Have you ever taught a skill in your classroom only to find that a few months later many of your students have forgotten what you taught them? I know I have! As teachers, it is so important to have our students practice standards all year long.
Instead of teaching students rounding in September and not revisiting it until test review rolls around in March, try practice rounding throughout the year. This allows students multiple opportunities to really grasp the concept, be successful with it, and to commit it to long-term memory. In the education world, this is called “spiral review” because you spiral through teaching/ reviewing standards throughout the year.
Ways to Practice Standards all year long
So you may be asking, “How do you practice standards all year long?” I have a few ways I like to do this that are both easy and effective. (All teachers need that, right?!)
Small Group Instruction
One of the most effective ways to practice standards all year long is through small group instruction. I often start with or sneak in a previously taught standard into my small group instruction. Since we are in a small group, I can quickly assess how students are doing. I can then use this information for differentiating instruction for future small group work.
Morning work is one of the easiest ways I have found to practice standards. I always have instructions for my students on the board each morning so they know what to start right away after unpacking. You can put a few problems on the board for students to solve, post an activity on the screen for students to complete in a morning work notebook, or have a printed page on their desk ready for them to begin. I created standards-based, monthly-themed units that are perfect to print and use for morning work. I have included a few September-themed freebies in my free resource library for you to check out. (Not a member? Sign up here.)
When teaching morning work procedures, I always teach my kids to try everything even if they aren’t sure how to do it. This prevents me from addressing problems/ questions during morning work time while I am handling attendance, take-home folders, etc. After about 10-15 minutes, we work through the morning work together. I do a quick reteaching of the standard as we go over the work.
Providing engaging, meaningful learning centers is a must for effective small group instruction. You must provide activities that students can do independently while you focus on instruction with a small group. Practicing previously taught standards are perfect to use in learning centers.
My favorite learning centers are those that are engaging, standards-based, and do not require a lot of prep work. I love things I can print and add to a center basket, games (both print and digital), and computer-based activities that are self-grading. Boom™ cards are perfect for learning centers.
If you are not familiar with Boom Cards, they are digital task cards played on the Boom Learning website. They are paperless, can provide for differentiated instruction, and are self-grading! I have an addition and subtraction deck in my freebie library for you to try out as well as a blog post about using Boom™ cards in the classroom.
Quick checks before a lesson
Previously learned standards can be reviewed quickly and naturally at the beginning of a new lesson. You can use Boom™ cards on the projector to be completed together as an introduction into a new concept. This works perfect in a math classroom. Simply start with an easier concept before taking it further. An example of this would be reviewing rounding to the nearest ten at the beginning of the lesson before teaching rounding to the nearest hundred.
End of the Day Questions
Do you ever have a few minutes to spare at the end of the day before dismissal? Instead of wasting those few minutes before dismissal, I like to use that time to review standards in a fun way. While planning for the week, I simply type on a PowerPoint slide anywhere between 5-10 practice questions. Questions that can be easily answered or solved. After we are packed up and ready to go for the day, I use these questions as fun rewards. There are many ways you can make it fun, but I like to throw a beach ball to students. If you catch the beach ball and get the question right, you get to go ahead and line up for dismissal. It’s just a fun way to end the day with my students while reviewing standards.
I’m personally not a huge proponent of homework, but a short, purposeful review assignment is the perfect activity to send for homework. It’s easy to prep, practices previously taught standards, and can be completed independently. My monthly-themed units have standards-based pages that make perfect homework pages.
I hope I have given you some ideas for practicing standards throughout the year. Try out one or two and let me know how it goes!