Sunday, September 6, 2015

Daily Math Spiral

My students had a problem in math.  It seemed that once a unit was over they mostly “forgot” the things they had learned.  Out of sight, out of mind??  So, to remedy this, I started doing a math spiral many years ago.  Before I had a projector system, I kept everything in a notebook and wrote it on the board each day.  Once I had a projector system and learned how to make my own products, I put the spiral into a more appealing format for my students to use daily.  I tried to incorporate most of the main concepts for 2nd grade.

I also wanted to include some other important information such as the date, how to write the date in a short format, how many days we’ve been in school and if the big number of the day is odd or even and its expanded form.  So I designed this “workmat” for the students to use.
I copy on assorted colors of construction paper and laminate to save on making so many copies.  (Always make a few extra for new students, lost papers or those that just really get to looking bad.) 

Each student has his/her own workmat to keep throughout the year.  Students do the front and back each day with a dry erase marker.  (Crayons will also work, you just have to put a little more elbow grease into it when erasing.) 
On the back of the workmat, the students have room to show their work as they solve numbers 1-5.
One year in 2nd, I had a teacher who came into my room during math to work with a small group of students while I worked with another. I used these spirals for small group instruction.  Instead of displaying on the screen, I printed the question page.  Students would use a write wipe board to solve each problem as they were guided through the process by me.  Another teacher printed 5 copies of each page… one for each group.  The students then worked as a small group to solve and write their answers on the workmat. There are really many different ways that this can be utilized in your classroom to make it work best for your students and the set-up of your classroom.

This daily spiral became a HUGE part of our daily math routine and such an important part of our daily learning.  My test scores soared! 

When I moved to 4th grade, I KNEW I had to make a spiral to use in 4th grade.  I made new workmats for those that prefer the "almost" paperless method.
(Front and back shown.)  However, I like for my students to do the work in their spiral notebooks each day.  Before the "BIG" test in the spring, I send the spirals home to use as a study guide.

All standards have been covered and reviewed a minimum of two times by March, so the 4th grade version ends with March although the 2nd grade continues from August until May.  Our scores went up significantly this past year and the principal feels it is in great part due to these math spirals.  This year, all 4th grade math teachers are using these daily.  Most are using with a notebook, but a couple are using the workmats.
 While the spiral for 2nd grade is more generalized and can also be used for first or third grade, the spiral for 4th grade is very specific for the 4th grade Common Core Curriculum.
At the beginning of the year, we begin with place value (#2).  I tell the students that all of the others are “previews” of what we will be learning during the year.  We work through the problems together.  However, we only focus on 1 standard for each of the 5 big headings each month.  After several days, the students start getting the hang of what the standard is asking of them.  When we cover that standard in our core later in the year, the students have already been exposed to the vocabulary and the concept.  By “frontloading” it into their brains earlier in the year, teaching it is a breeze!

Want to see more?  Check out the previews of the products in my store.  You can purchase each month individually or an entire year for both 2nd and 4th grade.