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Make Math Moments Academy Forums Community Discussion Water Cooler Spiraling the curriculum – Where to begin??

  • Spiraling the curriculum – Where to begin??

    Posted by Karen Coty on December 2, 2019 at 5:38 pm

    I am totally on board with the idea of spiraling the curriculum.  It makes much more sense than teaching in “silos”. My challenge is where to begin? Has anyone spiraled from scratch? Where did you start? What strategies did you find worked best for you?  Thanks in advance for any thoughts or ideas! 🙂 

    Betsy Thomas replied 2 years, 10 months ago 7 Members · 9 Replies
  • 9 Replies
  • Mary Manske

    December 2, 2019 at 7:16 pm

    I am starting smaller with spiraling with units. I figure that will both help me get more comfortable and be a lot smaller to deal with. Right now we have team plans that give a brief overview of the day, topic and any materials (we create these things together to match how we want to teach the course, decided as a team, no obligation to anything but assessments).

    I take those and break it out into smaller pieces, set those in a chronology (like we need to define a rate before writing a direct variation equation) and then start putting it together. To scale up, I’d take those same peices (probably somewhat bigger ones) and start putting them places. What you’re trying to do sounds larger scale than that but happy to give you more info on what we’ve been doing (my coteacher is my sounding board)–I’ll start drafting out the pieces either tonight or tomorrow. 

  • Jon

    December 3, 2019 at 5:41 am
    • Karen Coty

      December 3, 2019 at 6:14 am

      Not yet, but I’m going to make that happen as soon as possible!  Thanks for the heads up!Heart Eyes

      • Kyle Pearce

        December 15, 2019 at 9:22 pm

        Hi @Karen-Coty,

        I just noticed your post in the online workshop about spiralling ratios/rates. This course will be super helpful for you. Be sure to check it out!

  • Jennifer L’Arrivee

    December 7, 2019 at 2:53 pm

    Definitely check out the spiralling course within the academy. I found the lessons and interviews with Michael Rubin to really help.

  • Sara Austin

    December 17, 2019 at 1:45 pm

    I am sold on spiralling.  I work with individual students one-to-one and so if they are away, we don’t progress. No more running out of time without even getting to a particular topic!!

    I started from scratch with Grade 10 Applied Mathematics (Ontario)

    I wrote post-its with the expectations from the curriculum summarized on them.

    Then I sorted them by where I thought they should go in terms of which were more basic and which were more advanced. I sorted them into four streams. The final stream was the “nice if they can do this but if they can’t they are still okay to move on to the next level”.

    Then I arranged within each stream an order that seemed to make sense to me.

    I had to rearrange some into later streams or move things between as I built the course

    A few tweaks to make sure it made sense and that each spiral was reasonably similar in size.

    Then I created a schedule with these in it, and staggered the assessments to a week or so after the content was learned, to check for retention. We call these “retention checks”, not tets.

    • Betsy Thomas

      March 17, 2020 at 11:31 pm

      I am interested in looking into my own curriculum in this way. I thought I would do it this summer- but with Covid-19, I may start looking at this in the next couple of weeks.

      I love the post-its or notecards idea! Are you teaching this spiraled curriculum now? What successes or problems have you run into? I would love to have a, ” knowing what I know now” perspective.

      Thanks for sharing your approach.

      Betsy Thomas

  • Jennifer L’Arrivee

    January 3, 2020 at 4:11 pm

    Sara Austin,

    I love the idea of the post-its to organize the curriculum into streams and then to prioritize the streams.  You have done a lot of work.  Let us know how everything works out.

    • Kyle Pearce

      January 7, 2020 at 8:33 pm


      Wow! What a great approach AND on your first time trying… I’m super curious to hear how this pans out for you. Of course, I’m sure there will be things you’ll do differently next time, but I’m rooting for ya big time!