Curriculum & Instruction

I’m Done Now What Purposeful Fast Finisher Activities

As educators, we often focus on ensuring that our lesson plans stretch the entire period, but what happens when students finish early? “I’m done, now what?” is a common refrain that can disrupt a classroom if not anticipated. For this reason, purposeful ‘fast finisher’ activities are becoming increasingly significant in education. These activities aim to occupy students who finish their assigned work early in a way that is meaningful, constructive, and related to the learning objectives.

Fast finisher activities should ideally be engaging and provide enrichment. They can take various forms depending on the age group and subject area but should always aim to reinforce skills or concepts already taught. Here are some purposeful fast finisher activities for different classroom settings:

1. Reading or Writing Enrichment: Students could have a selection of books from the classroom library at their disposal or a writing journal where they can start a story, poem, or even a research project on a topic of interest.

2. Math Puzzles: Sudoku, logic puzzles, or math riddles can be both fun and challenging for students who have breezed through their math assignment.

3. Independent Research Projects: Students might work on an ongoing research project that ties into the current curriculum, allowing them to delve deeper into topics that interest them.

4. Peer Tutoring: Fast finishers could be encouraged to help their classmates who may be struggling with the current assignment. This promotes a collaborative environment and helps reinforce the material for both students.

5. Educational Games: There are many online platforms offering educational games tailored to specific subjects or skills. Teachers could compile a list of approved websites that students might access upon completion of their work.

6. Creative Endeavors: Art projects related to the subject matter, composing music if it’s relevant, or any other creative outlet that allows exploration beyond the confines of the standard curriculum.

7. Self-Directed Learning: Stations or activity menus can give fast finishers autonomy by allowing them to choose from several pre-approved activities.

Creating a ‘Fast Finisher’ folder or corner in the classroom where these activities are stored and readily available helps in managing these resources effectively. It’s important to ensure that while these activities are inherently self-directed, they’re also clearly outlined with any necessary instructions so that students aren’t confused about what is expected of them.

In conclusion, when we design purposeful activities for fast finishers—those who say “I’m done, now what?”—we provide them with opportunities not just for further learning but also for self-directed exploration and growth. It furthers their engagement and deepens their understanding of classroom content while honing additional skills which are vital in today’s world such as critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration.

Gear Up for the New School Year with the Ultimate Year 5 Teaching Resource Pack!

As educators, preparing for a new school year can be both an exhilarating and daunting task. We are constantly on the lookout for new resources to keep our curriculum fresh, engaging, and aligned with educational standards. That’s where Teach Starter shines, especially with their specially curated Year 5 Back-to-School Teaching Resource Pack.

Teach Starter has become a trusted name in the education field for providing high-quality, teacher-made resources that cater to various year levels and learning needs. Their recent offering – the Year 5 Back-to-School Teaching Resource Pack – specifically targets educators gearing up for the onset of the new school year with pupils in Year 5.

This comprehensive pack includes a suite of resources that covers essential aspects of classroom management and educational content aimed at students in Year 5 – typically aged 9-11 years. The compilation features visually appealing and intellectually stimulating materials designed to make the transition back to school smooth for both teachers and students.

Some highlights of the pack include:

1.Literacy and Numeracy Activities: Engaging tasks that reinforce core skills essential to Year 5 curricula, including advanced grammar exercises, creative writing prompts, and challenging math problems designed to stimulate critical thinking.

2.Classroom Organization Tools: Checklists, name tags, welcome signs, and job charts that help create an organized learning environment from day one. These tools help encourage a sense of responsibility and community among students.

3.Icebreakers and Team Building Exercises: Fun activities that help students get to know each other and start building a positive classroom culture. It is particularly helpful in encouraging interaction among children who may be meeting for the first time.

4.Goal Setting Frameworks: With goal-setting sheets and achievement trackers, teachers can guide students in setting realistic learning objectives and tracking their progress throughout the year.

The resource pack provided by Teach Starter aims at taking away some of the stress associated with planning for a new term by giving teachers ready-to-use templates and activities that are both fun and educational. All materials included are tailor-made by experienced teachers who understand what works best in a year 5 classroom setting.

To gain access to this invaluable resource pack or explore more of what Teach Starter has to offer, educators can visit their website’s blog section at This convenient online hub of ready-to-go teaching resources is just what teachers need to hit the ground running in the new academic year with confidence and creativity!

What’s the Goss on WALT and WILF (Examples Included)

In educational settings, acronyms often fly around like paper planes in a classroom on a Friday afternoon. While some may flutter away into the archives of forgotten lingo, others stick the landing and become integral to teaching and learning practices. Two such acronyms are WALT and WILF – shorthand terms that are music to the ears of educators worldwide for their simplicity and effectiveness.

WALT stands for “We Are Learning To” and is a phrase that sets clear learning intentions for students. It is an upfront declaration of the goal of a lesson, the ‘what’ that teachers expect students to understand or be able to do by the end of a session. By sharing WALT with students at the beginning of a lesson, it helps them to focus on what’s important, providing a clear objective that guides their learning journey.

Let’s look at an example:

WALT: Identify and use metaphors and similes in our writing.

Here, students know the purpose of the lesson is not just recognizing metaphors and similes but also applying them effectively in their work.

WILF, on the other hand, stands for “What I’m Looking For,” and complements WALT by setting specific criteria for success. With WILF, students can understand how they will achieve the learning intention laid out by WALT. It acts like a roadmap showing specific checkpoints or criteria that signal they’re on the right track.

Consider this example:

WILF: You can demonstrate your understanding by writing three sentences that each contain a metaphor or simile.

This helps students know exactly what needs to be done to meet the objectives of the lesson.

By combining WALT and WILF, educators provide a robust framework for student success. Students are not only clear on what they need to learn (WALT) but also on how to excel in that learning goal (WILF).

In short, understanding and effectively implementing WALT and WILF can transform teaching practices. These principles encourage active planning, promote student engagement, ensure clarity around objectives, and provide measurable outcomes for both teachers and students alike. The goss on WALT and WILF? They’re simple yet powerful tools passing note-worthy class after class.

Studentled Classroom Contract Upper Years

Student-led classroom contracts represent a progressive approach to managing classroom dynamics, particularly in upper year levels where students are more mature and capable of handling additional responsibilities. By involving students in the creation of the contract, educators can foster a sense of ownership, responsibility, and community among students, which translates to a more positive and productive learning environment.

These contracts typically outline expectations for behavior, participation, homework policies, group work norms, and other classroom routines. Unlike traditional rules imposed by the teacher alone, a student-led contract requires consensus among peers, promoting negotiation skills and emphasizing mutual respect.

To start the process, teachers facilitate a discussion that encourages students to articulate what they perceive as an ideal learning environment. They might pose questions such as:

– What behaviors help us learn best?

– How should we address distractions or conflicts in the classroom?

– What are fair consequences for not adhering to our agreed standards?

Once ideas are collated, students together draft the contract clauses. The teacher guides them to ensure that every clause is actionable, clear and respects school-wide policies. After collaboratively developing this contract, each student signs it, symbolizing their commitment.

Evaluation of the contract’s effectiveness comes through regular reflection sessions where students discuss what aspects of the agreement are working well and which need adjustment. Amendments are made as necessary with majority approval ensuring the contract remains current.

The implementation of a student-led classroom contract in upper years provides educational benefits beyond academic content. It facilitates a democratic space where students learn about social responsibility and active citizenship. Through this process they acquire collaborative problem-solving skills which have long-lasting implications for their personal development and future social interactions.

In conclusion, student-led classroom contracts for upper years demonstrate an innovative education strategy that promotes self-regulation, cooperation among peers and prepares young people for real-world challenges by instilling essential life skills such as leadership, negotiation, and accountability.

14 Terrific Activities and Resources for Teaching Time

Teaching time can be one of the most challenging concepts for students to grasp. However, with the right activities and resources, it can also be one of the most rewarding. Here’s a list of 14 terrific activities and resources that will make learning about time a fun and engaging experience for your students.

1.Interactive Clocks: Use online interactive clocks to teach students how to tell time. Websites such as offer digital and analog clock practices.

2.Clock Manipulatives: Physical clock manipulatives can help hands-on learners understand the movement of the hour and minute hands.

3.Time Telling Workbooks: Invest in workbooks that are specifically designed to practice telling time, which often include written exercises and quizzes.

4.Time Flashcards: Create or purchase flashcards that show different times on clocks and have students say or write down the correct time.

5.Time Bingo: Turn learning into a game with Bingo cards that display various clock times instead of numbers.

6.Stopwatch Races: Use stopwatches to time short activities or races; this helps students learn how to read digital times down to the second.

7.Schedule Planning Exercises: Have students create their own daily schedule or timeline using their knowledge of time increments and duration.

8.Historical Time Lines: Connect history lessons with time by creating timelines for historical events, which can help students understand chronological order and the passage of years.

9.Cooking with Time: Incorporate cooking activities where students need to use timers, reinforcing concepts like hours, minutes, and seconds in a practical setting.

10.Multimedia Resources: Videos from educational platforms such as Khan Academy or BBC Bitesize offer visual learning on telling time.

11.Online Games: Websites like provide enjoyable games that reinforce time-telling skills through play.

12.Time Capsule Project: Make a class project where students create a time capsule; discuss units of measuring longer periods like months and years.

13.Analog Clock Crafts: Have creative activities such as making paper plate clocks, which allow children to customize their own learning tools.

14.Apps for Telling Time: Utilize educational apps such as “Jungle Time” that are made for teaching children how to read both digital and analog clocks with interactive practice exercises.

These diverse activities cater to different learning styles and provide ample opportunity for repeated practice—a key factor in mastering the concept of time. Implementing these resources in your classroom will not only augment your teaching toolbox but also enhance your students’ understanding and skills in reading both analog and digital clocks, handling real-life scheduling tasks, and appreciating the significance of timing in their everyday lives.

Homework Activities Teaching Resources

Homework activities are not merely assignments that teachers give to keep students busy after school hours; they are essential teaching resources that reinforce the day’s learning, stretch a child’s thinking abilities, and set the foundation for lifelong self-discipline. Effective homework activities have the power to deepen understanding, develop skills, and create a connection between classroom learning and real-life application.

Educators aim to design homework that is meaningful, purposeful, and appropriate for the student’s age and stage of learning. They also consider the needs and interests of their students when selecting homework activities. Engaging tasks that stimulate curiosity can turn an often mundane routine into an exciting learning adventure. Here are some examples of innovative homework activities across various subjects:


– Problem-solving worksheets focused on real-world applications.

– Interactive online platforms with adaptive learning features.

– Mathematical puzzles that encourage logical reasoning.

Language Arts:

– Reading logs complemented with reflective journaling prompts.

– Creative writing assignments based on personal experiences or current events.

– Vocabulary games that can be played with family members to enhance retention.


– Experiment kits for hands-on exploration at home.

– Observation diaries where students record and reflect on natural phenomena.

– Research projects on environmental issues with a component of community involvement.

Social Studies:

– Time capsules where students predict future trends based on historical data.

– Family tree assignments that connect students to their personal histories.

– Virtual museum tours followed by critical reviews or presentations.

Art and Music:

– Sketchbook prompts that foster daily drawing habits.

– Music composition activities using digital tools or traditional instruments.

– Cross-disciplinary projects like designing album covers for historical periods in music.

Homework does not have to be limited to individual work. Collaborative efforts can promote teamwork and communication skills. Group research projects, debate preparations, or peer teaching video creations are just a few examples where collaborative homework can bring about educational benefits while building social connections.

When assigning homework, teachers strive to balance workload and well-being. It’s vital that assignments do not overwhelm the student but rather support them in becoming independent learners capable of managing their responsibilities. Clear instructions, achievable goals, and regular feedback go a long way in making homework an effective teaching resource rather than a chore dreaded by both students and parents.

In addition to traditional paper-based assignments, technology offers a plethora of resources for dynamic homework. Educational apps, videos, interactive quizzes, and forums for discussion extend the possibilities of what can be achieved through homework activities.

Ultimately, effective homework activities teaching resources should serve as a bridge between academic concepts learned in class and their practical application in everyday life. With creativity and attentiveness to individual needs, educators can construct homework experiences that not only bolster classroom learning but also instill valuable habits that support academic success and personal growth.

Homework is more than rote practice; it is an opportunity for immersive learning experiences capable of captivating curious minds beyond school walls. By harnessing the potential of diverse homework activities as teaching resources, educators take an important step towards nurturing well-rounded individuals prepared for the challenges of tomorrow’s world.

Beginning of Year Time Capsule Activity

As the New Year unfolds, engaging in a Beginning of Year Time Capsule Activity is a journey into self-reflection and forward thinking that individuals and educators alike can utilize to mark personal growth or educational development. This activity involves collecting items or writing notes that represent one’s current life or the present moment and sealing them away to be revisited at the end of the year or further into the future.

Creating a time capsule is more than just a fun project; it’s an opportunity to capture memories, set intentions, and forecast future aspirations. It provides a snapshot of who you are at the start of the year, allowing for a moment of pause to consider aspirations and dreams before propelling into the year’s ventures and challenges.

Here’s how to do it:

1. Select Your Container: Choose a container that will protect your items from decay over time – metal tins, sturdy boxes, or sealed plastic containers are ideal.

2. Collect Items: Gather objects that are significant to you at this moment. This could be photographs, trinkets, a list of favorite songs, current newspaper clippings, or even tech items like USB drives with digital content.

3. Write Letters: Pen letters to your future self. Include your current thoughts, feelings, hopes, fears, predictions for the future, and questions you have for who you will become.

4. Set Your Goals: Document your personal or professional goals for the year ahead. Be as specific as possible – these will serve as milestones when you revisit your capsule.

5. Seal It Up: Once all items are placed inside, seal your time capsule. You might choose to use tape for an airtight closure or lock it if your container has that option.

6. Decide On A Reopening Date: Whether it’s in one year or five, mark your calendar with your chosen date.

7. Store It Safely: Find a secure place in your home or somewhere significant where the time capsule can stay undisturbed until it’s time to open it.

When the time comes to open your Beginning of Year Time Capsule, prepare yourself for an explosion of memories and emotions as you confront your past selves and measure the expectations held at the start of the year against actual outcomes. It’s not only revealing how much can change in short periods but also comforting to connect with previous hopes and musings that remain timeless.

Participating in a Beginning of Year Time Capsule Activity sets a conscious starting point for intentional living throughout the year ahead. While meaningful for individuals looking back on personal growth, this is equally valuable in educational settings where students can visualize tangible progress in their skills and understanding over the academic year.

End of Year Reflection Questions- Interactive Lapbook

As the sun sets on another year, it’s a valuable practice to pause and reflect on the moments that have shaped us. To assist with this introspective process, let’s explore the concept of an End of Year Reflection Questions Interactive Lapbook.

An interactive lapbook is a hands-on educational tool consisting of mini-books, foldables, and other manipulatives meticulously organized into a file folder. Used by educators and students alike, it facilitates an engaging learning experience. When crafted for reflecting upon the year’s experiences, it can become a treasured keepsake.

Creating your End of Year Reflection Lapbook requires some preparation. You need a file folder, colored paper, writing instruments, adhesives, and decorative items like stickers or photographs. Each section of your lapbook can present a different reflection question that prompts you to write or illustrate your response.

Here are potential reflection questions to include in your lapbook:

1. What am I most proud of achieving this year?

2. Which challenge did I overcome and how?

3. What new skills or knowledge have I learned?

4. Who has helped me the most this year and what did they do?

5. What was my happiest moment?

6. Which goals did I set but not achieve, and why?

7. How have my relationships improved or changed this year?

8. In what ways have I contributed to my community or to others?

9. What’s something important that I’ve discovered about myself?

10. What are three key lessons I’ve learned this past year?

Engaging with these questions through a lapbook makes the process interactive and concrete. You can visualize goals, celebrate growth, and acknowledge areas for future development.

To make it truly interactive, incorporate flaps under which you can write goals for the coming year or envelopes to tuck away letters written to your future self.

As you build your lapbook, give yourself the space to remember both achievements and missteps — each page turning into both a lesson and a stepping stone towards future growth.

By completing an End of Year Reflection Interactive Lapbook, you close one chapter with gratitude for its gifts while preparing yourself for a new beginning with clarity and purpose.

Guided Reading Folder Templates and Checklists

Guided reading sessions are an instrumental part of literacy instruction in many classrooms. These sessions help teachers tailor instruction to meet the individual needs of each student, monitoring progress and facilitating growth in reading skills. To conduct organized and effective guided reading sessions, educators often use folder templates and checklists to stay organized and track the progress of each student. In this article, we will explore what guided reading folder templates and checklists typically include, and how they can be used to maximize the benefits of guided reading sessions.

A guided reading folder template is typically a pre-arranged document or a set of documents where information about the guided reading session is recorded. This can include a variety of components depending on the teacher’s preferences and the needs of the students. Common elements found in guided reading folder templates include:

1. Student Information: This section includes details such as the student’s name, level, strengths, challenges, and goals.

2. Group Information: For teachers who organize their students into reading groups based on skill level or needs, this area lists group assignments and allows for changes to be made as students progress.

3. Reading Logs: Records of each book read by the student in the guided setting along with dates and notes on student performance or observations during the read.

4. Anecdotal Notes: Space for making informal observations about a student’s reading behaviors, comprehension, fluency, or any other notable aspects during the session.

5. Assessment Records: This part holds formal records from running records or other assessment tools used to measure students’ progress over time.

6. Session Plans: Outlines for each guided reading session noting objectives, book titles, vocabulary focus, comprehension questions, and follow-up activities.

7. Strategy Checklist: A list of reading strategies that students are learning to employ. Teachers can note when a student successfully uses a strategy during their reading.

8. Follow-up Task List: Assignments or activities for students to complete after their guided session that reiterate or extend learning from the book or passage they read.

9. Communication Logs: Notes on communication with parents regarding their child’s progress or areas where additional support at home can be beneficial.

Checklists are an invaluable tool within these templates as they allow educators to quickly reference what areas they need to address with each student. They can track whether certain books or materials have been used with a child, if a specific instructional focus has been covered, or if there has been communication with parents regarding progress.

Integrating these tools into daily classroom routines helps create consistency in instructional methods while also providing clear records that demonstrate how instruction is tailored to individual student needs. Guided reading folders enable a focused approach during small-group instruction times while also fostering a collaborative environment where students can receive personalized support based on ongoing assessments documented within these folders.

Educators looking for effective ways to implement guided reading sessions should consider creating their own folder templates or look for customizable options online that can fit their specific classroomdynamics. Similarly designed checklists should accompany these templates to ensure completeness in documenting all necessary aspects of the guided reading process.

By utilizing structured folder templates and comprehensive checklists throughout their guided reading program, teachers can enhance their literacy instruction and foster greater success among their students as readers.

Understanding Time – Year 3 and Year 4 Unit Plan

Time is a continuous sequence that organizes our experiences and events from the past, through the present, and into the future. It is a fundamental concept that helps us make sense of our world. For students in Year 3 and Year 4, learning about time is not just about reading clocks or understanding hours and minutes; it’s about comprehending its vastness, its applications in daily life, and the importance of time management.

A unit plan for teaching time to Year 3 and Year 4 students should be comprehensive, engaging, and structured in a way that builds on their previous knowledge while introducing new concepts progressively. Below is an outline of what such a unit may include:

 Week 1: Introduction to Time

– Discuss the concept of time as a measure of moments.

– Introduce various units of time (seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years).

– Recognize the significance of A.M. and P.M.

 Week 2: Clock Reading Skills

– Learn to read analog clocks.

– Understand the position of hands on the clock.

– Differentiate between hours and minutes.

 Week 3: Digital Clocks and Timetables

– Compare analog and digital clocks.

– Learn to read digital clocks.

– Introduction to simple timetables and schedules.

 Week 4: Days of the Week and Months of the Year

– Memorize the days of the week in order.

– Explore the concept of weekdays vs weekends.

– Study the twelve months, their sequence, and their unique characteristics (e.g., number of days).

 Week 5: Seasons and Time

– Understand how seasons impact time (daylight changes).

– Discuss cultural events associated with different times of the year.

 Week 6: Historical Time

– Brief overview of important historical eras (e.g., dinosaurs lived millions of years ago).

– Discover timelines as a tool to display historical events in chronological order.

 Week 7: Time Management

– Emphasize the importance of punctuality.

– Discuss strategies for managing daily tasks efficiently.

 Week 8: Revision and Assessment

– Review all topics covered in unit.

– Conduct assessments to test understanding and retention.

By integrating activities such as constructing simple sundials, creating personal timetables, or exploring history through timelines, teachers can help students form a practical understanding of time. With this unit plan, Year 3 and Year 4 students should develop an appreciation for time’s influence on all facets of life while gaining essential skills for organizing their routines effectively.