Mastering Grammar Spiral Review: Practical Tips

grammar spiral review can be hugely beneficial

Language and grammar spiral review provides consistent and effective lessons for language arts students to meet language standards. 

As a language arts teacher, I am fairly new to the attention that is spiral review. However after implementing this method of grammar instruction, consider me sold.

I *think* that math spiral has existed for years, and language arts teachers are newer to the process. To imagine spiral grammar review, consider a spiral slide. Round and round it goes, allowing for the rider of the slide to see the same look from different vantage points. The winding down allows teachers to control what is presented; we can start with easy material over a topic and then increase the difficulty over the same topic.

What is language and grammar spiral review?

Overall, a grammar spiral review is repetition of grammatical concepts so that students have a continuous review. Since language standards are intense and must be applied to other areas of class for purposeful application, the “spiraled” nature allows for increased learning opportunities.

grammar spiral review

Benefits to a spiral review.

Grammar spiral review can look differently for every classroom, but some of the benefits remain the same.

Constant review.

The consistency helps students to retain domain-specific vocabulary. Then, as you broach more difficult concepts, classes have the confidence and knowledge that domain-specific vocabulary provides.

Another benefit to the constant review is meeting standards. For example, a tough language standard deals with the change in language, that language changes and the change is often contested. That standard requires multiple examples, lessons, and opportunities for learning. Then, students have to show mastery.

The nature of presenting that material multiple times allows students to understand it in different ways across different practice opportunities.

Natural discussions.

Grammar sometimes leaves students unhappy. For too many years, the mantra around grammar was “connect it to writing.” While grammar should be connected to writing, unfortunately, this mantra has led students to think that “grammar” automatically means “something is wrong with my writing.” Which, sucks. Who wants to study a topic that automatically means you’ve done something wrong?

So! For over a decade, I’ve fought to make grammar lessons a natural discussion, taught just as we teach reading, writing, or speaking.

Spiral grammar allows for those natural discussions. For instance in my activity for juniors, we cover misplaced and dangling modifiers. Those concepts are in seventh grade standards, but students might need more coverage. As a bonus, our natural discussions can lead to empowering writers to understand sentence structure.

Not only will they not be struggling with modifiers, but they will also be experimenting with sentence structure to better their writing.

The natural discussions around the material allows for empowerment through language.

Manageable work.

ELA teachers have too much—we don’t need to type a list. When I stumble upon something that makes my life and my students’ lives better, I use it.

With spiral work, we cover bite-sized pieces, and I add where my current students need extra practice. Additionally, we cover the course’s standards while purposefully building on prior knowledge.

Since students mind it less and experience success, my job is easier since we get to required standards faster.

how can language arts teachers use grammar spiral review?

Best practices of a spiral review.

You have your grammar spiral review. Now when should you use this material? For me, we use a daily language spiral review, but other times for presentation might fit better into your structure.

Introduction to language.

Working on language standards? Connecting grammar to writing? Discussing latin roots? All ELA teachers want their classes to apply grammatical concepts to other pieces of content.

As you spiral grammatical review, build confidence as you present new concepts. For instance, grades 11-12 study hyphens. To dow well with hyphens, everyone must have grammar skills concerning adjectives and nouns. The spiraled nature reviews those concepts before diving into hyphens.

Building on prior knowledge empower students.

Grade level work.

Depending upon numerous factors, your classes might not be ready for your typical grammar units. A spiral review system can help in this case.

For instance, when I taught summer school, my high school class needed a writing and language review. I went back to eighth grade standards, built activities that would support them in their understanding, and then worked on high school materials.

This grammar practice combined with writing and literature did not overwhelm, and we moved successfully into the required materials. Covering previously learned material ensured we worked on the class’ actual content quickly.

Bell ringers.

My bell ringers are rather casual, not loudly labeled as “morning work” or “bell ringers.” Rather, students know to begin work as they enter the room so that we can start class together. They thrive on routines and procedures, and my bell ringers are such an example.

For example, my LA 11 students start each class period with an activity. Some teachers call these activities bell ringers, and others call them do-now activities. In my room, we start each class period with a slide from junior grammar spiral review.

Since the material is a presentation, I add to it as needed. When students struggle with an area in their writing, we review it several times. And? If my classes don’t need to review certain concepts, we skip them.

This review strategy allows for everyone to see the material several times and to support their understanding of new concepts.

Plus, I have speaker notes and answer keys. When a student misses lots of school or becomes homebound (due to pregnancy, injury, or other such events), the school’s coordinator is appreciative of my digital version of grammar review.

Would you like access to our free library of downloads?

* indicates required

We will send you emails, but we will never sell your address.

You can change your mind at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in the footer of any email you receive from us, or by contacting us at [email protected]. We will treat your information with respect. For more information about our privacy practices please visit our website. By clicking below, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp’s privacy practices.