Spiral Review

The idea of reviewing concepts throughout the course of the year is nothing new, so nothing is this post will likely be anything new.  I’ve fallen into a routine with how I review concepts throughout the year in my classroom, and overall I’m happy with it, so I thought I’d share what works for me.

Part 1:

The first day of the week students get a Spiral Review Worksheet that has anywhere from  8-12 problems on it.

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At the start of the year these are review problems from the previous grade -things that in my first couple years of teaching I spent time reteaching.  I’ve found that by putting them on these review sheets and encouraging students to Google them if they don’t remember, I don’t have to spend much time, if any, reteaching these concepts, and it gives me an opportunity to help students through the process of Googling things and how to use their resources to figure out a problem.

As the year goes on, the problems are mostly things we’ve covered this year.  When I know students will need a previous concept in an upcoming unit, I will make sure to include it in a few worksheets leading up to that unit.

The worksheets are due on the last day of the week, and I correct them by highlighting their mistakes.  I know I’m not perfect at grading this way.  I miss things, but I’ve found that when I use this method of grading more students actually look at their mistakes in the problem.  The  video in the link above explains what I do.  Overall, I try to highlight the first time a student makes a mistake in the problem.  I only highlight things after the initial mistake if the student made another mistake beyond the initial one.

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When I first started creating the Spiral Review Worksheets, I typically put the problems in order on the worksheet based on when we covered them in class with the newest problems at the end.  However, I’m now intentional about mixing them up so that students have to jump around from various concepts.

Part 2:

I didn’t start doing this part of the spiral review worksheets right away.  It took me a year or so for me to realize that this part of the process was possibly more important than reviewing the problems to begin with and to come up with a system that worked for me.

Then the second week, instead of getting a new worksheet, the assignment is for students to make corrections on the Spiral Worksheet from the previous week.

I have students make these corrections on a separate sheet of paper and turn in the corrections along with the original worksheet.  For the assignment to be counted “complete” in the grade book, students need to get most of the problems they initially got wrong correct.  It takes a little bit for students to get used to this system.  Some of my middle schoolers don’t understand why an assignment shows that it’s “missing” in the grade book when they turned in it, but after a couple times of doing this they understand the process.


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