How To Make Spiral Math Review Work In Your Classroom
Spiral math review is extremely important and valuable to your students. Think about it: If you are teaching a concept one day and then quickly move on the next day, what are your students retaining? Unfortunately, so many math curriculums are designed that way. More Importantly, it is a huge disservice to our students to assume that getting one hour (probably not even that) of instruction on a certain skill is enough and then to not see it again until it’s tested.
I know you don’t think that way though 😉 So, why do it?
Spiral Math Review Is Powerful
Offering math review to your students is a powerful tool. By doing so, you are giving them the opportunity to constantly review what they have learned and to truly master it. You are allowing those students who didn’t quite truly “get it” during the instruction to practice it and ask questions. By spiraling the content, you are giving your students the opportunity to learn and grow.
Make it a true review
When you are giving your students spiral review, make sure it’s content that has been recently taught. It can also be content you taught previously that they need extra practice with. The saying is, “practice makes perfect” so therefore, your students need to practice.
Nothing is wrong with more exposure
Can we really say that extra exposure to a math strategy is bad? Definitely not. The more that students practice their math strategies, the more confidence and mastery they will gain. You are giving them the opportunity to actually reference and use those anchor charts you have hanging around the room. They look nice when your principal comes in for an eval, but don’t they look even nicer when they are used correctly?
When Should You Use Spiral Review?
You can use them anytime your schedule allows. I have used them as a daily warm-up to my math block and also as independent work during math centers. Possible times include:
- Early Finishers
- Morning Work
- Daily Warm-Up
- Math Centers
- Math Closing
Spiraling vs. Not Spiraling
I have taught and spiraled math and have taught and not spiraled math. Here’s what I noticed when I did spiral math content throughout the year and used daily warm-ups:
- Students had skills and content fresh in their mind more often than not. If I taught how to use ten frames in September, they remembered in March how to use a ten frame. When I didn’t spiral, I would have students look at me with a questionable face. This was unfortunate when the end of year district assessment popped up.
- I never had to stress myself out by reviewing content before district assessments.
- My students who needed longer to practice skills didn’t seem as frustrated. I also didn’t feel frustrated.
- On the other hand, when I didn’t spiral, things felt out of my control. I hated thinking that I had to get this taught and understood today because they won’t see it again. That’s a terrible feeling.
See what I use to spiral my math content
Click any of the links below to take you to my math journals. What I love about them is that you can easily add or omit what you need to spiral for the month and still have enough for the month. Student can keep their math journals in the desk all month long.