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All Right Blog Teacher Blog
Best Fast Finisher Activities for ESL learners
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Best Fast Finisher Activities for ESL learners

This article explores the best fast finisher activities for ESL learners, providing teachers with engaging ideas to keep their students motivated and challenged in the classroom.

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  • Who are Fast Finishers?
  • Why use early finisher activities?
  • What are the best Fast Finishers activities?

I'm finished! What should I do next? We've all heard it a gazillion times. Students work at different paces. There’s no problem with that!  But what do you do with a kid that is an early finisher? What can early finishers do rather than sit idle while everyone is working? To help your pupils stay on task and at the moment, we have put together this extensive list of enjoyable, engaging fast finisher exercises.

Who are Fast Finishers?

Fast Finishers are students who complete their assignments or tasks faster than their peers. They tend to finish their work quickly and may become bored or restless without additional challenges or activities. Teachers may provide enrichment or extension activities to keep them engaged and challenged. 

 There are a few reasons why it's important to engage students in the classroom:
1. Increases retention and understanding: When students are engaged in the classroom, they are more likely to remember the material and make connections between new information and their prior knowledge.
2. Enhances critical thinking skills: Engaging students in discussions and activities fosters critical thinking and problem-solving skills, helping them develop a deeper understanding of the subject matter.
3. Creates a positive learning environment: When students feel engaged and invested in their education, they enjoy coming to class and are more likely to participate in discussions and collaborate with their peers.
4. Encourages active learning: Engagement encourages active learning, where students become participants in the educational process rather than just passive receivers of information.
5. Improves academic performance: Students who are engaged in the classroom tend to perform better academically because they are more motivated to learn and are better able to apply what they have learned. 

Why use early finisher activities?

Early finisher activities promote a positive learning environment by keeping students actively engaged, fostering their individual growth, and supporting their diverse needs and interests.

Early finisher activities are a valuable tool in educational settings for several reasons:

  • Engagement: Early finisher activities keep students engaged and motivated when they complete their assigned tasks ahead of their peers. Instead of being idle or disruptive, they can continue to work on meaningful activities that challenge and stimulate their minds.
  • Enrichment: Early finisher activities provide an opportunity for students to delve deeper into a topic or explore related concepts beyond the regular curriculum. These activities can offer extensions or enrichment that go beyond the basic requirements, allowing students to expand their knowledge and skills.
  • Differentiation: Every student learns at a different pace and has unique interests and abilities. Early finisher activities cater to these differences by offering a range of options that allow students to work at their own pace and explore topics that align with their individual strengths and interests.
  • Reinforcement and practice: Early finisher activities can reinforce and consolidate learning by providing additional practice in a variety of ways. These activities can involve reviewing and applying previously learned concepts or skills, which helps to strengthen understanding and retention.
  • Creativity and critical thinking: Many early finisher activities are designed to foster creativity and critical thinking skills. They often involve open-ended tasks, problem-solving challenges, or creative projects that encourage students to think outside the box, develop innovative solutions, and express their ideas in unique ways.
  • Time management: Engaging in early finisher activities helps students develop important time management skills. They learn to allocate their time effectively, set goals, and prioritize tasks. These skills are valuable for their overall academic success and future endeavors.
  • Personalized learning: Early finisher activities offer an opportunity for personalized learning experiences. Students can choose activities that align with their personal interests, learning styles, or areas they want to explore further. This autonomy and choice empower students and promote a sense of ownership in their education.

What are the best Fast Finishers activities?

Dollar Words

Give each letter of the alphabet on your alphabet board a numerical value, such as A=0.01 B=0.02 F=0.06. Your quick thinkers should try to think up a word that will cost a total of $1. It's entertaining and helpful! They will also practice math while expanding their vocabulary and discovering new terms. To make it more enjoyable for your kids, you can occasionally alter the value of your letters.

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Math Task Cards

Create a designated space for math assignment cards, or simply tape them all over the classroom. These are popular with our children for quick activities like "beat the clock" (have a little hourglass timer nearby) or as a scavenger hunt with cards placed about the classroom.

Math Task Cards.png

Class Mailbox

Writing skills can be practiced while also fostering a sense of community in the classroom with the help of this early finisher activity.

Have a mailbox set up in the classroom where children can write notes to each other or the teacher. It doesn't need to be elaborate. You can use a paper tray or other kind of container, or you can even get the kids involved in creating or designing one.

Tech Time

The following are some recommended instructional websites for early finishers if you have access to computers, laptops, or tablets in your classroom:

  • TED-Ed - have them watch a TED-Ed video and summarize it.
  • Kahoot! - Find a Kahoot! and get the link for the independent mode.
  • Quizlet - create a quizlet deck with word study words, vocabulary or facts and have students practice.
  • WriteReader - students can create their own novels and add images.
  • StoryBoardThat - students can create a comic strip

Teacher's Helper

Activities for early finishers don't have to be academic. Most elementary-aged children, especially those in the primary grades, like lending a hand to adults at home or at work. And as they age, that doesn't necessarily hold true. So why not take advantage of it now?

But on a more serious note, allowing pupils to assist with unique chores fosters qualities like responsibility and helpfulness. Here are a few examples of those jobs:

  • Sanitizing a whiteboard
  • Filing documents
  • Making pencils sharp
  • Assembling the materials 
  • Removing rubbish off the ground (they particularly like being given a magnet to pick up any staples on the floor).

In conclusion, engaging fast finishers in meaningful activities is crucial for creating a positive learning environment and catering to the diverse needs and interests of students. By providing early finisher activities, ESL teachers can keep their students actively engaged, promote critical thinking skills, reinforce learning, and foster creativity. These activities also help students develop time management skills and offer personalized learning experiences.

It's worth mentioning that offers ESL teachers the opportunity to work and access free materials for their classes. This resource can be a valuable asset for teachers looking to provide engaging activities for their early finishers. By utilizing these resources and implementing a variety of activities, ESL teachers can effectively address the needs of ESL students, creating a dynamic and enriching learning experience for all students.


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