The Joy of Teaching – An Evan-Moor Blog

Sharing creative ideas and lessons to help children learn

Class Management Strategies: Early Finishers, Morning Work and Brain Breaks


Classroom teachers are transitioning students from one activity to the next throughout the school day. All of these minutes add up by the end of the year.   Make the most out of every classroom minute with these three strategies. They will increase student engagement, promote learning, and prevent classroom misbehavior.

 Early Finisher Task Box

  1. Designate an area of your classroom where you will keep extra activities and tasks for students when they finish early.
  2. Post instructions next to the activity box with a list of ideas and instructions for students.
  3. Train students to know where to look for instructions and how to complete the assignments. Walk them through completing each activity so they can work independently in the future.
  4. Create activities and lessons that are engaging that students will enjoy completing. Activities are best when they don’t require a lot of prep work for you and do not teach a new skill.Examples: read a book, Sudoku or crossword puzzle, draw and label a picture, create individual word search with spelling words.


Morning Work

  1. Establishing a routine every morning with students provides a clear transition signal for students to settle into their desks every day. It is also a great way to maximize you time with students and provides daily spiral review.
  2. Daily Fundamentals is a great option for cross-curricular morning work. Daily 10- to 15-minute lessons review grade-appropriate concepts for each grade. Download a free sample here.



  1. Students need little breaks throughout the day. Incorporate some brain breaks into your lessons and you will increase class engagement and attention. (Think about how you feel after a two-hour professional development meeting.)
  2. Use classroom apps such as Go Noodle and Motion Maze.
  3. Randomly fill a jar with movement activities and choose a student to pick one.



Heather Foudy is a certified elementary teacher with over 7 years’ experience as an educator and volunteer in the classroom. She enjoys creating lessons that are meaningful and creative for students. She is currently working for Evan-Moor’s marketing and communications team and enjoys building learning opportunities that are both meaningful and creative for students and teachers alike.

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