I was a kid who finished classwork quickly. I would turn in my assignments and be eager to move on to something else. My teachers always told me that I could “read quietly until everyone else was finished”. Don’t get me wrong, I loved reading. But sometimes, I wanted some variety. In my class, when the early finishers tell me they’re done, I say “Great! You may get dessert now!”
This year I opened a class “Dessert” station. It is a solution for my early finishers that gives them a variety of activities to choose from. I have one tub dedicated to math, one to language arts, and one to “surprises” (anything that doesn’t fit in those categories). Students may choose to read quietly when they’re done early, or they can choose a dessert to work on. Here are some examples for what are in each of my tubs:
- A binder full of various activities. I pull a worksheet or activity I like and make multiple copies. Then I slide the stack into a clear sleeve so kids can easily see them as they flip through. Some of the activities have a QR code that kids can scan into with their iPads to complete an online game or activity. When they do this, there is always an exit slip that requires them to answer questions about what they’ve just done. I have them turn in this paper.
- Old centers the kids liked. I keep each center in a laminated manila envelope with all necessary pieces, so they’re easy to toss in there (and super easy to regularly switch out).
- Small, boxed math games or card games that the kids have previously learned.
- A binder of various activities (like above).
- Old centers the kids liked.
- Writing activities.
- Favorite class books kids might want to re-read.
- A list of writing prompts.
- A binder of various science or social studies activities (like above).
- Class books we’ve made.
- Puzzles or brain teasers.
- Our class “family album” that we made at the beginning of the year.
- Each child’s BAT Book. (I bought these from Molly Lynch on TPT. They are fantastic!)
- Board games the kids have really liked.
To make the centers more enticing, I let kids turn in their finished work to a special turn-in bucket. Every couple of weeks I randomly draw out a few of these assignments and let the kid who completed them choose something from our class prize bin. The kids are engaged because they have choices, and I always make sure the activities are fresh and relevant to second grade learning.
Click HERE to access my labels for the dessert bins.