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
Rachael Young updated 3 days, 17 hours ago 38 Members · 51 Posts 
Share any comments, questions, concerns, and thinking about the spiralling starter strategies.

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!


I like the idea of spiralling warmups and lagging homework.

Seems so intuitive once you think about it, right? I wondered why I had not thought of that earlier in my career… but live and we learn!



Just type in “Math Moment Makers” in the Facebook search.
I think Facebook.com/groups/mathmomentmamers should work too


Since we are in the latter part of the school year I think it is certainly doable to pick one strategy to commit to. I think I could easily sprinkle the big ideas around fractions throughout the remainder of the content I will be teaching this year. I find that fractions are easy to incorporate in any daily math talk.

Great idea John. That’s a great way to get your feet wet.


I’m happy to understand that I’m a really spiraling beginner!! Some years before I realize that in 9<sup>th</sup> grade student weren’t able to add fractions or even multiply and divide them. What I did was to teach fractions again, it lasts 1 month and the results weren’t good. Many students still didn’t know how to add fractions. Next year I did the same as Ms Bustson, I teach my plan following my units but I introduce activities with the purpose to expose students to fractions and to help understand operations with fractions. That seemed to work better. I have done this with area and perimeter and lots of other concepts until the government changed the curriculum they told us to asses students in 4 dimensions (solving problems, reasoning and proof, connections and communication and representation) that make me jump to strategy number 9.
Now I think that I’m in a 9 strategy.
I would like to say that I’ve loved the random basked balls, I will use it with trigonometry!!!!!
I would also like to share a game that I use to do with my students. It calls “PASSAR LA PATATA CALIENTE”. When the students have a task that involve a huge amount of calculation they normally get stooped, they don’t know what to do where to begin. That happens, for example with a mixing operations with fractions, powers with negative exponents and with fractional exponents we call it big hot potato. A big hot potato can also be done with equations or polynomials or even very complicate combined figures, Students are placed in groups they invent a big hot potato that have to include some concepts that I have told to be used in the potato. And they give the potato to another group. The members of the other group begin to solve the potato each student have to do just one step and pas the potato to their next partner. Me and other chosen students are the referee. Each group have more score if they solve the potato with a lot of steps, if they have invent a potato that it can be solve with more steps and other items to score that changes every year I do this. Allways all the groups are able to solve the potato and they learn that thinking splitting the calculations in the very smaller calculations is much more easy.

Sounds like you are moving in the right direction with spiralling! Awesome.
As per the hot potato activity – would love to see that in action!


After watching these videos, I feel very confident that I will be able to implement spiraling into my teaching next year. I have always tried to spiral during the warm up portion of my class but never quite knew how to work it into my units. Now I am ready to link my independent practice assignments back to previously taught lessons, and interweave my assessments so that they include current content, as well as early content. I also thought the idea of spiraling one concept could be very useful for people who are teaching grades with Power standards, or a dominant standard.

Love it! There are so many approaches and none is perfect… so take it one step at a time and just get started. You’ll start mixing and moving things around as you go and revamp with each iteration of a course. Good luck!


I am going to try spiraling my measurement and data analysis units through out the school year instead of waiting for them to arrive in the curriculum. Measurement and Data Analysis are units near the end of the year but I think I could mix them into my weekly plans so that they are not saved for if we have time at the end. I also like the idea of Lag the homework I am going to try this idea as well in the fall.

I really like four of the spiraling starter strategies, and in fact, I do some of them.
Lag homework by a week or so. This gives kids who mastered the concept a chance to keep it fresh in their minds, and kids who are still working to obtain the skill have longer to practice it.
Spiral warmups and daily practice. For me this is the easiest way to begin spiraling because it’s easy to make it part of the classroom routine. Kids can begin the class period confidently, or they can clarify something they had just begun to grasp when we moved on.
I love the idea of ThinkBack Thursday or Friday Fixups. I can ask students what they want to review, no matter how far back it was, and bring up topics I think they need to review as well.
Divide units into spirals. This might be the solution when teachers are tied to districtwide assessments. I can spiral the three – five topics in each learning cycle.

Getting a buddy was particularly fascinating, especially in a vertical team that currently exist in my community of learners. In addition to providing a sounding board, and source of validation of ideas. However, strategy #9 is my favorite for now because it suggested that interleaving activities and investigations that supports thematic instruction across other disciplines, which we are presently exploiting.

Love it! Sounds like you have a plan to get started! Let’s do this!


I really liked the strategy of lagging your homework, which we have started calling Independent Practice. Currently, many students don’t even attempt this work, in part, because they didn’t follow what we were doing in class. It seems like structuring lessons using the 3Part Framework allows students to work together with other students to develop their understanding of what is being done in class. This provides a longer time for them to gain confidence in their ability to solve problems and hopefully be more willing to try it on their own the following week.

Curious to hear how it goes. You can also try a mix of some lagged and some current to help with solidifying the concepts from that day while also bringing back some older concepts.


Since I will be teaching first grade, I like the warmup strategy and Friday Mixup. In this grade level we also hold morning meetings that are dedicated to reviewing kindergarten concepts and enhancing grade level learning. My team has discussed making Friday’s “Fun Friday”. This is a common practice, but can be adapted for spiraling.

Awesome to hear! Fun fridays might also be a way to figure out how to make every day fun in math? Just a thought as problem based learning can be seen as fun learning.


I have planned to incorporate “Throwback Thursdays” as warm up activities that spiral back past lessons. As the year progressed, I became anxious because student mastery was not as great as I had hoped. I ended up using those Thursdays for lesson reinforcement. With greater student ownership and investment, I hope more students will be able to demonstrate their understanding without me providing the steps and procedures. I am excited to see more confident problem solvers.

Can you help us understand what lesson reinforcement looks like vs say “throw back Thursday” in your mind?


I am going to work on interleaving my assessments. In the past, as soon as we leave one unit, they don’t remember anything. Giving the students opportunities to bring back what they have learned before can help them see its relevance.

Would it be helpful to spiral the broad strands but a chapter/unit at a time? So you’re spending 2 or 3 weeks on one strand and then instead of diving deeper into the strand you go to a different one.

Think Back Thursdays! This is the strategy that jumped out at me! Especially following Assessment / Checkin Wednesdays!
On Wednesday, I learn which topics need some more time and effort and weave it into Thursday’s class!
We have a plan!


We’re still building tasks on a weekly basis and posting them here: https://makemathmoments.com/tasks but you might want to peek at https://mrorrisageek.com/?s=clothesline


Looking for a mentor, trying to spiral, looking at my lesson structure – things that I’ll be looking to do, but I’ll try to not let it overwhelm me.

I can confidently commit to lagging homework. I think this will definitely help the students regularly prepare for their assessments. Spiraling warmups and think back Thursdays could definitely work too. I was so overwhelmed at the idea of Spiraling at the beginning of the year, I just gave up. I’m so glad to have more information on ways I can start small.

Starting small is so key. Let us know how the lagging homework journey goes!


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.