Make Math Moments Academy › Forums › Full Workshop Reflections › Module 6: LongRange Planning and Assessment to Make Math Moments That Matter › Lesson 65: Spiralling Starter Strategies › Lesson 65: Questions

Lesson 65: Questions
Posted by Jon on May 1, 2019 at 12:11 pmShare any comments, questions, concerns, and thinking about the spiralling starter strategies.
Victoria Murphy replied 11 hours, 4 minutes ago 31 Members · 33 Replies 
33 Replies

I’d like to try designing tasks with multiple connections so that students have the opportunity to see how the current chapter is related to one or more topics learnt before. This can be done in both my Form 2 and IBDP Mathematics classes.
Thanks for sharing with us the various strategies!

I’m going to interleave assessments to give students a chance to earn mastery points and improve their over all math mark and look for rich tasks that can be used for teaching the current concept while making connections to previous concepts taught.

I love the idea of Thinkback Thursday and Fixup Fridays. This is a doable, bite size place to start, as is Spiral Warm ups.

I like the idea of finding different activities that are not from the current unit. So often, I’ll ask my kids, “How did you come up with that strategy,” and their respons would be, “Because that is what we are studying.”. Smart to have that thought, but I want the kids to be flexible in their thinking.

Everyday Math has a great warm up every day that spiral. I transferred all of them into Goformative.com to make it easier to manage and it gives immediate feedback and allow them to make corrections, or I can make them wait a few minutes and release the answers to everyone at the same time. We have a delayed start every Monday and love the Monday Makeup days idea.

I feel like this year I have worked really hard to find the connections between some of the major strands as we have gone through them this year. I like the idea of chunking up the units we have into smaller bits and then using that to spiral — it’s like a cheat sheet way to create a spiraled course. I want to think about that as I go through and plan how to spiral through the year.

This lesson reveals that there are lots of different ways to begin spiraling. So many in fact that I really don’t have any reason not to get started. I’ve already tried spiraling the warmups with minimal success. This coming school year, I definitely plan to spiral assessments and love the idea of a “Think Back Thursday.” I would also like to lag my homework.

Love your plans for next year! You mentioned trying in the past with minimal success… what did this look like / sound like and why do you think you may have spun your wheels a bit?


I’m eager to look at the assessments that are made for me, and how I might change them to spiral during assessments this year.

I already use interleaved or cumulative assessments and standards based grading. I lag my assessments to give them time to process the latest material, but I want to try lagging my homework too. I already plan my worksheets, but I want to use more openended and reflective questions there and on the homework. I need to figure out what the strands are exactly in my course – I’m still not sure how to identify them, but I have asked another prof who is teaching a section of the same class to collaborate with me. Hopefully that will go well. She already is sold on investigative learning. I hope to at least spiral a single concept or maybe I already do that since I try hard to refer back and point out how certain topics keep coming up.

Prior to listening to the video, I was overwhelmed at the thought of Spiralling the Curriculum because my biggest question “Is where do I start?” As I was thinking back to my teaching practices while listening to the video, I realized that I was in fact spiraling parts of my math long range plans without even knowing it. In fact, I was combining strategy #6 , # 7 and #8 as I was working with a colleague. The strategies that I would consider to include are Think Back Thursdays, Interleave Your Assessments and Activities, as well as Lag your Homework.

This presentation makes taking on spiraling a lot easier! I have been finding it difficult to envision Algebra 1 in spirals, but I can imagine interleaving past concepts in with algebra.
I like the idea of spiraling homework and/or lagging homework. I also like the idea of interleaving one topic among all the other units to test it out the first year through. It seems though that the 3part framework in itself promotes retention and recall because students have to problem solve without receiving the specific instruction before delving in, and essentially use whatever it is that they know.

I like suggestion #8. Since I teach middle school math, I can easily see picking one standard (sometimes called a super standard) throughout the year. I know 7th grade is proportional reasoning and 8th grade is functions…6th grade is not quite as obvious to me right now…

Thank you for the spiralling starter strategies! It is very concise, informative and seems doable; especially with the ideas called Thinkback Thursday and Fixup Fridays. I have also heard of teachers using catchy phrases (e.g. Ketchup Friday) like this to organize and/or consolidate their students’ learning near the end of a week. I have seen it being implemented for many grade,s and not only for Math but also Literacy, and once the plan with the relevant materials/tools has been formally introduced and put into action it is really neat to watch the students actually remind others what day of the week it is. I think it is a cool and creative way to get the students fully engaged and interested in the learning that will take place (especially when it comes to mastering the skill of spiralling Math lessons).

My school uses Everyday Math (which I have some problems with, but..). It already has some spiralling built into the program. For instance, they have done away with the geometry unit and it is sprinkled into all the other units. The daily math warmup often refers back to previous learned material. They also have some cumulative assessments throughout the year

I really like the idea of spiralling one concept throughout the course. I think this would work particularly well with a strand that tends to be left until the end of the course or get short changed. In my 6th grade curriculum, I would like to do this with either the data unit or the geometry unit. I plan to give this some additional thought and consider how these concepts connect to the other units of study.
I already do some spiralling with with warmup problems and homework. I will look to improving this practice as well.

I’m feeling encouraged to try using the same tasks in multiple units across the year. The idea of students being able to see how one activity can apply to many things we are learning is really valuable. I think it would also help students to be able to see connections for math in the real world when challenged to do so.

I like your suggestions especially about keeping the units intact but teaching the first 3 lessons of each unit and then spiraling back. Thanks!

Amazing! These are all just ideas to consider… how you go about it can be different though!
Now, I tend to like to chunk an idea together for about 4 to 6 days to really get deep with it… you might consider something similar!


Some of these sound pretty doable – I’m excited to take some ideas to my team, run it up the flagpole and see who salutes! I am getting more familiar with the curriculum (Australian Curric in Maths Yr 7) and seeing where the connections are, and going back to the ‘big ideas’ rather than getting bogged down in the nitty gritty.

I have noticed in some textbooks that we use in my district, that they help you spiral content for homework and for state test practice. We also do math reviews everyday that focus on some of the basic content kids need to know to graduate. Since I already know how to implement some spiraling, I am going to try to spiral 1 concept throughout all the units that can be related or use tasks with multiple connections to incorporate more concepts in one place, since I teach credit recovery.
 This reply was modified 7 months, 2 weeks ago by Dawn Oliver.

I like the idea of starting by using spiraling for the bell ringers. I think I will give that a try when school starts back.

I am new to teaching math courses and yet I know that I need help and I definitely need to get more comfortable with the curriculum. My concern is that I am teaching 4 classes that are new to me. Do I start with one and go through at least the first semester or do I try to do all four, maybe taking a few weeks at time for each class?
I do like the strategies of “stretch back and warmup to
a problem involving a topic we haven’t seen in awhile to build that retrieval strength.” That will most likely be far better than warm up based on the previous day or two only. It will also help students feel success and build resilience/confidence. And to do this with independent work as well. These seem doable as I start this new journey!For the one block class I can see myself having a Think Back Thursday or Monday Makeover.
I am embarrassed to say that I do not have a good grasp on the curriculum. I never thought I would teach math, When I started teaching learning support I was a specialized behavioral support teacher and then began coteaching. At one point in the US special education teachers were required to be certified in content areas that they co taught. I cotaught math and English and took the test passed and now can supposedly “teach.” The reality is that a special education teacher seldom has time to really look at the curriculum and in the settings I have been in the general education teachers don’t have time to share their plan, so we teach my modeling and assisting…. I know how to do math, but I have not before been responsible for how to teach the math. (A lot of fear right now) I want to make this better for my students and will learn.

I am going to commit to strategies #1 and #4 for sure. I definitely will need to find a buddy or mentor that are specific to the courses I am teaching, and will use the huge support I have on campus to continue to plan. I love the thought of Interleaving assessments to include questions from all units. Especially for my Statistics course. This will be great to ensure some of the units that are taught in what seems like a silo stay alive in their memories.

I think I am ready to try spiraling warmups/practice and using tasks with multiple connections. I’m really intrigued by “lagging your homework!” I had never thought of it before, but it makes a lot of sense. We often rush through a topic and assign the homework, but then students are stuck at home with the homework by themselves and without support. It would be nice if it was something a little older that has had time to sink in.

This year I am going back to lagging my homework. I hadn’t called it that, but it’s a good name. I assign homework on Monday and it is due on Friday. The “answers” are available for students to check at any time, and I encourage it. There is only credit if the student shows thinking/work. I found this to be popular with families, as it took the stress off if there were scheduled after school activities, etc., and plenty of time for students to come for after school help. Groups often worked together during my after school time too.
I have spiralled starters, and will do more of that, as well as incorporate more spiralling in assessments, possibly as “bonus questions”. The idea of a day for fixing or shoring up earlier work/skills makes me think about incorporating stations with this concept.

Stations can certainly be a helpful structure to incorporate here. Be sure to post some pics as you get going with these strategies!


This video was very helpful and reinforced the idea that I don’t have to do all of the starters at once. This is a good thing because I get so excited that I want to do it all and then get overwhelmed with all the work. So for me I am going to just try two of the starters in my Geometry class: Spiraling warmups and practice and Interleaving Quizzes.
In my Algebra I class (first year teaching this), I am going to try to spiral one concept throughout the whole course.

This video although quick was full of information that I know I can read more about in the packet on this topic. I was relieved to hear that you don’t need to do them all to effectively begin spiraling. I am looking forward to trying a few strategies with my new curriculum and see how it goes and increase my efforts as my comfort level increases.

I am so happy I took this course! I was so frustrated with how my math class was set up last year and felt like I was just giving students information, having them memorize it, and then testing them on it. There was no real thinking involved, other than memorizing procedures. So I hope I will be able to change that. On the other hand, I am so overwhelmed at trying this, since I’m afraid I won’t be able to do it and my students will end up not even knowing the basic procedures. My school really believes in using block curriculums, unit assessments, and labeling through assessments, so I know that if I manage to convince my principal that I want to use this framework in my classroom and then it fails I’ll be in big trouble:) I am going to start by seeing if I can manage to make a year spiraling plan. If I see that it is too difficult, I may just use the idea of doing the first three lessons of each unit. Thank you for the informationpacked, clear, and practical videos!

These are all common fears to consider and work through.
In regards to “basic procedures”, I wonder: how well is the current approach working at your school to get those “basics” learned? If it is really effective, my guess is that you wouldn’t have felt there was a need to dig into this course.
Remember that just because we’re going to make students do more thinking, we aren’t going to leave them stranded either. If you are a lesson or two into an idea and students are drifting in the wind without any real ground being made, you could and should be making things more explicit.
Think of this approach as giving students a chance to help write the story of your math class, however we don’t want to be stuck in the first paragraph of the novel for too long…
Finding a balance between letting them think and rushing too fast to rescue is so important. If they feel that waiting long enough will allow for a life ring to be thrown at them, they might just wait. So you’ll need to be aware of this as you attempt striking a balance! 🙂


Very excited to try strategy #8. I have been thinking about this for awhile, but you just validated what I was thinking. thank you so much. I am going to start with spreading out fractions and decimals next year. I would also like to start my year with ratios, because I feel that the students are very good with ratio strategies that we don’t “name” until later in the year. If I start with an introduction to ratios in September, then we can intertwine different ratio models and strategies throughout the year.