I’ve been interested lately in the whole idea of spiralling curriculum. I attended the first of two workshops about this today and it was great!
Spiralling in elementary, I think, will look quite different to secondary. I feel like I have naturally been looping back to topics we’ve covered. I will say I’ve been pretty haphazard about it, and that is one of the things that I recognize as a problem that I want to solve.
In the workshop the presenter (Jennifer Thiessen) showed us how she had cut apart all the math expectations and then sorted them herself into common themes. This was how she created her units so she was integrating strands. I am going to do this! She found Rich Math Tasks from a variety of sources, then used a matrix to plot which areas of the entire math curriculum were covered with the task. She found those that could be taught during other parts of the day and moved them there so she could spend more time on Number Sense. For example, I don’t teach my class about temperature during math. Instead, all winter long, we check the Weather Channel website to see if we are going to be able to go outside or not and that short (mostly daily) conversation covers all the expectations in the document. But again, I have been more “Oh look! A connection!” about the whole thing and I want to have it more planned.
She also showed us how she went through with different colour highlighters and picked out expectations that were brand new material and would require a fair bit of teaching time and those that were building on knowledge that kid already had and could maybe be taught in a Number Routine or Number Talk setting. For example I don’t need to do lesson in grade 2 about counting, but we had to practice counting a lot – especially skip counting – so I can practice that 150 different ways during 4-5 minute counting routines at the end of a lesson. But I will have to spend a fair bit of time doing actual lessons about adding double-digit numbers because that is going to be challenging new learning for most of the class.
I’m really excited about this, which I know is a bit weird, but I’m looking forward to spending some time analyzing the curriculum and sorting through tasks.