• Spiraling Skills:
    This website explains the reason why spiraling is needed in classroom instruction: http://www.minds-in-bloom.com/2014/07/4-simple-ways-to-spiral-through-math.html 
    Have you ever asked your students a question during a math lesson they should know the answer to, only to realize they literally have no idea what you are talking about?  Students stare with blank faces, while the teacher wonders, “How can this be happening? I just spent weeks on this topic!”  Any teacher can attest, this happens way more than it should!  Well, I’m here to tell you there is a simple solution to this problem of “forgetfulness”, and it is called spiraling!
    When teaching math, most teachers believe they need to continue to teach a topic until it has been mastered by their students.   This mastery approach is what I like to call, the “beating a dead horse” approach.  Yes, some students will master the concept quickly, but most, unfortunately, will not.   What tends to happen is teachers spend lots of time teaching, testing, feeling frustrated reteaching, reviewing, and retesting the same topic.  A “1-to-2 week unit” has now stretched for three, or even four weeks.  Yikes!!!  What teacher has time for that?

    The spiraling approach is the exact opposite!  Just like a spiral goes round and round, spiraling in the classroom does the same thing; you continuously spiral the standards so they are constantly being “touched on” by your students.  Instead of focusing on one concept for weeks until mastery is reached, standards are taught with the idea that the students will be revisiting them, in some way, time and time again, before reaching mastery…and that’s okay.  In the end, everything comes together.

    After years of using this approach in my own classroom, I have found some highly effective ways to “spiral” through the standards.  
    1. Spiral through Guided Math
    Why I like it!  This is one of the simplest ways I incorporate spiraling into my daily instruction.  A majority of the time (meaning all the time) students learn at different paces.  Some students need more review, while others don't.  Guided math time, or small group instruction, is the perfect time and place to slip in those spiral lessons.
    How it works!  After teaching a unit, I assess my students and move on to the next unit.  The assessment is then used to develop a "plan of action" for my small group instruction.  I determine what skills I need to focus on, and teach a quick review lesson at the beginning of each small group meeting.  My review lesson may just be a problem for my students to solve, or maybe more.  Each time we meet, I quickly review a few past skills before moving on to the current skill.  
    2.  Spiral through Centers
    Why I like it!  Anytime I can make learning fun, I go for it.  Center time in my room is always noisy and chaotic, in the best way possible of course.  This is my opportunity to turn a spiraling opportunity into a fun game.
    How it works!  Each week I change out my center activities.  One of those activities is a game that reviews a skill/concept I have already taught.  It can be something as simple as a card game reviewing multiplication, or a dice game for dividing decimals. (Click here for a free Multiplying Whole Numbers game!) It is important to focus on a different skill each time students visit this center.  

    3.  Spiral through Homework

    Why I like it!  This is by far my favorite way to spiral!  It takes the least amount of instructional time, and allows parents to see what their child is expected to know.  The amount of homework is not overwhelming (ex. 30 long division practice problems...too much!). The daily review keeps all previously taught concepts fresh, and provides enough daily practice  so that my students have a chance to master skills they are still struggling with.  I can't ask for anything better than that!
    How it works! I send home about 8 to 12 problems a night that spiral through the standards I have already taught in class.  The next day I spend about 5 to 10 minutes at most, checking over the spiral problems, and addressing any concerns my students may have.  This process repeats every day of the week!
    **If you don't have your own version of spiral homework, or don't want to make it, my spiral homework is available in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  You can even try it FREE.  {Grades 2-6}
    4. Spiral through Technology

    Why I like it!  Highly engaging...need I say more?
    How it works!  Through the use of various types of technology (laptops, tablets, computers) I incorporate various websites into my my daily math centers.  Students are given time each day/week to use technology to access these sites and review concepts they have already learned.  It is important to designate specific websites to specific students so that you know they are working on various skills they need the most practice with.  

    A few of my favorite website for math games...

    As you can probably tell, I'm very enthusiastic when it comes to spiraling in my classroom.  It has brought my students much success, and built-up their math skills, as well as their confidence.  I hope this spiraling method will bring your students the same success!