I learned this strategy from my mentor teacher, Nina Bonito-Romine.
Activity and Purpose
I have 49 colored, laminated file folders that have worksheets glued inside with answer keys on the back for students to work on if they finish any given classwork assignment early. This is so that they always have something to work on and do not distract classmates or otherwise disrupt the class.
Creating the folders
- Gather ALL kinds of different worksheets in Spanish–logic puzzles, short stories with questions, geography, grammar drill/verb conjugation, vocabulary practice (weather, time, clothes, etc.), critical thinking problems, etc. Here are the Fast Finisher activity packs that I have for sale on TpT, and here is a Pinboard with Printable activities in Spanish that could work for this purpose.
- Gather a bunch of file folders (colored or manila).
- Glue the worksheets into the inside of the folder.
- Write in or glue any information that the students might need to complete the worksheet on the inside of the folder as well–for example, if the activity has to do with weather vocabulary, glue a weather vocab list on the inside cover. That way, students can complete it even if you haven’t learned weather vocab. If it’s a list of verbs to conjugate in the preterite, write down the preterite verb endings…etc., etc., etc.
- Write or glue an answer key on the back of the folder.
- Number all of your folders on the tab (mine are cero-cuarenta y nueve).
- Laminate the folders.
- Create a chart that contains all of the numbers of the folders that you have, along with a place for students to write their names.
- Copy the number chart.
Using the folders
- Whenever students finish work early, they grab a file folder, a dry erase marker, and an eraser.
- They return to their seats and work on the activity.
- Whenever they finish one of the activities, they check their own work (against the answer key on the back of the folder).
- Students show me the completed activity.
- I put a sticker over the number of that folder on the sticker chart to show that they have already done it so that they can keep track of which folders they have yet to do. (See my simple sticker chart here.)
- Students erase the folder and get a new one.
- If we move on to a new activity before they finish, they write their name on the outside of the folder and put it in a separate “in progress” bin until the next time they do folder work.
Although I encourage my kiddos to complete the activity before they check the answers, I don’t really care if they cheat a little bit as long as they stay busy. There is no reward for filling in the sticker chart, so it doesn’t really matter. If I notice that they are going through them really quickly and obviously just copying the answers, I address that issue.