Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Daily Review: A key to success in elementary math

The first few weeks of school have been pretty great. We've done a ton of team-building/getting-to-know-you activities and I think the students are really starting to bond as a unit. We are slooowwly inching towards the more academic side of things and I think it will prove to be quite interesting. The learning needs of this year's students are extremely diverse, so incorporating differentiation daily will be a must.

One routine that I think will be key to math success for all students this year is a daily review.
Original photograph via Free Images

But, why is it so important to review daily?

One reason for me is, frankly, our math program. Is yours like ours? Split into separate units with seemingly no overlap? I feel like that segmentation just doesn't work for us, because that is not how math works. We don't learn place value at the beginning of the year and then never see it again - we see it constantly.

From place value to basic operations, we constantly have to rely on those foundational skills that we learned weeks, months, or even years ago. Just like any other skill, math skills need to be used and practiced to keep them in top form. If our math program does not provide students with the opportunity to practice the basics, we must find a way to give students that opportunity, and daily review is a perfect example.

Because it reviews previously taught concepts, a daily review also provides students with plenty of opportunities to fill in gaps in their skill set. Not all students are going to grasp each concept the first day it is introduced, but by continuously seeing that concept and working on it through the year, a daily review allows students to experience success at their own pace.

So, how to incorporate a daily review into your schedule?

To be honest, you've just got to make the time. I know that for me, it seems like a constant struggle of trying to fit in all the things we have to do throughout the day, but I find a daily review important, so I fit it in the schedule.

The first thing to do to make it work is set up a routine at the beginning of the year. Whether you do a review as morning work, at the beginning of your math period, or at some other time of the day, if you get the students familiar with the routine, early on in the school year, you will save time throughout the rest of the year. I give out a few weeks of review at a time for students to keep in their books and then when they come into math class each day, they've already got the review and they know where we left off, so they can get started on it right away. Since I keep my reviews short and to the point, it really only takes up a few (15 max.) minutes of our class. The students work independently and then we quickly go over the questions and move on to the day's lesson. The review is a great way to get students settled and only takes up a small fraction of our class time.

If you're interested in trying out a daily review with your students, click the buttons below to head to the best packets for your grade level:

All the above grade levels have individual & bundle packs available. I am currently working on the fifth grade version and have individual packs available for Back to School, Fall & Winter. For those packs, click the picture below:

Do you use a daily review in the classroom? I would love to hear your opinions on the topic.