Your email*

Procedures [Conversation]

Early Finishers

Started on Oct 04, 2011 by The_smARTteacher
Last post on Jun 01, 2013

Do you have an "early finisher" procedure in your classroom?

20 Keeps, 2 Likes, 15 Comments

  • jmhurt 10/06/2011 at 11:53pm
    I have several handouts of what I call "Creative Challenges," which provide a basic framework for an imaginative drawing. One of my students' favorites is the "Alien Landscape," where, after reviewing the basics of a simple landscape drawing, students are given a list of 10 items that must be included on a landscape from another planet; for example, at least 3 dwellings, 3 different kinds of plant life, 5 planet dwellers doing outdoor activities, ect. The kids seem to enjoy doing a drawing that has some structure, but also allows them some leeway in personal expression.

  • akbodine 10/16/2011 at 03:46pm
    I have a small area on my bookshelf called a "done early area" (not very creative) . there are coloring book pages already copied off, a few "how to draw" books and a little basket with strips of paper in them with fun ideas such as "design a flag for a country that you are the president of" or "create a tattoo design" or "draw the most beautiful girl/boy you've ever seen". I teach High School, so some of the students think they are "too cool" for these, but most students will try a few and usually enjoy them. If the students do a good job, I will put their drawing up on a cork board I have to display student work that they do on their own.

  • KatieMorris 10/17/2011 at 07:47pm
    I used to go straight to "free draw" when students finished early but then I always had a few who were so excited about making MORE art that they would rush through the assignment hoping for free draw. Now if a student is *really* finished after we discuss their work, I try to utilize peer tutoring if there is something, like weaving, they can help another student with or writing artist statements. Or sometimes I will let them draw on the back of their artwork or read a book off the book case.

  • imagiNATION 10/19/2011 at 04:41am
    There are a few things that are options depending on the grade level/class I am teaching: They can have a job like paint shirt manager or dish duty if any sort of paint is involved, street sweeper if there are scraps, etc., free draw, book corner, extra credit drawings (check out the Draw Squad books for elementary - super cheesy but great with art lingo and making things look 3D), and playdough on good days. I would really love to get a class loom that kids could contribute to but have not stretched the funds enough to do so yet.

  • lightARTed 03/23/2012 at 06:00pm
    This year I introduced a "mini" project that is really not so mini, just one they can go to and work on independently without much help from me. 2nd through 5th graders created graph art patterns. Very time consuming but not so bad if they have a few minutes here and there through out the year. I will work on getting my lesson plan on the Exchange.

  • MsDawn 04/17/2012 at 10:28am
    After students turn in completed & approved projects, they can choose from the following areas: a bookshelf with a poster that says "Finished? Go Fish!". There are two fishbowls that have questions/artprompts on the back of little paper fish. I have "Free Draw" paper, scraps of assorted papers, drawing books, coloring books, How to Draw worksheets and extra pencils available. I also have Geometric boards that students use to create rubberband designs on, Spirograph-type wheels, a tile color match game similar to dominoes and assorted small chalkboards and dry erase boards.
    This year, I am doing a world theme & we study art/architecture from a chosen country each month, so I also have extra themed coloring pages in the free draw areas.

  • RVArtist 06/06/2012 at 06:10am
    I really like the fish bowl idea!!

    I have the same problem someone else spoke of...
    When I have given students the opportunity to do "free draw" or give them a "job" when they have finished early it makes everyone else rush through because they want to do that too. I am glad they want to make MORE art and be helpful, but it becomes unorganized. You would not guess how excited they get about a blank piece of scrap paper and crayons!!
    So, this year for my older kids I had them refer to the "Artist Statement" board and answer some prompts about their artwork that I hang with their project. I have liked reading these so much though that now I want them all to do it whether they finish early or not.

    I went to a great workshop at VAEA last year where I teacher introduced all of her "extra" projects. They were mostly sketchbooks in some form that the students had made. There were some really creative ones made from brown lunch size paper bags and even some made from the old floppy disks. The idea was for the student to keep adding to it like a scrapbook. I wonder if she had the same problem that I had with my "free draw". Do the kids just want to work on the sketchbook?

    I am going to start sketchbooks next year with my 4th and 5th graders. Organizing them is the key. Having the 4th and 5th gr. students for only 40 minutes a week has prevented me from doing this in the past just because it seems like it takes away from our project time. But I know the idea is to incorporate them in a way that will add to the unit plan.

    I too have been wanting to set up a loom in my room. This year I let students who were way way far ahead and finished play on the art games I have on our blog. Since we only have one student computer this gets difficult when more than one student has finished.

  • lhARTz 06/06/2012 at 09:08am
    I have a corner of the room dedicated to materials for students to use when they are finished early. I use scrap paper. Taking paper classroom teachers print off that maybe had an error on it works perfectly. Sure there's print on one side, but I talk to students about recycling and not wasting. They generally don't seem to mind.

    Aside from scrap paper, I have strips of paper in a small basket for students to make bookmarks. They can either keep them for themselves or make a couple to give to the librarian (who then lets students take one when they check out a new book).

    I have "How to draw" books for students to look at, an "Art Sparks" bucket (my friend came up with that name) that has strips of paper in it with random ideas of what to draw or make. For example "Draw an elephant riding on a spaceship under water."

    I also photocopied a bunch of "Mad Libs" pages. Students fill it out, then they have to draw and color the silly story on the back. This could actually be a great sub lesson as well, because it takes a little time.

    I have created my own "matching" games and printed them off on nice scrapbook paper that has the school logo on the back, then laminated them, and store them in old small crayon boxes. When I create more this summer, I'll put them up on the "Exchange" page. Students love them.

  • rlaurenzi 06/06/2012 at 02:36pm
    These are great suggestions!
    For grades K-2, students go to the rug and pick out an activity: art-related books, puzzles, blocks, art-related games, etc. I let them know that they must do their best on their project before they can go to the rug. They know that if they rush to finish, just so they can go to the rug, they will not be allowed to go. Generally, the classes are so short and there is so much clean-up, K-2 kids don't usually get to this point.
    For grades 3-6, students complete "The 3 R's": Rubric, Reflection, Rug (in that order). So, first, they fill out a self-assessment rubric (I fill in the teacher portion of the rubric later). Then, they complete a self-reflection paragraph in their sketchbooks (they have a handout with prompting questions that are general enough to relate to any project). Finally, they are allowed to go to he rug and pick out an activity. They have to check with me before they start the 3 R's to make sure their art is really finished. They also have to show me their reflection paragraph before they can go to the rug. This keeps them from taking short-cuts just to get to the rug. It took a lot of practice before they were fluent with these procedures, but it looks REALLY GOOD to our principal, or any other observer, who might drop in.
    If anyone is interested, I can post the rubric and reflection writing prompts.

  • lbfreer 07/15/2012 at 04:53pm
    I find that some students ALWAYS rush through and it can cause others to rush more if they perceive the fast finisher is being rewarded. I vary what they can do depending on the grade level and class. It's important to check their project with them and discuss the process/what they learned. If they are truly done and I approve of the finished work, I might have them help me, help others, or choose a "sponge" activity. My ideas are similar to those mentioned above. One thing I do with the younger students is have them peel old crayons for me to recycle. Believe it or not, they LOVE to do this-great fine motor work and they know the finished work is used to make cool new crayons and help our environment! Older students can also work on the decoration of their portfolio as an option. I would love to see the prompts other people use. My bag of tricks includes some "doodle" pages with the prompts printed on them. Zentangles are great too. THANKS for sharing everyone!

  • MrsBelzer 07/15/2012 at 05:59pm
    I have to approve student work before they are 'finished'. After I do, kids start out with their sketchbook. I have sketchbooks for all my students (k-5). Early finishers K-1 can free draw and my 2-5th grade students have sketchbook assignments. After students finish their assignment they can choose an activity from my bookshelf. I have art games, how to draw books, art books and story books to read, and occasionally modeling clay or play doh. My principal is always impressed by how busy the kids are in my room. There is always something for the students to work on and I organize it so that kids know what needs to be done first before they can pick something from the bookshelf.

  • MisterA2001 08/08/2012 at 12:18pm
    I have a rolling A-framed bookshelf with books on both sides that my students can grab a book if they are done early. These books mostly consist of How-To books for cartooning, graphic novels, cars, airplanes.

    I also have books that have production art from Disney/DC/Marvel movies like "Iron Man", "WALL*E", "BatMan", "Princess and the Frog", etc which they loved to read and look at the photos.

    The only drawback is they claimed to be "finished" so they can look at the books.

  • dreamstudio 05/18/2013 at 01:04am
    My room is very small (although I am thankful that I have a dedicated art room at all!), so I don't have space for a rug or extra shelves for activities for when the children are finished with the day's work. Earlier in the year, I introduced artist trading cards and the students can't get enough of them! So being able to create artist trading cards has become the #1 choice of students when they have finished before the class is over. To keep the children from rushing through the day's project, I will only let them do an ATC during the last 15 minutes of class, which is ten minutes before clean-up. If they finish before that, their other option is independent drawing on a choice of different size papers. I keep the blank ATCs in a pocket on my apron and hand them out to individual students who ask or can show me that they are finished. They have even gotten creative with the mini size of the ATC by taping some of the cards together in a long "banner" or folding them into a book. My principal has been in my art room when the students were creating ATCs and she was amazed at how quiet and focused the children were. She highly recommended the continued use of Art Trading Cards during choice time.

  • artcsara 06/01/2013 at 08:02am
    I keep oil based clay in air tight containers. Students must check with me first to make sure their project has met our learning targets. Students must also wash their hands and table first ( helps extend the life of the clay). It is a crowd pleaser.