Tuesday, April 7, 2015

I'm Finished, Now What?

So I seriously get tired of my kids finishing centers/work early and asking me, "What can I do now?" How about sit quietly with a book and don't talk...LOL!  In all seriousness, it's gotten kinda crazy over the years.  This is the time of the school year when kids are zippin' through their work and centers because they are just THAT SMART!  I've tried all kinds of systems and I've discovered a few things:

1.  Ain't nobody got time to run 5 million copies constantly.
2.  Ain't nobody want to look at all those copies/papers.
3.  Kids get bored with the same few things.

I met Deedee Wills at the French Lick Blogger Meet up a few weeks ago {she is so funny!!!} and decided to peruse her blog once I got home.  She has some great ideas!  One that I noticed that I reallllly liked was her "Dessert Tubs" idea, which I believe she said she got from Cara Carroll.  As soon as I saw the post, I knew I had to run to Target, get bins, make labels, and gather things to make my kids their own dessert bins.

Here is how to set them up:

You get some bins.  I chose 5 because I have 5 table groups of kids.  Print off or make some labels that have matching numbers {or colors or whatever you do for your table groups}.  Attach the labels to the tubs.  I used Velcro.  Pull some fun and engaging activities to put in your tubs.  I try to only put a few inside each tub.  Think outside the box here...try to stay paper free and make the activities quick and simple.  Activities that can be cleaned up quickly.  I went with some of these for mine:  play-doh, sentence scrambles, number grid puzzles, floor puzzles, flash cards, and Tenzi {possibly my favorite game ever}.  You can throw in previous center activities or games you've played in class {I mean, how many times have you spent a million hours making/copying/laminating a game that your kids use for all of 15 minutes?  Story of my life.  Why not get a little more use out of it before filing it away for next year?!}.  I have become obsessed with thinking of things to put in my dessert bins.....if you have an idea, leave it in the comments below so we can all get some great ideas!

**PS-Reading: always an option.  I keep a few buckets of seasonal library books out for kids to look through.  I also keep a tub of AR books out for them.

Here is how to use the tubs:

Each time you add new activities to the bins, go over the directions/rules.  Whenever kids finish a center or seat work, they may visit their dessert bin.  They choose to work independently or with friends at their table who are also finished.  They may not get into another table's bin!!!!  Each day after school, rotate the goodies inside the bins down.  So far, my kids have been LOVING their bins!

That's it!  Simple and awesome.  Thank you Cara and Deedee for the great idea!

Click HERE for some free labels and bin ideas.



Lauren said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Out of all the ideas I've seen for keeping kids busy, I like your idea the best. I like having multiple things in the tub for them to choose. I've made a list of a few more ideas:
sight word sticks (from Reagan Tunstall)
Play-doh to practice place value or CVC words
Spot It (a fun game my kids love)
squiggle story
String a Sight Word (pipe cleaners and letter beads)
How to draw a... (provide drawing books for kids to practice)
Classroom journals
Smelly Marker spelling practice
Where's Waldo books
Math Mystery Picture (from First Grade a la carte)
Wooden blocks to build with
Dots Game (draw lines to see who can make the most boxes)
Pattern blocks
Sorting (buttons, bears, coins, etc)
CVC words with nuts and bolts (on Kristen Smith's blog)

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