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Teacher, I'm Done!
by Kelly Mikesell
Every teacher has had this happen about 1,000 times. You send the children to complete a task and 10 seconds later someone is "done". I have a few ideas on curbing the "I'm done" that I'd like to share with you.
During Writer's Workshop I set a timer to let the children know when they can be "done". We discuss what you can do on a story that is "done" and what other details could be added. I also talk about sharing their story with a friend to see if they have ideas on what they could add. At the beginning of the year, they are writing for short periods of time, maybe 5 minutes. By the end of the year I set the timer for up to 30 minutes depending on the skills that we are working on. I also let the children know that they are not "done" until the bell rings.
At Centers I prevent the "I'm done" by placing a book basket in most of the centers, so when they are "done" with the assigned activity they can read books. This has helped me a lot this year - I can keep my guided reading groups longer because the other students are working longer independently.
Throughout the day I do not typically do worksheets, but on the occasion that I do and someone is "done", I have them go to the reading center and read independently to our reading buddies (stuffed animals) until the other children are finished.
Another strategy I use is "Choice Time". When children are "done" they can choose an activity off of the "Choice Time" list. Activities I have used in the past were: story writing, reading books, puzzles, computers, and listening center. That way the children have an activity to do once they are "done".
The key to curbing the "I'm done" is to hold your children to high expectations and make it clear as to what they do when they are finished. I have seen in many classrooms that the teachers are upset when a child is "done". This is because they do not have a plan or procedure in place before hand. Come up with what you are comfortable with, model and implement it and then the "Teacher, I'm done" will seem more like "Teacher, I'm ready for a new challenge!"
About the Author:
Kelly is a Kindergarten Teacher in Tampa, Florida with 10 years experience and the creator of www.elementary-teacher-resources.com, where Kindergarten Teachers can find great ideas that are fun, fast and fabulous!
She was born and raised north of Chicago, and went to Illinois State University for a B.S. in Elementary Education and has taught K - 8 Technology, Kindergarten, First Grade, Pre-K, and VE K - 3.
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