Need something besides "Read your book" for your early finishers? These ideas can be year-round sponge activities for those who finish assigned work quickly, and they will help you provide enrichment and differentiation for your advanced students when others need more time. Early finishers will still be working on skills addressed in the Common Core, like researching a self-generated question or using the writing process to develop and strengthen writing.
E - Explore a topic in your Research Folder
I first saw this idea at a Pre-AP workshop. Each student has a file folder. The front of the folder has sample source cards with MLA bibliographical entries for books, websites, and online database. The back has a checklist for credible sources. Inside the folder, we glued eight library card pockets. Students can write a question (anything they are curious about) on a post-it note and place it on one of the pockets. When they have extra time, they choose a question to research, record their notes and sources on index cards, and store them in the pocket. See my version of our Research Folder
on sale in my store.
A - AR read or test
- Because we use Accelerated Reader and kids love to read.
R - Revise a piece in your Writing Folder
Several teachers have posted good resources on TpT for assembling a Writing Folder. Of course, middle-schoolers often just use a composition book as a writing notebook. I chose to use a cute cover & labels, and I’ve been developing my own pages for students to add to their folders as we go through the year. Grab my free version of our Writing Folder
in my store.
L - Language center game or Word Work
I keep a table set up with word-related board games and card games that I rotate occasionally for variety: Password, Taboo, Balderdash, Scrabble. I also keep a stack of old MadLib books and crossword puzzles, and many teachers have developed Boggle bulletin boards.
Y - You can also...
This is always a favorite! Use a dry erase marker to write in one or more options related to your current class novel or other topics of study. Sometimes I set up a jigsaw puzzle or collaborative mural/art project. When we read Around the World in 80 Days, I taught my students to play whist and kept a deck of cards ready. When we read Stargirl, we made origami Dream Stars and set up a Random Acts of Kindness “office.” This is really limited only by your imagination; my bet is that your students will come up with lots of suggestions, too!
This poster set coordinates with my shabby chic pastels Shabby Class classroom decor set
designed especially for middle and high school classrooms.
Visit my store for more From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. B