebook paper.  Their completed pages were placed in their station files along with their station work.  Next year, I am going to have a spiral designated just for their Early Finisher work.

Here is the cover (it's a FREEBIE):
I plan to start the year with only the August calendar on their ring.  Each month, I will add the next calendar.  They will be allowed to go back to past calendars if they like.  However, they won't be able to see future calendars until the beginning of each month.  I will periodically (like once a week) ask for their notebooks, so I can quickly peek at their work.  I love to give them feedback and they like to show what they have done.  I usually try to find a free moment here and there to sneek peeks at their work.  This gives me a chance to brag about some of those students that really go above and beyond.  It also gives me a chance to spotlight some of those students that need the extra encouragement.  I LOVE that these calendars often lead me to some great teachable moments.

You can check out these calendars in my TPT store.  They are designed for second grade students.
The bundled set below contains the mini versions.