how to use spiral review math for 2nd grade

How to use fun Winter Spiral Review Math

Are your students struggling in math? Do you need to spice up your math block? In my cotaught 2nd grade class, we need to be super intentional to teach prerequisite skills and also maximize our time. We need to get the most out of our spiral review math routines. Today, I am sharing my secret math routines that my students love and have definitely led to increased math scores.


In How to use Winter Spiral Review Math, we will discuss:

  • Why you need spiral review in math
  • What is included in spiral review math resource
  • What 2nd grade common core standards are covered
  • Review games math – what does it look like in the classroom?

Why you need spiral review in math

As a resource room teacher, I always find it difficult when students have “math concepts and applications” as a need in their evaluation report. Basically, this means that they need to work on the general math concepts that are not related to just computation (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division). They struggle with telling time, counting money, interpreting graphs, skip counting, solving word problems, etc. The list could go on and on. 


The difficult part is that weakness in this area makes total sense. Most math programs teach skills in isolation. First, we teach place value. Then, we teach addition and subtraction before we move onto money. After money, we will teach time. By teaching these skills in isolation, we can dive deep into the concept when that topic comes up, but some students struggle to remember the concept if they have not had a review in a while.


This is why spiral review math is so important! Some programs will have problems like these built directly into the program. Most programs do not. So, if the teacher wants to do spiral review in math, they have to create the materials on their own.


Personally, I like to focus on one main area of growth each school year. Last year, my focus was review activities for math. My coteacher and I planned a series of activities that we would do each day to help review those tricky math concepts that are not formally taught until the spring. Did it take a long time to create? Absolutely. Was it totally worth every minute? Absolutely. It gave us the ability to scaffold our instruction by going over the prerequisite skills before we even got to certain concepts. Our students should have had the lowest test scores in the grade because we had 8 learning support students in a class of 15. Instead we were able to increase their scores on our district’s end of year concepts and applications test to be right at the average mark in comparison to their peers. 


ipad showing a clock with review games math activity


I am so proud of the gains that my students have made due to these math warm ups. Every student should be able to receive that kind of support to help them achieve more in math. Especially after the pandemic, we all know that students could use the preteaching and review. 

What is included in spiral review math resource


So what is actually in the Winter Warm Up resource? This resource is a set of editable PowerPoint slides. Each PowerPoint contains all the slides for one week (5 days). There is a title slide for each day. Four different skill slides come next. The skills reviewed are consistent day to day for the whole week. The questions will change from day to day, but the format will stay the same. This helps students get used to the rhythm of solving questions. The first day, it may take 10-15 minutes to get through 4 slides, but by the end of the week it may be as fast as 4-5 minutes. 


Types of problems included in Winter Math Warm Up Bundle:

  • Mental math – adding 10 to one, two and three-digit numbers
  • Place value – identify two and three digit numbers by place value materials
  • Skip counting – by 5’s and 10’s
  • Counting coins – starts less than a dollar, then moves above a dollar
  • Telling time – to 5 minutes
  • Word Problems – editable so you can include student names!

ipad showing spiral review math


What 2nd grade common core standards are covered?


Were you wondering what common core standards are covered in Winter Warm Up Bundle? Then, check out this list:


CCSS 2.MD.C.7 – Tell and write time from analog and digital clocks to the nearest five minutes, using a.m. and p.m.

CCSS 2.MD.C.8 – Solve word problems involving dollar bills, quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies, using $ and ¢ symbols appropriately. Example: If you have 2 dimes and 3 pennies, how many cents do you have?

CCSS 2.NBT.A.1 – Understand that the three digits of a three-digit number represent amounts of hundreds, tens, and ones; e.g., 706 equals 7 hundreds, 0 tens, and 6 ones. 

CCSS 2.NBT.A.1a – 100 can be thought of as a bundle of ten tens – called a “hundred”

CCSS 2.NBT.A.1b – The numbers 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, 600, 700, 800, 900 refer to one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, or nine hundreds ( and 0 tens and 0 ones)

CCSS 2.NBT.A.2 – Count within 1000; skip-count by 5s, 10s, and 100s.

CCSS 2.NBT.A.3 – Read and write numbers to 1000 using base-ten numerals, number names, and expanded form.

CCSS 2.NBT.B.5 – Fluently add and subtract within 100 using strategies based on place value, properties of operations, and/or the relationship between addition and subtraction.

CCSS2.NBT.B.8 – Mentall add 10 or 100 to a given number 100-900, and mentally subtract 10 or 100 from a given number 100-900.

CCSS 2.OA.A.1 – Use addition and subtraction within 100 to solve one- and two-step word problems involving situations of adding to, taking from, putting together, taking apart, and comparing, with unknowns in all positions, e.gg., by using drawings and equations with a symbol for the unknown number to represent the problem.

CCSS 2.OA.B.2 – Fluently add and subtract within 1- using mental strategies. By the end of Grade 2, know from memory all sums of two one-digit numbers. 

Review games math – what does it look like in the classroom?


The key is that every single student participates every single time. When I have the PowerPoint presentation ready to show the questions one at a time, students get their white boards, markers and erasers out. Personally, I love these dry erase markers because it is easier for students to write numbers. First, we say, “Markers up!” and students hold their markers in the air to show that they are ready. When we have everyone ready, we show the first problem. Students solve it on their white board and turn to show it to the teacher. I teach them at the beginning to track the teacher, meaning they need to follow me with their eyes and turn their white board towards me. This is because I am circulating throughout the room watching them solve and giving helpful hints to my struggling students. If they are correct, I give them a thumbs up and they erase their white board. Sometimes, I make different sound effects which the students love. 


After a minute, I start solving the problem on the board and then guide any students who have not completed the problem into being successful. I can also provide an extension to any students who need that challenge. We call this the “level up” prompt. For example, in our first few sets of math review games, I would give students two addends and they would have to find the sum. The “level up” was to have students write four equations from this fact family. It was great to see students challenge themselves once they got more comfortable with the content.


ipad showing math review games


Here is the golden ticket – the format of problems stays the same! For the first two weeks, the problems look almost exactly the same! The numbers are just changing slightly. This helps students understand what to expect, grow confident in how to solve, and it speeds up the process. This routine takes a little bit of time at first, but it is worth every minute. When your principal walks in and sees your mathematicians solving different types of problems independently, I promise you they will be impressed!

If you are ready to grab the whole set, go grab Winter Spiral Review Math today!


how to use winter spiral review in math


review activities for math

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Hi, I'm Rachel!

I am a second grade learning support teacher, adjunct professor and momma to two little girls! I help teachers like you get organized and create systems to save time.

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