I’m Done Now What?
Are you tired of hearing “I’m done, now what?” when your students complete a task? Establishing this one routine for fast finishers in the classroom will not only make your life sooooo much easier, but it will also maximize learning time. Keep reading because I’m about to share my favorite teacher tip with you, and it’s called “I’m Done” folders!
In this post, I’m going to explain what my system for fast finishers is, how to set it up, how to introduce it to students, keep it differentiated, and more!
What Are “I’m Done, Now What?” Folders?
I’m Done Folders are simply that, folders that contain work for students to complete when they finish an assignment. Simple right? And with these few tips, I can help you create a system that goes smoothly from the start of the year all the way until the end.
How To Set Up “I’m Done, Now What” Folders
Provide each child with a folder and a place to keep them. My students worked at tables, so they each had a seat sack on their chairs. Their I’m Done, Now What Folders were kept in those seat sacks. This ensured that once they completed a task they had easy access to their I’m Done work. It also helps to eliminate a lot of unnecessary moving around the room, since children do spend a lot of time at their tables.
I used a large incentive chart to keep track of how many packets each student completed. I write their names down the left-hand side and place stickers in each space once they complete a packet. Later on, I’ll share how to provide incentives to students to encourage them to actually work on completing their given packets.
Creating Work for Fast Finishers
Okay, so you have your folders, you’ve designated a spot for the kids to keep them, and you know how you track their work. Now let’s move on to actually creating the packets that will go inside of these I’m Done Now What? folders.
Here are my criteria:
- No-Prep Worksheets: Remember, this system is to make your life easier, not harder. Look for no-prep resources that you can just print, staple, and put inside of a folder
- No Cutting: You don’t want worksheets that require any cutting. Look for sheets that can be completed with just a pencil and/or crayons. The reason is, children will have limited time in spurts to work on these printables. With cutting activities, it is easy for children to lose pieces and waste time looking for them later on
- Repetitive Directions: Look for printables that have the same directions on each page. This will allow you to model one page for the students and then have them complete the rest independently. If you include printables that have a different set of directions on each page, children might need help as they reach each new page, which prevents them from working independently.
If you follow these suggestions, you will be able to create packets that not only allow children to work independently, but also practice key phonics and math skills
Differentiating Your I’m Done Folders
As with everything else, differentiation is important with your I’m Done Now What Folders.
Why You Should Differentiate Your No-Prep Packets
- The Pace At Which Children Work: Consider who is going to have more time to work on these packets, verse who will barely have an opportunity. Use this knowledge to determine the number of printables you include in someone’s packet. Children who are constantly completing their assignments should have larger packets. Our children who struggle to complete given assignments should have a much smaller packet. These children will not have as many opportunities to work on this, and we don’t want them to feel as if they are falling behind.
- The Skills They Need to Work On: Each student’s packet should be focused on a skill they need a little more support on, yet can still complete independently. Use your progress monitoring data to determine which skills you want each child to work on.
I use these Data Tracking Assessments and Digital Tracker to help me determine which phonics and math skills I want each child to work on.
When it comes to setting expectations for your I’m Done, Now What Folders, you want to model and remind at the start of the year. Before students begin any task, remind them that when they finish, they should take out their folders. Model the way you expect them to work on these tasks. If you continue to remind students of perfect opportunities to pull out these packets, it will eventually become a habit.
Lastly, you want to provide incentives to your students to actually encourage them to do additional work. I implemented a reward system for the completion of three I’m Done Now What packets. And since my packets were all differentiated to meet the needs of each individual, all students had a fair chance at the prizes.
I used a large incentive chart to track the completion of each packet. Each student’s name is written down the left side, and the number of packets along the top.
Here’s a quick video where I explain all about I’m Done Folders:
If you implement this classroom management plan in your room, I am confident that you will not regret it!
You can grab a full year of Kindergarten I’m Done Phonics Worksheets here!