After a few years of teaching a grade where students took state tests at the end of the year, I realized that my most successful test prep strategy was spiral review.
Incorporating daily or weekly spiral review into your teaching is a tried-and-tested way to keep content and skills fresh for students throughout the year. I promise it’s worth it to give up a few minutes a day to review previously taught material instead of waiting to cram it all in the week before the test!
With many of us teaching virtually this year, you may be wondering how to fit in spiral review without reinventing the wheel or losing your sanity. Here are my favorite digital spiral review activities that are easy to use and engaging for students!
Digital Exit Tickets
Digital exit tickets are #1 on my list for their versatility! You can use them as a warmup, entrance/exit ticket, center activity, or early finisher task. I like the flexibility of using one here and there or several at a time. They’re perfect to bring out if a lesson finishes a few minutes early.
Digital Task Cards
For many of us, task cards are a go-to review tool in the classroom. That doesn’t have to change if you are teaching virtually! One nice option is to make digital task cards in Google Slides™, which you can easily share through Google Classroom™. Just add one question per slide! I prefer to make them interactive, with students typing in text boxes or dragging objects to show answers.
Boom cards are awesome since they provide students immediate feedback!
If you have tons of printable task cards or flash cards laying around, you can repurpose them! You can use a screenshot tool to snag an image of the task card (in the PDF) and insert it in a PowerPoint/Google Slides presentation or a Google Form™. Or go even easier and just screenshare the PDF with your kids!
Google Forms are nice to use for digital review because of the self-grading option. Assigning a Form as a quiz means you can easily collect student data throughout the year and analyze it to see where to provide more support. I love this because it shows me exactly where we need to spend our time.
Hands-on sorting activities that you used in the classroom can be transformed into digital versions. These are engaging ways to review vocabulary and skills throughout the year. I like using Slides for digital sorts, but Jamboard is another nice, low-prep option.
Digital Question of the Day
Using a problem of the day to review math and ELA content is another great virtual spiral review option. You can share these one at a time with students to complete as a warmup question or exit ticket. I like using them as a screen background as students “enter” the classroom to keep content like place value, problem-solving, and word analysis fresh all year long.
Spiral Review Center Activities
What can the rest of the class do while you’re meeting with a small group or working with a student one-on-one? Spiral review, of course! Students can still “rotate” through center activities to practice previously taught math and ELA skills. A digital choice board is a nice way to organize this.
My students have LOVED doing color-by-code worksheets for test review. The good news is that students can do these digitally in Slides, Forms, and Boom! I takes a bit more work to create these, but they are super engaging!
It’s even more challenging to fit in all the things when we are teaching in a virtual or hybrid setting. If you haven’t tried using cross-curricular activities yet, I recommend it! This can be a good way to review two areas at once while keeping up student engagement. And it’s easy to incorporate them into the activities listed above.
Spiral review is a fantastic method to help students retain skills and content in math, language arts, science, and social studies. The good news is that many of the printable activities you used in the physical classroom can be repurposed and reused in a virtual setting with a little creative thinking! What other digital test review activities do you like to use throughout the year?