we help adults teach art to kids

Perfect Timing: Solutions for Early Finishers – Art Made Easy 029


Do you get frustrated when your students rush to finish a project to work on free drawing or a coloring sheet?

Do you find you are constantly being challenge to find solutions for early finishers?

In this episode of Art Made Easy, I walk you through strategies to help your students finish an art project during the scheduled time plus tips to help you assess your lesson timelines, free choice activities and grade-level projects.


  • Why you really need to step back and look at the reasons why timing is problematic in the first place
  • What to expect when kids begin art projects
  • How providing predictability in what your children can expect in the art room can go a long way in gauging how long it will take them to do a certain task
  • How demonstrations can be used before, and during a lesson, to grow the listening and attention skills of your students
  • Why your reaction matters
  • The benefits of sticking to a lesson that was tested for that grade level
  • Why setting up as many limitations as possible for the “perfectionist” student is the best thing you can do
  • How to use free choice time effectively
  • Why portfolios can be a good alternative to free choice
  • The benefits of directed line drawings and how they can be used to help get a handle on how long children are able to work on a project
  • Patty’s strategies and script for teaching a direct drawing

Subscribe to Art Made Easy and receive new episodes directly on your phone via your podcast Ap. 

Note: If you have an iPhone, subscribe in iTunes. If you have an Android phone, subscribe in Stitcher.




Draw & Paint a ¾ View Snowman Art Project

How to Draw a Snowman without using Circles Art Project

AME 025: All About Guided Drawings

All About Free-Choice Art Time


  1. Patty! you were speaking to me! I am a first year teacher and true to life, we are going through our 5th week of school and I noticed that the “when I am finished” work has become more important than the actual lesson work. I really learned so much from this podcast. Thank you!

    CC Bass

    October 16, 2016

  2. This was very helpful-thank you! Could you do a podcast on best practices for clean-up procedures in the art room? How do you do cleanup with different grade levels? Also, how do you end an art class? What kinds of ways to you ask students to reflect on their work or learning before leaving the art room? Thanks so much!


    October 19, 2016

    • A gallery Walk around the room is a great way to end a project/unit. I have the students leave their art work on the table, push in their chairs and silently(I stress this step) walk around the room and observe their classmates art work. During this time, I ask them to choose 1-2 projects that really stood out to them and what it was about the projects (effort, creativity, use of color/shapes, etc.)that they enjoyed about that piece of work. After they all return to their seat, the students share out which projects caught their eye (I’m also thinking of having the students write it down and hand it to the artist). When we begin a new project, I always have student’s asking if we will do a gallery walk afterward. It’s a great way to recognize the student’s work.


      October 29, 2016

  3. I love using line and shape practice worksheets and pre-assessments for the next lesson for the few early finishers at the end of a project. I find students cannot get enough practice looking at and drawing their shapes. I have them at different levels of complexity by grade. When the rest of the class starts their worksheets, I have the early finishers create a drawing on the back of their worksheets using the shapes they just practiced.

    Rachelle Kaufman

    October 21, 2016

  4. Patty this was such an informative episode. I found it valuable because I teach private one-on-one art sessions to kids and I applied your advice on engagement and portfolios – it has worked wonders. Thank you so much for podcasting your expertise!


    November 8, 2016

What do you think?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *