Thursday, January 7, 2016

I hate the term "fast finishers"

Hate is a strong word.

I don't hate many things.

But when people use the term "Fast Finishers," I want to CRINGE and do this...



So let me tell you why I cannot stand when I hear people say, "Oh, you can use this for your fast finishers!" *eye roll*

1. When I hear it, I think of kids being forced to do EXTRA work - the regular classwork that is far too easy for them, plus another task, worksheet, or whatever it is, that practices the same exact thing.  Maybe the numbers are bigger or there's a challenge to it. But it's still EXTRA work.  Why do they get punished for understanding the content quicker than other students?

2. It implies that I do not know how to differentiate for my students.  If I am a good teacher, I know my students and I can give them all tasks, appropriate to their level, that practice the same content.  Some tasks will be easier for those kids who take to things a little slower while other tasks will provide that challenge for my high kids.  No extra work- just challenging work for everyone.

3. I do not have "fast finishers" in my classroom.  If you are wondering why, See #1 and #2.

I don't want you to misunderstand this post.  I do, sometimes, have students who may finish a task more quickly than other students.  However, I do not give them extra work to do.  Instead, they do things like- practice their fast facts, choose a math practice station, or help a friend (because what better to know they really understand than watching them really teach and help someone else how to do it!)  If I'm challenging them appropriately, they should not need to have extra challenge work, because they already had it.

And, actually, if I'm really being honest, I really don't have a lot of times when I have students that are done before everyone else.  In fact, we rarely finish anything (mostly in math) because the tasks and problems that we do have so much extension to them that goes beyond what the kids really need to know, that by the time my lower kids finish with practicing the curriculum part of the task, my higher kids still aren't finished with the extension part of the task.  Maybe that's creating bad habits, but then the kids have some really meaningful work to do at home and they love it!

Now, this works for me and I understand it doesn't work for everyone - and that's TOTALLY OK.  That does not make me or you any better or worse of a teacher.  You may have required curriculum or other reasons why you have students that might finish quickly, but I just know that all the wonderful teachers out there aren't giving their high kids extra work in an effort to challenge them - because I'm so envious of so many of you and I know how awesome you are! & Thank you for that!

Maybe it's just the term that makes me cringe like nails on a chalkboard...

Just say no to "Fast Finishers"

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