Make Math Moments Academy › Forums › Full Workshop Reflections › Module 6: LongRange Planning and Assessment to Make Math Moments That Matter › Lesson 63: 6 Steps To Spiralling Your Math Class. › Lesson 63: Questions

Lesson 63: Questions
Posted by Jon on May 1, 2019 at 12:06 pmShare any questions, comments, thinking, and comments on the 6 steps to spiralling your math class.
Alison Peternell replied 3 months, 3 weeks ago 73 Members · 86 Replies 
86 Replies

In Hong Kong, chapters of textbooks are presented using the idea of spiralling. Each topic is taught in 6 to 8 school days.
Step 1: Know what you need to teach
Step 2: Assess by learning goal or standards
Step 3: Create topics, strands or big ideas
Step 4: Plan your cycles, spirals or chunks
Step 5: Be comfortable changing your plan
Step 6: Interleave your assessments
Out of the 6 steps of spiralling, step 3 needs to be enhanced as teachers here usually teach in the order of the agreed scheme of work. Seldom do teachers create topics or try out big ideas. We insert collaborative learning activities like estimation activity in F.1, travelling activity in F.2, experiential learning activity in F.4 on one of the school days per year. That’s certainly insufficient. There’s room for improvement. Perhaps with the help of flipped classroom, more time can be left for implementing special collaborative learning activities per month.

Although it may take time and adjustment, I think spiraling is something I can do. I also like the concept of interleaving assessments so that students are not focused on learning just to pass a test. In addition, I plan to give timely and supportive feedback to my students. I also like using tests as “check ins” so that I can determine whether I need to pivot or proceed with my lessons. I also like how spiraling will keep bringing up concepts so there can be more opportunities for students to reflect and make connections.

As stated previously, I love the idea of spiraling and I can’t wait to be back in the classroom and be able to figure out how to incorporate this in with my special education students. I feel like they are always so focused on tests and grades and they never really look at the big picture or think about whether they actually feel they have mastered a concept. I like th idea of assessing by learning goals, being comfortable with changing the plans, and interleaving your assessments. I also love the idea of calling assessments “check ins” rather than tests. I feel like kids would feel so much less pressured and we’d really get a better idea of where we need to adjust our teaching and whether we can proceed to the next lesson or if we need to pivot and reteach skills again. I love that the assessments don’t just cover the main topic being taught, but continue to revisit those previously taught concepts as well.

I really love the idea of the checkin day, where feedback is used to provide the students information about where they are in relation to the learning goal(s) and strategies they can use to reach the goal(s). I also love how this gives information to the teacher as to how to drive instruction based on the needs of the students in front of them.

While I won’t be able to try spiraling so late in the school year, I will be able to interleave assessments (or check ins) to help me decide if I should proceed as planned or pivot my plan. Flexibility during the school year is always important, but it is especially critical now during distance learning. Another take away from the 6steps to spiralling is that reminder to build retrieval strength in our students. Assigning checkins without review or cramming sessions before will force students to dig deep and strengthen their retrieval strategies.

I love the idea of spiraling the math content. I just would like some more ideas on how to spiral the content when I have a curriculum that I have to use and a pacing guide for the grade level. But I can definitely see myself doing some formative assessment.

I lovee the mastery day idea and I always liked standards based learning. I am mving to a new school within the same district next year. ( same dictated curriculum and tests). I will have to sit down and see what i can control and what i can’t at the new school.

Definitely take it one step at a time. Starting slow is important, so maybe not having too much control might be helpful to keep you realistic with the initial changes you hope to make?


Hey @admin , where can I get a copy of the Learning Log and MFM1P Spiral planning spreadsheet? Share the love, guys. 🙂

https://tapintoteenminds.com/standardsbasedgradinggamifiedbadges/
I think this post from their website has the planner and some other ideas.

Hey @MaggieMoor
Does this help?
You can find more here too:
http://mrorrisageek.com/catchthespiral/
https://tapintoteenminds.com/spirallingguide/Hope this helps!

This is the one I was very interested in:



I teach in a school where I have to follow what all the math teachers are doing which is teaching by topic and using common assessments. Thus, I will only be able to interleave the assessments (by modifying them). As Kyle said to the previous student, it might help to keep me more realistic in how much to chew off in a day. I’m setting my goal to do three steps to spiralling for this year.

@ruthrancier0275 – I work at a school that does things that way too! While I understand the administration’s idea behind it and the opportunities it can afford students who might move between classrooms, I also am trying to wrap my head around how we could pull off a shift to spiralling content and unblocking our traditional units to better meet the needs of our students who greatly suffer from lack of retention skills. I know this is something we can support as teachers – but doing so within strict school/district guidelines is going to be tricky.


The main thing you need to know as a teacher when it comes to spiralling your math units is that you need to understand where your students are coming from. How much do they know, how much do they remember? Then you need to assess your students and see them in action. This will help you see where the class needs more help and where they understand the content. This will help you understand what area in the until the class is struggling so you don’t reteach the whole unit.

I am pretty excited about this. I agree wholeheartedly that you have to know your content in order to set up a year well with the idea of spiralling. I look forward to hearing more!

This is beautiful! I’m definitely getting a better understanding of how we can begin the spiraling process now for next year!

I like the idea of Interleaving assessments to help determine moving forward or pivoting whether I spiral or not. Students needs to see Assessments as less stressful and more as a helpful tool for them and the teacher.

Since I already use a curriculum that does a good job of spiraling, there isn’t a lot I need to change, except the assessing. The unit tests are so very long it takes students two or more days to complete. I have found I can break them down into smaller chunks and give two or three question quizzes instead. I also found some topics were not given enough opportunities to remember, and have had to use plickers, or Goformative to work those concepts into my instruction.

I think spiralling needs lots of time and adjustment. As part of a team focusing on marks for the different strands of the report cards, it can be hard to incorporate in the daily teaching. When we start in Sep, we are being told to start with Number Sense and to have grades ready before the reorganization happens at the end of Sep or early October!!. Any advice?

Spiraling curriculum will be a great deal of work but so worth it! I love the ideas of checkins” instead of “tests” and interleaving strands. I have so much planning to do this summer!!

I was already planning on assessing by learning goals for the upcoming year. The idea about interleaving assessments has helped me to get a better grasp on how to do this.

I’m so excited to try this, and I did some deep work already this year with diving into the math frameworks for both 7th and 8th grade, so I’m excited to weave the topics together.
I guess one thing that I’m wondering is how long you spend on a topic in each spiral — does it become kind of 1day1strand or will some strands take a week to cover before you move onto others? Looking at your example, it seems to differ depending on the learning goal.
I also wonder about if the learning goals you choose from each strand for a spiral need to have direct connections to the other learning goals in different strands — connections can be so helpful for students, but some things are just totally unrelated to other topics. I don’t want to create whiplash for kids either. Thoughts?

My school district is still in the very early stages of adopting standardsbased assessment. We were told last year that it’s coming and to begin trying it out. So, I definitely want to convert to it this year. Completely spiraling all of my lessons would be way too much for me to bite off at the moment, but I can spiral my assessments and begin to think more in terms of creating topics or strands and lesson cycles. I would like to use the problembased tasks to anchor my topics, but since this coming school year will be my first time using them, I’m going to have to get really comfortable and experienced with utilizing them in class with students first.

I LOVE the idea of mastery day check in and interleaving assessments without a review day. It just plain makes sense to me! I really need to get comfortable with my new grade level standards quickly so I can start making some changes. I’m bummed my same grade colleague didn’t take this course with me! It’d be great to have her with the same knowledge I’m gaining here.

I really enjoyed this video. Spiralling seemed like a neat idea I would like to try but it also seemed like this abstract far away – unreachable concept until watching this. The steps were well structured, and seeing examples of the way you structure your class and assess students is a great starting point! Thanks.

I am super excited about doing this with my math standards. I remember doing this years ago with 8th grade science curriculum when I was blocking, and it was really valuable for my teaching. I am a bit anxious about how it will work with the textbook, but I feel that the research to support spiralling cannot be ignored.

I really like testing this way and always include review questions on my assessments. It helps them to see that it topics we cover are important all year not just when we are in a particular unit. Their retention of the course information has improved as a result. It always makes me chuckle at the end of the year when the students say things like, “the class was easy… I didn’t even have to study… I just knew the stuff.” Funny how that happened!

This module got me motivated to start prepping for September, and I just wanted to get your input on a couple of things.
1) After looking at the spreadsheets of your Calendar/Long Range plan, I see that you have a learning goal per day. I actually took the time to go through all the 3 act lessons on this site and on tapintoteenminds.com to cross reference them with the learning goals of the newly released ontario Math curriculum for 7&8. A lot of the activities obviously hit multiple LGs. Do you recommend sticking to 1 LG per day / lesson and visiting other ones when you cycle back, or is it ok to evaluate several LGs in a day’s task?
2) In Ottawa, our board is looking at having a 2day cycling schedule where Monday and Tuesday you see some kids for shorter days, and Thursday and Friday you would see the rest, while Wednesday would be a deep clean day. Details are still to come, but I really want to set my classroom culture to follow the curiosity path and to adopt spiralling come September, but I am afraid that the reduced in class time and learning curve will get in the way, and I am afraid I would fall back into traditional teaching methods. Do you guys have any suggestions / plans of attack for September 2020?
Thanks!
Shady

Hey @shadyhanna
We often would hit multiple big idea learning goals in the same day. But I’d choose one more specific learning goal to focus on. So lots of big idea discussions and connections, but something very specific I wanted students to practice and/or connect with.
I imagine learning/teaching will look very different for schools come this September. I think the biggest idea is to focus on culture and curiosity first, then narrow to address specific goals. Did you join us for the webinar series we did on How To Make Math Moments From A Distance? We have some good tips there. https://learn.makemathmoments.com/courses/meaningfulmathfromadistance/


Spiralling the Curriculum sounds like and looks like putting together a BIG jigsaw puzzle. I do have a number of questions in using and organizing this method.
1. Once you’ve organized the expectations into spirals/cycles, can you reuse it the following school year BUT change it as needed base on the students in front of you? (and or course if the curriculum changes!!!)
2. Would you create a learning log for everyone of your students and record on a daily basis? How would this be shared with the students? How would their voice be heard?
3. If there were a small number of students that scored ‘low’ on a learning goal, would you revisit the same learning goal with the whole class or with the small group of students immediately before moving forward? OR Would you revisit the learning goal later during another spiral/cycle and focus more on that small group of students?
I feel that teachers need to be VERY flexible and patience when using this technique and to be comfortable with changing the plan by either proceeding or pivoting. I really like step #6 which I think it’s a good idea to have checkin with students; this reminds me of when I would give my students exit questions to help me with what would be our next lesson.

Spiralling the Curriculum sounds like and looks like putting together a BIG jigsaw puzzle. I do have a number of questions in using and organizing this method.
1. Once you’ve organized the expectations into spirals/cycles, can you reuse it the following school year BUT change it as needed based on the students in front of you? (and or course if the curriculum changes!!!)
2. Would you create a learning log for everyone of your students and record on a daily basis? How would this be shared with the students? How would their voice be heard?
3. If there were a small number of students that scored ‘low’ on a learning goal, would you revisit the same learning goal with the whole class or with the small group of students immediately before moving forward? OR Would you revisit the learning goal later during another spiral/cycle and focus more on that small group of students?
I feel that teachers need to be VERY flexible and patience when using this technique and to be comfortable with changing the plan by either proceeding or pivoting. I really like step #6 which I think it’s a good idea to have checkin with students; this reminds me of when I would give my students exit ticket/question to help me with what would be our next lesson.
 This reply was modified 2 years, 8 months ago by Tracy Martel.

If there are no review days, are students told to practice on their own? If so, how do they practice?

Since I’m teaching PreAlgebra for the first time, I like the idea of starting slowly and interleaving assessments first, while I get a better handle on the learning goals. In particular, knowing this year is going to look a lot different (possible distance learning, etc), it’s a little less daunting than reordering the curriculum.

Your input would help me see if I’m on the right track. If I’m considering the topic of proportions, I always think of similar triangles. Would it be spiraling to do those consecutively since similar triangles is a standard in geometry rather than ratios/rates/proportions? Or do I keep them in different cycles because hitting similar triangles later brings up proportions again?
Thanks!
I am glad to hear there are different levels of spiraling. It makes it less daunting since we also really don’t know what the fall would look like. Additionally, looking at the spreadsheet of your long range plan gave me hope that spiraling doesn’t have to change strands each and every day if two learning goals work together really nicely right next to each other.

Great question and I don’t think there is a hard fast rule.
Early on, I was flipping concepts pretty routinely. Every day or every couple of days. Now, as you’ll see in our problem based learning units in the task area (https://makemathmoments.com/tasks) you’ll notice that the units are usually 4 to 6 days and build on big ideas. So they are connected “chunks”. So at this time, that’s sort of my “chunk size” I’m working with, but it doesn’t mean the chunk can’t be longer.
The one thing to think about is moving too randomly / disconnected and too quickly. This might serve as a hindrance in trying to make connections.


Some questions I have about the spiralling are the following:
1) When teaching very young learners a whole group lesson, what happens to those students who are struggling to meet the learning goal?
2) How often should checkins be done with young learners such as Kindergarten and Primary Grade classes (especially Grade 1)?

I like the idea of “checkins” to decide if I will proceed or pivot. I’ll also work on giving more timely feedback to my students.

These tips gave me a place to start! I was also wondering how to explain to parents about what my math program will look like this year and the cheat sheet will definitely help with this! Thank you!

I am really excited about getting into this long range planning and building out my course. I wish I had a 5th grade math buddy to do it with.

I love the idea of spiralling. I think the best thing we can do for our students is to pivot lessons as needed. If a smaller number of students are still struggling, we can meet as a small group to review and perhaps spiral back as needed. This takes time and experience to be able to teach in this way. It requires patience, providing consistent feedback, and really being intune to where are students are at and where we want them to be.
My goal this year will be to try to incorporate the 3 act tasks, focusing on the Notice and Wonder, and estimating. I love the idea of spiralling but given that we have a new Ontario math curriculum as well as the possibility of distance learning, I can see how this would be a lot to manage. Love the concept though, and will aim to gradually spiral as I become more familiar with the new curriculum.

Question:

How do you know how deep to go in the first spiral?

Master Day Check In (I really like this idea) – what do you do with students who just aren’t getting it or or test long? You talked about this being half of a class.
My thoughts with my MATH 180 class is kind of out the window (reply lesson 61). I need to think more spiraling. I am excited to see how this will work with these students.
Most daunting action yet, setting up my spirals with long term planning.


Kyle, I am wondering about your mastery days you used to check in. Can you say more about students getting previous assessments back? I am imagining a situation where they receive previous work with indications about mistakes and they look for mistakes to correct. Would you use this as evidence of increasing mastery as well? How much time did you schedule for these questions? My students at this particular school seem to always take a long time for assessments.
Also, we are moving to block scheduling in the fall, approximately 6070 minutes every day. Would you suggest an entire day for mastery?

I love the Mastery Day idea! Can you explain how you grade and what other formal assessments you give to the students?

I might need to borrow the “Mastery Day” idea for my 5th graders. 🙂 Again, putting together short assessments that include spiralling does take time because you probably need to “cut and paste” from different resources. However, I think that is something I would start with in regards to spiralling. I don’t think I am ready to spiral my whole curriculum since we do not have our new math “textbooks” yet, in addition to how unique this school year will be. I’m going to take it slowly but try to incorporate a method of spiralling like this one. It’s starting to make sense!

It’s making more sense, especially for my 6th graders. But I think we should do it for Algebra 1 as well. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen the curriculum for Alg 1 yet, and we start school in a week.

I am glad I have the time and the intention to plan early. Spiralling will be knew to me and I want to try it out. I still feel I need more explicit verbal explanations of how a week would run.
Example:
Monday 3Act lesson on LG ?? etc.

Some of the steps my district has done for us. I do miss standards base grading for my school in Chicago used that system but not here in Denver.

I really like the idea of the Mastery/Check in day each week to really help you plan effectively for the students in front of you and be able to know specifically what each student needs.

When I give formative assessments I will often add in previous learning to make sure they’ve still got it. This tells me if I have to proceed or pivot for all or a small group. I agree that feedback needs to be the next day so that you can plan next steps. I make my formative assessments quick (2 to 4 problems) so that feedback is also quick.

These 6 steps are great. I am very fortunate that the math coaches in our district carefully plan a lot of these steps for us. My instructional approach and when to give/regive formatives is up to me.

I have been looking forward to these lessons on spiralling since I signed up for the course. I am very excited about organizing my courses this way. The one place I need to improve is assessing by learning goals. I do it but when products go into my mark book, they don’t look that way. I also need to make them more explicit for my students.
So much has changed in the dozen years since I did this full time. So excited to get back in there with new ideas and all this new learning to support me.

I have been working on taking a shot at creating a map for the year using spiralling of the fifth grade Common Core standards. Here is a screenshot of my tentative idea. I don’t know how it will play out this year with hybrid and full remote learning. However, the more I have thought about it, it makes sense to give it a try because it might keep things interesting for the students instead of focusing on one topic for many weeks. My idea is to create miniunits using a spiralling approach. My thought is to focus on one topic for about a week. With each consecutive week, we will continue to practice the previous week’s topics.

Hi Jason! This looks incredible! I teach 5thgrade math too and am so amazed at how you put this together. I’m just trying to understand how you organized it. You’ll be teaching by unit or by trimester?

I’m also curious to hear what Jason comes back with on this.
My guess would be that they will follow each trimester, going through each unit before coming back for the next trimester.
Almost like “cycles”.



This spiralling model has gotten me motivated as I plan for the upcoming school year. I am nervous about the year since it will look different due to the pandemic. However, the big picture is still the same. Students need to master a certain number of concepts and this can be done effectively through spiralling either in person or remotely.

The curriculum that I currently use is great with spiralling. Each assessment “tests” only about 2030% “new” material, and the other 7080% are concepts that were covered previously in the course. My students can’t cram – they need to be able to recall and master what was previously covered.
I like the idea of calling the assessments “checkins” – less pressure that way!

This lesson answered some of my questions from the previous lesson. I am still wondering how to set everything up – kind of feeling like I would be more like your colleague that had to print the standards, cut them apart, and color code them to help make sense of it all.
I’m also curious about making the shift to standardsbased grading. A friend of mine shifted her AP Calculus class to this kind of grading. She said it was A LOT of work, but is totally worth it.

I feel that my district does a good job using the 6 steps to spiral our concepts. I then take their plan, use it to plan for what my students need, when they need more, or when they are ready to move on.

I think that we as teachers should really look into our curriculum every year. I am starting my 20th year and still have to dive into the curriculum. It has been a year since I have taught it and forget some of it!
This is also our first year of grading to standards. I know it is going to be more work, but I agree that it is going to really show me what each student is going to need help with and I can focus on that.

The big help was planning your cycles. This made a lot of sense to me. Basically, I need to go through all my standards/sections and put them into groups (chunks). Then from there I can figure out a plan for the year of how to weave all the standards together.
This will be a bit hard as i feel I will be the only doing that in my school but luckily my department chair gives me the freedom to do so. The other hard thing is that our district just signed up with DESMOS and they have a set curriculum so I will need to figure out to way to section off their units and skip around to my liking. I know my first priority to get everything into cycles and then figure out I want plan them throughout the year.

I plan on completely spiralling my 10th grade academic math course this upcoming school year. I have contacted my department head to verify that this aligns with the way other teachers within my school will be teaching this year as well. I’m so glad I did that because he put me in contact with a pedagogical coach from within my school board who can help me make sure that what I do still aligns with the other sections of the same course.

Amazing! Only word of caution is not to “over spiral” where there are little to no connections made as you work along a continuum.


Lots of good info in this module. I like the planning ideas you shared and the tip on how the spirals do not need to be the same length or the same amount of time spent on each topic in the spiral. It was also valuable to be reminded that if students are not grasping the goals of the lesson, we need to pivot instead of proceed!

Awesome to hear! Good luck as you implement these ideas!


I’m open to these ideas but still feeling a bit scared! I can’t see my teaching team agreeing to this one certainly not for 2022. I already proposed the idea of a portfolio of assessment rather than standard assessments which everyone does and it wasn’t well received. I do like the idea of creating a table of learning goals for each student and giving stars and comments but it sounds like it would take a lot of maintenance, and therefore a lot of time. I’m also not always sure how to be sure that the student understands the concept individually rather than repeating what another student has done or told them – which is a benefit of traditional, individual, ‘eyes on your own work’ tests. I’m not sure how to decide on the order of the concepts – I can see that some concepts lead naturally to others or need to be covered first but others I’m not sure about. We also have already integrated as much of our Maths curric as possible with other subjects, so our hands feel a bit tied in this respect as well. Not saying no, just saying more thinking is needed!

This seems like a very valuable thing to do but LOTS of planning. We are looking for new curriculum materials for the 2324 school year so I am hoping we can find something that will help us to do this! I had a question about the Mastery day. I thought you said you gave them the 46 questions for the first half but I was unclear about what they worked on for the second half. I assume you are not grading the check in that quickly. Thanks for clarifying! Looking forward to the rest of this Module!

I like the idea of Mastery Day with checkins, and would be curious how best to plan that type of assessment integrating the relevant standards and topics throughout the course. For myself, I wonder how the grading might also look tangibly.

I agree with some of the apprehension expressed above. I don’t think I can handle this with three preps, without a welldesigned set of curricular materials (and a teaching team that’s really into it).
There are baby steps that I think I already incorporate, though. One example: our geometry team came up with right triangle trig as one of the most important takeaways from the class, and we decided that every unit following the trig unit would incorporate trigonometry in the problem solving tasks.

I really like the idea of the Weekly Check In and then using the rest of the time to independently master a skill previously worked on in class using the feedback from the teacher.

There is so much here for me to think about! Trying to spiral the content would allow me to sit and think about how to order and interconnect math topics, which I think is so much more authentic and allows for creativity. Also, I like problem based learning and often find that students needs to bring in topics outside of the unit we’re studying because in real life problems don’t relate to just one topic. Spiraling can help with this because the “unit” can be the the various content strands that come up in the problem rather than the unit being one math topic (e.g. “unit” consists of a mix of proportion and measurement or geometry standards in a project on building, rather than just focusing on geometry standards, including some that aren’t relevant to the project).
And, I love the idea of spiraled assessments because it seems so much more just and aligned with what we claim to believe. Most educators acknowledge that students are constantly learning and improving understanding, but assessments tend to measure a student at a particular point in time. And students’ final grades don’t reflect the improvements they’ve made in a concept after the test. I’ve recently found myself conflicted by this. Having spiraled assessments can go a long way in addressing this. If a students deepens their understanding of a topic, they will do better on that topic when it comes a round again. This genuinely promotes a growth mindset.

All the information from this lesson was very good in helping me wrap my head around spiraling my curriculum. I am really interested in the master skill record sheet and looking more into that. I’m interested in how you assess or grade your assessment on Mastery Day.
As you organize your strands into cycles, I’m assuming the more experience you have with the curriculum the easier this is? Are you trying to make connections as you spiral through, up and down the different strands?

My colleague and I that teach AP Calculus do a version of spiraling and interweaving assessments already but I definitely need to work on it in Geometry. There are 46 teachers at a time teaching Geometry in my school and not all will be on board for going away from Chapters. What do you recommend we do to bridge the gap with some do and some don’t in Geometry A? I say Geometry A because after Geometry A we sometimes switch students for Geometry B and we would need all the students to be in the same relative place in their learning of Geometry at semester time. Once we hit Geometry B the students have us so changing up the order of curriculum won’t be a problem.

I really like the format that you showed for Step 2 Assessing by learning goal or standard.
I would love to access this document. You mentioned that you share in resources your google doc to organize your class, however it is not listed in materials. Would you be willing to share?
I definitely will need to spiral for the students I have in my intervention class. I will need to work on this since this will be the first time I am teaching each of my 4 math courses at the high school level.
I like the idea of changing the wording of assessment to “Check In” and to do it consistently one day each week, by calling it “Mastery Day.: That removes a lot of unneeded stress/anxiety for the students. I love the idea of giving students an opportunity to build retrieval skills.

I love that you acknowledged how hard it is for new teachers to see the entire curriculum and how it will play out as a whole for step one. I really want to try to interleave assessments and I love calling them “mastery check ins.” Committing to this once a week, and not dedicating an entire day for review or study guides will free up space and still give meaningful days for students to work on. I will commit to implementing this from the first semester so that students are used to it from the getgo and see how it goes.
I still have questions on reassessing or allowing students to retest standards that they do not do well in. Standardbased grading is something I’d like to implement, but I feel that I’d need support from a content team. I’m afraid to attempt it on my own as a new teacher.

Spiralling seems so beneficial for many reasons. I am stepping outside of a classroom and moving into a math teacher role where I will be pushing in and working with small groups. My district currently strictly teaches in a unit by unit structure… I hope that I can make some changes or create some ways to support the teachers in purposeful spiraling of content outside of the strict scope and sequence we follow.

Thank you for breaking it down this way. I’m most intrigued by the concept of interleaving assessments. My school requires us to have formative and summative grades in the grade book. Most people take this to mean formative = quizzes and summative = tests. Formative assessments count for 30% of your overall course grade and summative assessments count for 50%.The way you described your “checkins” makes them seem like they are more of a formative assessment. Do you also do some kind of summative assessment? If so, when? If required to grade within this framework, how would you suggest those assessments be graded? (I know this might open up a whole can of worms about standardsbased grading!)

I really like the way you frame the idea and give details. After last year being very frustrating, I had decided that as often as possible, I was going to assess for grades in smaller and more frequent chunks, rather than the usual structure for the unit. The concept of a checkin and a master day, makes a ton of sense and seems far less threatening and way more friendly and useful. Do you also do larger assessments? I’m trying to visualize complying with the district unit assessments while adjusting my practice.

I am one of many teachers of Geometry in my school so getting rid of chapter probably is not going to be realistic at this point. I feel Geometry might be easy to do within the given chapters and interweave the assessment could be done.

I love everything about the concept of spiraling except having to start from scratch to plan it all out. Given the uncertainty in my district as to placements from year to year I am hesitant to try and do it all for this year and then end up being moved. It is also a new curriculum to me and my colleague who is new to 7th grade math in general that I don’t feel it would be fair to him to do so. I will admit I was getting more and more discouraged as the steps went on as I thought about how much time/effort this would take while trying to help a new teacher too. And then the sixth step was explained and I breathed a sigh of relief as I can see myself being able to do this with my assessments. That is not going to be as timeconsuming as planning out the entire year in a spiral format. After peeking at the resources on Spiraling that were part of this lesson, I noticed a reference to lagging homework which I had read about in another book this summer and already had on my list of things to work to implement this year. I am excited to see it referenced here as it further affirms my decision to give it a go.

I definitely have some interesting concepts that I will be thinking about over the next couple weeks, preparing for a new school year. I like the concept of interleaving. I will be combining these ideas with Peter Liljedahl’s Check Your Understandings. Taking the pressure fully off of students and having them use these check your understandings for their own regard to know where they are and where they are going.

So great to hear! Love that you’ve grabbed some implementable take aways that you can dive right into this school year 🙂



I have already begun teaching in chunks/units. BUT – I have 2 takeaways that I will pay more attention to and that is assessments. I am intrigued about the SIZE of the assessments (6 questions sounds great! You don’t have to take the whole block and potentially less teacher checking/correcting time!) AND there is no cramming/review day. I could review and intertwine previously learned skills into the current topic and by keeping it all current it could keep down the review days. Also, since my team/grade has only done operations with all kinds of numbers, we could break down the curriculum from here and do a smaller version of a spiraling curriculum. Lots to think about! BUT – without the support of my colleagues at my grade level who are teaching the same thing, this is difficult to do and a little frightening to take on by myself.

The September we went back after COVID hit, we kind of put everything into Strands without even knowing it. We had to be really efficient with our teaching because we were seeing the students less and they had to work independently during the weeks they were at home. We took a look at our curriculum and worked to make it flow in a way that made logical sense to the building blocks we were teaching and allowed the students to go back and work on material previously learned that wove into what they were currently learning.
I also love our 8th Grade Math curriculum because it applies the algebra concepts into geometry. Students get to use their algebra skills as we move forward in the year by applying them to angles, measurement, and Pythagorean Theorem. We use these algebra skills all the time with slope intercept form, systems of equations and scatter plots. These three concepts also spiral together to give a solid understanding of linear equations and their practical uses.