Spiral review is a buzz word you will hear many times over in your career as a teacher. But what exactly does it mean? In this post, we will tackle the ins and outs of spiral review and show you effective strategies and resources for making it work for you!
Have you ever had one of those days where you thought you were going to teach one thing, but end up re-teaching a concept that has POPPED back up again?
We’ve all been there and we’ll all be there again sooner or later. Wait, hold the phone…we WILL ALL BE THERE AGAIN!? Well, yes, we will be unless we start making spiral review work in your favor.
There are two ways to teach concepts. The way that it has always been done in “chunks”; for example, for three weeks we learn about long division and then we’ll hope it sticks when testing season comes around.
The second way to teach concepts is through the spiral technique which is teaching small sections at a time and revisiting them regularly.
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Spiral Review: What is it?
Spiral review is used throughout the year to help keep important skills at the forefront of students’ minds while still moving on to new content. In a way, spiral review is like deciding to tone a certain part of your body. If you want to get leaner arms, you will start doing arm exercises that focus on those muscles.
Once you get the desired tone, you don’t stop doing arm exercises, you keep going in order to keep that physique. Similarly, when you start to build a specific skill whether that’s in Math or English, you can’t stop doing maintenance just because the building is complete.
Spiral review is every day maintenance for your students’ brains. So how do you make spiral review work for you? Follow these simple tips to create a year full of learning that sticks!
Spiral Review: How do you use it?
One way to make spiral review work for you is to, first off, make sure you are truly reviewing. Sometimes we think it’s review, but actually it is new. To ensure it is truly a review, use content specific review after you have taught a specific idea or concept.
I know this sounds simple, but sometimes we get ahead of ourselves. Make sure you have taught all of the concepts within the content before reviewing it. You can also use skill specific reviews for ideas you are going to use over and over again.
Another way to make spiral review work is by ensuring your students have references available to them. As the year goes on, it’s easy for students to forget different content you have taught them and it can become cumbersome for us to review EVERYTHING we think is vital.
Therefore, you should have anchor charts posted for reference or guided worksheets that you give students or put into an updateable workbook for them. Not all of your students are going to need these reference guides, but it will be good for those who do.
Although it’s important to implement spiral review whenever you can, try to think beyond morning work and homework. You can use spiral review within your centers, as bell-ringers, or a “before you go” type of an activity. Try to think about “wasted” time in your day and instead of wasting it, recycle it by using spiral review and making it work for you.
Resources for Spiral Review
Finally, make sure you stay organized. No matter what you are going to have to update your spiral review material because you will always be adding more ideas that you will want your students to review.
If you feel like there’s not enough time in the day but you want to make spiral review work for you, check out my Teachers Pay Teachers store and the bundles I have available.
There are three different “spiral review” grade level bundles ready and waiting for you for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade. You can buy these units separately or you can buy them in a mega bundle.
These are great resources to use whether they are morning start-ups, time-fillers for those students who get done early, or extra homework help.
- Grade Level On Each Page
- Easy to Organize
- Daily ELA Content Review
- Daily Spiraled Math Review
- Print and Go
Regardless of how you choose to spiral review, these already created worksheets can and will work for you. If you would like a sample of the First Grade bundle click here!
We’ve all been there. We’ve all been to the place where you know you taught the information, but for some reason it just isn’t sticking with your students. A great way to combat a brain fog is to keep the air clear throughout the year.
Exercising the same skill over and over may seem tedious, but it will help keep your students’ brains toned and ready to lift off.
Have you used spiral review in your classroom? I would love to hear from you about how you use it to keep your students refreshed and their skills on point! Leave a comment below to share how you use this strategy and resource in your classroom.