I really love teaching math! Honestly, like really, LOVE it.
One of the ways that I have found to best support my instruction in the classroom is a spiral review. Last year, I started writing the problems on the board and having the students fold their papers and write the answers on paper. That worked well, but then if kids needed more time to finish and I needed my board? There was a problem.
So I started taking pictures of what I was doing so that I could remember to put that on paper for this school year! Hence, my spiral review was born. I prefer to have students do skills that I’ve already taught, rather than do things they have not seen yet. This helps them to feel more confident and be more independent in the morning. There are 16 units of study for this set. I have one for each of the units that I am teaching in third grade math. Every morning, each student will have one of these on their desk. They can work on it alone or with a peer. However they work best is fine with me as long as they are focused! During the time that they are working on their morning work, I am usually working with students. Upon completion of their morning work, students in my classroom can go on the computer to do some other type of practice, collaborate with their literature circle, or read a book independently. There’s a rotation schedule for the computers so that the kids know when they are allowed to go on, but other than that? Student autonomy in the first hour of the day helps me a ton! It frees me up to work with kids and also gives the kids an opportunity to chat with each other on a variety of topics!
The math morning work comes in a set of 10-12 worksheets. Each worksheet has either six or eight questions. The first two are a review of previous skills. The subsequent problems are all on the SAME skill. This is so helpful! Kids get several bites at the same academic apple and it gives me a good idea of who needs me to sit with them and continue instruction.
Something that I experimented with this year that I really loved was allowing students to self-correct. It was a real time saver and helped students gain autonomy. The answer key is always in the same place and the first student to get it usually says, ‘see me if you need the key’. Then, the kids just get it from each other as they are finished.
The beauty of self correction is autonomy. Because I am working with groups of students in the morning, the kids know I can pull them at any time to check their understanding. I can always tell if someone is using the key inappropriately. Instead of being punitive, that is a great time to remind the student that I am here to help and would be really excited to work with them in the morning! I add them to the schedule for the next day immediately and make sure that their time is engaging and that they feel supported. It doesn’t take long for students to see that I really do love that time and they start coming to me to be added into the rotation on their own.
Here are the links to the currently completed units: