What to do with Fast Finishers

“I’m done! Now what? What’s next?” Do you ever hear this in your classroom while most of your students are still working? Read below to learn how to best serve your “fast finishers” in your class through meaningful experiences where they can use their critical thinking and problem solving skills to expand their thinking and deepen their understanding of the content.


Early finisher activities are a classroom management must have in every first, second, third, fourth, and fifth grade classroom. This Clutter-Free Classroom blog post has tons of tips and ideas for fast finisher tasks that apply to any content area: Math, science, social studies, writing, and reading. #earlyfinishers #fastfinishers #elementaryclassroom #teachingtips

This blog post will...
  • explain what a fast finisher activity is and why you need them on hand.
  • suggest 15 fast finisher tasks you can assign to your students.
  • recommend organization and management tips to help you run your classroom smoothly.


What is a Fast Finisher Activity?
A fast finisher activity is an activity that is prepared ahead of time for when students finish a task before the rest of the class.  They can take on many different formats (e.g. worksheets, task cards, games, and books), be aligned to any content area (e.g. literacy, math, social studies, and STEM), be closed- or open-ended tasks, and be short term or long term projects (link to blog or product).  Fast finisher projects, as you can see, can take many forms but they all share the same idea. They are either prepped ahead of time or are no-prep. Students can work on these independent learning experiences quietly when they finish a task early.

Why Should I Use Fast Finisher Activities?
Fast finisher activities are an essential classroom management strategy for all elementary classrooms.  Your classroom will run a lot smoother if you have fast finisher activities prepared and a routine in place so students know what to do when they are done with a task early.


15 Fast Finisher Ideas

Anytime Fast Finisher Ideas
  • Independent reading
  • Crosswords
  • Puzzles
  • Brain teasers
  • Logic puzzles
  • Coaching classmates
  • Helping the teacher
  • Review packet of previously learned concepts and skills
  • Long term projects
Content-Specific Fast Finisher Ideas
  • Reading books about the concept being taught
  • Content-related activities
  • Content-related worksheets
  • Content-related packet
  • Content-related task cards
  • Content-related games
Fast Finisher Management and Organization Tips
  • Create a bulletin board, poster, display, or station designated to showing students what they can do when they are finished with their task.
  • Store fast finisher activities in bins, baskets, folders, or binders.
  • Write fast finisher activities on popsicle sticks and store them in a labeled cup.
  • Post a grid with options of fast finisher activities student can work on.
  • Post expectations for when students are doing fast finisher activities (e.g. work independently and work quietly).


Early finisher activities are a classroom management must have in every first, second, third, fourth, and fifth grade classroom. This Clutter-Free Classroom blog post has tons of tips and ideas for fast finisher tasks that apply to any content area: Math, science, social studies, writing, and reading. #earlyfinishers #fastfinishers #elementaryclassroom #teachingtips

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