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Brainy Apples: Spend Less Time Reteaching Using Daily Spiral Math
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Spend Less Time Reteaching Using Daily Spiral Math

How many of your students forget learned math skills, and you find yourself having to reteach those skills before you can progress to the next big idea? This definitely happened to me, and I really wanted to find a solution so that I wasn't in a constant state of spending days reteaching skills my students had learned earlier in the year.

The math curriculum I used was a mastery-based curriculum, which I prefer over a spiral-based curriculum. Mastery-based focuses on teaching units of study, with students mastering the idea before moving onto the next unit. Spiral-based focuses on teaching small chunks of a variety of skills, and then cycling back through to teach those same skills but to a higher level (I guess it's also called laddering). I used a spiral-based curriculum years ago, and I could not stand it at all. It didn't work well for my struggling students because they needed more time to practice those skills, and jumping around just flat out confused them. 

So when my district adopted a mastery-curriculum, I was jumping for joy. I also knew, too, that I needed to have something in place so my kids would not forget math skills from units we completed.  I loved using Calendar Math on a daily basis because when we counted money every day, by the time the money unit came up, most of my kids had a solid understanding of each coin and were already counting change. Sure, a few of my students still didn't understand money even after counting coins for 103 days, but they did have more background knowledge than if we hadn't counted coins for 103 days. I decided to create a spiraling resource I could use with my students from day 1 that would serve this same purpose, but for all of our standards.

What are daily spiral math reviews?
The reviews I created served as a supplement to my existing math curriculum. Each day students are practicing one problem from each of the grade level's math domains. So when I taught 1st grade, students solved 4 problems a day. When I taught 4th grade, students solved 5 a day. These reviews take about 10-15 minutes a day to complete and go over. They are bite-sized chunks so that students are quickly reviewing and even previewing skills all year long.

What are the benefits of a daily spiral math review?
There are several reasons I used daily spiral math reviews in my class. The main reason, though, is I loved how my students were getting a quick review of skills they had already learned. I didn't realize how well my students were retaining skills, though, until it came to our end of year review sessions before the state standardized test. Previous years it took several days to review concepts I had taught earlier in the year and get it fresh in my students' minds again. The first year I used a daily spiral math review, though, I only spent a day reviewing. And, honestly, I wouldn't even call it a review because my students remembered the skills! I was ecstatic, and they were confident going into the EOY test because they hadn't crammed the info into their minds just for the test. They had truly mastered those skills. Another benefit of using a daily spiral math review is that it provides the perfect opportunity for informal assessments. You can get a snapshot of how each student is progressing, and you can also identify any weaknesses BEFORE you teach that unit. You can plan ahead for interventions so when you get to that unit, you can hit the ground running with those struggling students. You can also plan ahead acceleration activities for those students who have already mastered those standards. Daily spiral math reviews can help you differentiate your instruction for each unit, so you are meeting each student's individual needs.

How can you use daily spiral math reviews?
I used them in a variety of ways in my classroom. I used them as bell ringers because it helped my students get into the mathematical way of thinking. I also used them as morning work so that students had something meaningful to get their minds right for the school day. As the year progressed, I used them as a math center station (we had math centers before our math block), so that when our math block began the review was already finished and we could quickly go over them. At the end of the year they became homework because students had mastered all of the standards. The possibilities are numerous, and you will be able to find the best way to use them for your classroom.

What if students struggle?
I did not always make my struggling students complete all of the review. Sometimes I would circle the problems I wanted them to solve. Sometimes I would work with them on those skills we hadn't learned yet in a small group. It would only take a few minutes of our group work time. My students also learned that it was OK to not attempt a problem if they did not know how. However, my students also knew my expectation was if we had learned the skill in class, they HAD to work on solving the problem. I wanted them to learn perseverance and not just throw their hands up if it was difficult BUT reasonable for them to solve.

That first year my second grade students and I found great success using daily spiral math reviews. So much so, when I changed to first grade, I created a daily spiral math review for first grade. And then when I became a curriculum coach, I created daily spiral math reviews for the other elementary grade levels. I now have a year long daily spiral math review for grades K-5. It took time, but it was WELL worth it! I would love to offer you a free week to see if will work for you! Just click {HERE} or the image below to receive a free week for grades K-5 from the month of August.
Brainy Apples, math, math retention, daily review, spiral review, morning work, homework

Interested in learning more about why and how I use daily spiral math reviews, or even how to create your own? Check out my upcoming webinars to find a date that works for you! You can also join my email list below to stay informed.





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