Bee Busy - A system for your Fast Finishers

I love teaching and being a teacher. There are a few tiny things that do annoy me in the classroom, however. Perhaps the most, is that little consistently-occurring question of "what do I do now?".

For as long as I have been a teacher, and a little time before that, I have told my students "Be Busy". In just 2 words words, I am telling them both WHAT to do and HOW to behave.

When I first introduce them to this idea, we explore what being 'busy' looks like. I have had "Bee Busy" stations set up in a few different ways. I have had them:
  • in a stand of trays (tote tray shelf)
  • a little low-table with activities in containers and baskets, 
  • a Bee Busy Cupboard and 
  • a pocket chart holder.
Now I am trying drawers! In the past my Bee-Busy learning center has been very flexible, largely write-n-wipe activity cards. For my drawers, I want more of a structured system. I have combined these ideas in one easy-to-prep packet, - the Bee Busy Drawers.

Start with a 6 drawer unit (or more if you need it)!

  • Each drawer houses a different STYLE of activity. 
  • The goal is to have your students as independent as possible. 
  • If the drawers stay the same, students will become increasingly independent and focused each week. 
Structured drawers help create more freedom and flexibility for you. I know, how does that work?! Well, it makes your other resources more versatile. Slip them into the routine and piggyback off the experiences your students have built up.

You can add ANY printable activity you already have, or find on sites like TeacherspyTeachers and incorporate it into a framework your students are confident and happy with! 

Optional: Cup of Popsicle sticks on Top

  • Have one for each activity, matching the color of the drawer. 
  • If you have 4 activity options in the green drawer, have 4 green sticks. 
  • When students take an activity out, they take the matching stick. 
  • Students become more responsible for returning equipment (and put their stick back)
  • They can quickly see what is available - instead of opening and flipping through drawers - if there are no green sticks, they wont need to open the green drawer.

First Drawer

The top drawer is where you keep all your bits and bobs - pencils, dice, clips etc.

Label the Drawers

Label each drawer, so the student become familiar with the activities and can return the equipment properly.

Keep it Simple

For each activity, think of the simplest way of presenting it. I like elastic bands around the cards, but you could also use baggies, small containers or pouches. The less fuss, the more attractive to students that are eager to do something. It also strips back your classroom routines. Your students will be engaged in a focused skills based activity in a a matter of seconds. Why is this important? Well, you can use up those little 5 minute blocks of spare time and make them irresistibly valuable! I hate wasting time, and like to squeeze every once of learning I can into the school day.

Starter Pack

My packet includes 16 activities to get you started. That is 4 per drawer. I have selected activities that focus on the basics. The idea of a "Bee Busy" station is that students are reinforcing and consolidating skills already learnt. No need to monitor, assess, regulate.

Print and Play Activities

I took extra time to 'package' these activities as 'Print and Play Games" - if you use my resources you will know what I am talking about. These are packets I make to use in small group rotations and center-based learning time. Each file includes a cover page, worksheet and detailed instruction sheet that is handy for giving to an adult helper working with your small groups. These additional pages are not necessary for the Bee Busy Drawers, but I included them so that this packet can be multi-use to you! Once you have used them in the Bee Busy Drawers, you can file them away for use in other areas of your program. Yay!

If you would like to try my 'Bee Busy Drawers" idea, I have just listed it at TpT.

Thanks so much for stopping by today!