In my first year of teaching, I created an “I’m Done” jar for my fast finishers and it was seriously amazing! I always had students who finished their “must do’s” quickly. They just got it! When they came up to me and exclaimed, “Teacher! I’m done!” I generally would just tell them to go read a book. I wanted to figure out *more* ways to challenge and engage my students who finished quickly. So I compiled a list of activities that would be fun and meaningful for my students and stuck them in a jar. It worked wonders!
As the year progressed, I found more ways to incorporate learning activities for my fast finishers. They also started using recording sheets with the “I’m Done” jar. These sheets helped keep my students accountable and gave them an activity to focus on when they were finished with their work. I ALWAYS check my students’ assignments before they chose a stick from the “I’m Done” jar to make sure that they completed it correctly. After I send them back to fix it 4 times, they get the picture 😉
My goal this summer was to make an “I’m Done Station”. This was really a labor of love! I’ve been working on it for months and I’m finally ready to share it with you guys!
“I’m done!” Jar:
Okay, let’s start with the jar!
I found this adorable pail in the Target dollar spot and knew it would work perfectly! I added letter stickers to it and tied the ribbon onto the handle to make it fancy! Of course, I had to make the jumbo popsicle sticks fancy too.
Fast Finisher Options:
After my students finish their assignment and get it checked off, they head over to the I’m Done Station. There, they choose a stick from the jar to choose their activity.
There are many options to choose from, but I only set out 6 activities at a time. This is just a tactic to make the new sticks that much more fascinating when they’re introduced 😉
I also labeled each stick with an image for my non-readers to be able to figure out too.
Setting up the drawers:
I printed and laminated labels for my plastic drawers to organize the recording sheets. The labels are attached with double-sided tape so that they’re easy to remove when I want to switch them out.
Aren’t these pink drawers so fun!? When I saw them at Joann’s Fabrics and Crafts, I knew I had to have them! To keep everything organized and consistent, I used the same visual icons for the labels, sticks, and recording sheets.
Modeling is important!
After some modeling and teaching, all of these activities can be completed independently, giving me time to
work with students who may need more help! I also put a completed example sheet in the “I’m Done Station” as a reference. The activities that are harder for my students to complete independently without being explained first are always done together as a class before I put them in the drawers.
The reading response sheets are probably the ones that need to be modeled the most. We usually complete these sheets together as a class after a read-aloud. Once we do it three or four times, my students are able to complete it by themselves.
We practice writing the title of the story we read and the author. Then we illustrate a quick picture of what happened at the beginning, middle, and end of the story. When my students are ready, they start to add writing to their responses.
Another class favorite is finding words they know in the book they are reading! They also love using mini clipboards and walk around the room writing words they know.
Sometimes I put the activities in a sheet protector to save paper. Then students can complete them using a dry-erase marker for another element of engagement.
What if they don’t finish in time?
If my students run out of time before completing their recording sheet, they put it in their “finish it folder” and take it out the next time they finish their work early. We keep our finish it folders in our cubbies with work that needs to be completed. They know to check their finish it folders before picking a new stick from the jar.
These recording sheets incorporate reading, writing, and math, while encouraging higher-level thinking and incorporating kindergarten standards. But they are also really fun! My students love writing letters to their friends and notes to their classmates.
Where can I find these for my classroom?
Looking to make an “I’m Done Station” in your classroom? You can find all the labels and recording sheets ready to print and assemble in my shop!