[Effective Teacher] Teacher, I’m Done! Now What?

With students working at different paces, some get finished with their work before others do. And trouble starts. In the home-school environment, mom is working with one child while the others are getting out of control.

If we do not re-direct them to something else (hopefully educational), most of the time they will find a way to keep busy–usually with something that we don’t want.

The two most common ways a teacher reacts are

  1. we stop what we are doing and direct them to something else
  2. we get interrupted while we are busy helping another student or accomplishing some other task

Well, there is a third option . . . And that is to develop an “I’m Done” list.

(click to enlarge image)

An I’m Done list is a list of other educational activities students can do while waiting for the next lesson or for the rest of the class to catch up with him/her.

It really is worth your time to sit down and develop a list of (meaningful) activities for students when they get finished with their work but class is not dismissed yet.

This list keeps the student from interrupting you or anyone else. He simply chooses something from the list to do. When he forgets and interrupts you or someone else, simply point at the sign without saying a word! Eventually your students will remember to choose something on the list without even asking.

Teacher’s Assignment
Get out your Teach the Teacher Journal (a spiral notebook) and make an I’m Done List for your classroom. Put some thought into it. Then, type it, print it, prettyfy it, and hang it up for all eyes to see.

Sample I’m Done List
Here’s an  I’m Done List [PDF]  I put together for my students.

Take it. Use it. Modify it. Why start from scratch?

If you like my list but want to change it, use one of these:

And here is another I’m Done list Reading Rockets.org Article 306.

How To Use the I’m Done List
Explain to your students what the list is for. Demonstrate how to use it. Then role play with your students to make sure they understand.

For the next several weeks (and throughout the year), explain the I’m Done List to your students from time to time. This is called teaching procedures. I even put questions about the list on exams.

This is the second activity related to developing a set of classroom procedures.

Feel free to leave comments about what’s on your I’m Done List and how it works for you and your students.


Up Next inshaAllah, Three Characteristics of an Effective Teacher



3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Umm Samyrah
    Oct 25, 2008 @ 14:31:33

    what files or software must you have to download the Iam done list? its not opening right

  2. Aami
    Oct 27, 2008 @ 15:30:18

    hmm…i dont know why its not opening. i just now made it a pdf file and also an odt file. try to see if one of those work. if not, let me know.

  3. talibiddeenjr
    Nov 16, 2009 @ 20:29:56

    As salaamu alaykum,

    So many options for downloading, lol. Masha Allah.
    I tried the doc version and had no problems, masha Allah.

    I had been meaning to start one of these for myself but never got around to it.

    Thanks a lot for posting.

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