Planning your first weeks of school can seem overwhelming, especially if you're a new teacher. From lesson plans to seating arrangements, there are just so many things to do. One thing that is commonly forgotten until the last minute is the morning routine. However, arrival and the start of the day are critical to helping things run smoothly all day long. Morning work, like a Daily Language Spiral Review, can be a great way to start the day off with a calm, structured activity that makes the most out of the limited academic learning time available.
Today I wanted to share a little more about why spiral review makes for a great way to start the school day, and how you can implement this practice in your classroom beginning the very first week of school. Plus, I'll be sharing three free weeks of my language arts spiral and nearly two dozen other free resources you can access for back to school.
What you'll find on this page:
What is a Daily Language Spiral Review?
Daily Language Spiral is a 36-week (180 days) daily practice for language arts. It includes grammar, language, word work, and editing in an approachable format.
Each day's practice has 3-4 daily practice questions that target developmentally appropriate language and writing skills and grade-level standards. At the beginning of the year practice starts as a review of the prior grade level's expectations.
Then students progress to practicing their on-level standards. They wrap up the year with an introduction to the standards that will be addressed in the next grade.
Daily Language Spiral Review is designed with students in mind. Students who need help on Monday are often independent by Friday because of the gradual release formatting that builds in complexity across the week.
How a Language Spiral Review can improve your morning & kickstart your academic day
Every ELA teacher knows that in order to make your classroom work, you need to develop a morning routine that helps you get the day off on the right foot and uses academic time efficiently while allowing you to manage all the minor issues that arise as you greet students each day.
One popular option is to use morning work or a bellringer activity.
The problem is that many morning work activities end up being chaotic and inefficient. The work gets completed and turned in, but it is never reviewed. Students never get feedback, and there is never any actual learning.
This Daily Language Spiral is a great alternative because it offers approachable practice for students and it is short enough that you've got time to go over it and have important discussions in class about the work.
In addition, it starts the day with the expectation of a structured learning environment so students can smoothly transition from the loud, crowded hallways into the calm classroom learning environment.
While the work isn't designed to be complex, it focuses on essential language skills and standards and serves as a warm-up for the more challenging thinking skills you'll ask students to engage in during the school day.
When combined with a Math Spiral or other academic morning work activity, your morning routine can serve to activate prior knowledge and get students mentally prepared for the day's lessons.
Try the Daily Language Spiral with your learners
Because I know this Daily Language Spiral is ideal for learners, I wanted to give you the opportunity to try it out in your own classroom. That's why I created a free three-week trial of each grade level bundle.
Each set includes the first two weeks of the school year and a week from later in the year to help you see the progression of skills and difficulty across time.
Getting started with the sampler in your classroom
Once you've decided whether you'll use the print or digital version, the rest is easy!
On the first day, I like to work through the questions with the students. This allows me to model my expectations and start the discussion about how to complete each type of question. Therefore, you'll want to plan for a little extra time on Day 1.
When we finish, I have students put the work into their morning work folder and let them know that when they arrive the next morning they should take their folder out and begin the next box. It's as easy as that!
I walk around the room to answer questions and greet students each morning, and occasionally I'll pull a group to my kidney bean table to help them if there is a struggle with the work. Otherwise, I've found that it goes pretty smoothly. Most of my students can complete the day's work pretty independently by the end of the first week.
If I differentiate and use multiple levels of the Language Spirals based on IEP goals and other data, I find that all my students are independently able to complete the work and enjoy doing so.
Learn More about the Daily Language Spiral
Daily ELA is a spiral review designed to help students practice essential grammar, language, and editing skills. Currently available for 2nd-5th grade, it includes daily practice with the language arts standards that often get forgotten.
Standards-based practice builds in complexity across the week and works through various levels of Bloom's taxonomy to build mastery. Each week's work is designed to fit on a single piece of paper, when printed front to back, or can be offered as interactive daily slides using Google Slides.
Each week builds upon the last, and students practice the same key skills all week long to help them achieve mastery by Friday.
A weekly reflection question is included to promote goal setting, growth mindset, and target the metacognitive skills students need to begin monitoring their own learning across time.
Here are a few of the skills covered in this language spiral bundle:
- Parts of speech: nouns, pronouns, verbs, adverbs, & adjectives
- Sentence Construction: subjects, predicates, compound sentences, run-on sentences, sentence fragments, and combining sentences for reader interest
- Word Analysis & Spelling: grade-appropriate spelling patterns, prefixes, suffixes, morphology, syllabication, shades of meaning
- Figurative Language: idioms, similes, metaphors, analogies, and common sayings
- Editing for capitalization, punctuation, & spelling
- Revising for word choice, to add detail, show vs. tell, and expanding sentences
With 180 days of purposeful grammar, editing, and word work practice, your students will leave your classroom confident in their understanding of the foundations of English.
Other benefits of the Daily Language format include:
1. The opportunity to build mastery with the foundations of grammar and language in 10-15 minutes per day. Research shows that students learn best when practice is done in short, consistent intervals. This resource is designed to help you implement this best practice in your classroom in a practical way.
2. Formatting is designed with struggling & reluctant learners in mind. When you're considering morning work, it is important to consider that many students arrive at school in a mental state that isn't conducive to deep thinking. This morning work is provided in a format that is engaging and approachable so that students can ease into their day in a way that still focuses on academics without creating friction for already stressed learners.
3. The daily practice allows you to quickly and easily identify gaps and address them effectively. While grammar and language skills are often skimmed over during writing time, this language spiral offers you a chance to see areas where students may be missing foundational skills that are holding them back in their writing process. During the morning work time, you can provide short mini-lessons to fill these gaps and prevent them from getting bigger.
How to use the Daily Language Spiral Review in your classroom or homeschool day
While many teachers use this Daily Language Spiral Review as a warm-up or bellringer, there are a number of ways you can incorporate this resource into your classroom or homeschool plan. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Use it as a partner or small group activity during language arts time
- Project the digital version onto your interactive whiteboard & work as a group to complete each day
- Use during tutoring to review key grammar and language concepts
- Incorporate the language spiral into your test prep routine during the spring semester
- Send the weekly pages home as developmentally appropriate homework each night
Grab the free e-book with dozens of free classroom resources
Click on the image below to access the free e-book with back-to-school tips and free resources from over a dozen of your favorite teacher-authors.
This ebook will only be available for a limited time, so be sure to access it and get your freebies soon.