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I’m Done ! Now What ?

15 avril 2013 par Christine Baida

In every ESL class there is likely to be a few kids who are bilingual or very strong and are finished before most of the class is even halfway done. Here are some minimal-prep ideas of what to do with those strong kids to keep them motivated.


At the beginning of the school year, brainstorm with the class the type of extra activities they can do when they are done with assigned work. Make a list of their suggestions on the board and discuss their pertinence. Keep a list of their final choices somewhere in the class as a reminder.

A List of Things One Can Do After Seat Work 

What Do I Do When I’m Done poster

Have an extra challenge ready that allows the student to go deeper into the subject, learn a little more, or apply a skill he/she has just learned in a new way.

  • Brainstorm with the student some kind of individual project. Research on something related to the topic, a PowerPoint presentation, or a creative writing project - anything that is motivating, educationally sound and can be worked on autonomously.

Story Map

Character Analysis

Character Traits

Non Fiction Organiser

Non-Fiction Worksheet

  • Propose some journal writing prompts printed on Avery Labels and pasted on Popsicle sticks or tongue depressor sticks.
  • Select listening/viewing activities on Cd, DVD or at the computer. Stories, songs, websites, video clips, etc.
  • Prepare some interactive speaking games for students to do in pairs (in a special section of the class where they can’t disrupt the class). Card games, board games, Show and Tell, team projects, vocabulary practice, etc.
  • Prepare a Tic Tac Toe Board (Extension or Choice Board) related to the topic you are doing with the group. Make sure to include a variety of activities so every student finds something of interest.

Example of a Monthly Choice Board

The Anatomy of Cool LES Chice Board

Still Good

  • Crosswords, wordsearches, Boggles, logic puzzles, brain teasers and the like. Have them ready for whenever they are needed. Better yet, make a packet of a variety of them related to the topic that fast student can work on whenever they have some extra time.
  • Silent reading - again, ideally with some focus - perhaps exploring a genre or subject with some kind of associated project or review, even if it is minimal.

Please Don’t

  • Give the child more of the same. Or give the child something different, but equally easy.
  • Have the student work in a workbook.
  • Have the child help you by correcting papers, taking down bulletin board items, cleaning white boards etc.
  • Have the student help a struggling student. This puts both the student teacher and the learner in difficult situations. A bright child is not necessarily a sensitive child, or a good teacher. Further, it isn’t a good use of that child’s learning time. "Teaching is learning twice" is true for sure, but odds are, your bright student doesn’t need to learn it again. He already knows it, really well. As for the learner, that kid is struggling already. How much does it help that child’s self-esteem to be paired with a student who gets it without even trying ? Worse yet if the bright child is impatient, condescending, or just plain mean little learning is going to take place.

Got more ideas ? Share them with your colleagues on the the ESL Community !

Adapted from :