[FAQ 4] Where Should I Start in the Warm-Ups? | SpiralWarmUps

Frequently Asked Questions

[FAQ 4] Where Should I Start?

With so many warm-ups and skills, it’s easy to feel like a maze or a bowl of spaghetti. Let’s unjumble the pasta, and talk about where to start with your Word Study and Reading Comprehension Warm-Ups.

Wherever you choose to start, remember that consistency is more important than where you start (I recommend this research review). There are essentially two paths to take:

  1. Our Prepared Grade Level Sequences
  2. Starting Based on Skills
Without spiral review, students' gaps exasperate over time...until they become disengaged learners in grades 7 and 8. #elachatClick To Tweet

Grade Level Sequences

You will find planned sequences in your member dashboard that are organized by grade level and intervention needs. These sequences make it ultra easy to consistently use your spiral review warm-ups.

They are designed to move from simplest skills to complex skills.

Don’t be afraid to start at the beginning. The starting points might appear too easy, and they are for most on-level students. But remember, this is the spiral review, not first-teach.

Why Start At An Easy Level?

Starting with prerequisite skills allows each student to build deep mastery and fluency with those skills. Often our classrooms are paced so quickly that any student who struggles, develops gaps that exasperate over time.

A minor learning gap in 2nd or 3rd grade, turns into a completely disengaged reader and writer by grades 6-7. If you’re a middle school teacher, you know exactly what I’m talking about!

Starting with prerequisite skills allows each student to build deep mastery and fluency with those skills. #elachatClick To Tweet

Starting Based on Skills

Another way to start is to use a warm-up that reteaches a previously learned skill, whether word study or comprehension.

This approach uses the warm-ups more as a re-teaching opportunity. It may not be as systematic, but it is purposeful.

How To Use This Approach

This approach works well for a whole-class setting, but it is particularly useful in an intervention group or in a station setting where 4-6 students work with a single computer and the teacher monitors their work.

How To Differentiate

If you choose your warm-ups based on skills and place them in a station, the rest of the class can work on independent reading, buddy reading, or the writing process. This approach is great because the spiral warm-up provides students with re-learning opportunities, while students who don’t need the re-learning can have additional independent practice…all no-prep and time for you to gather formative observations.

For more on differentiation, read 8 Ways to Use Spiral Warm-Ups.

Thanks for reading this comprehension skills FAQ – please be sure to share your thoughts in the comments below or share with a friend!

Word Study. Reading Comprehension.

Less Prep. More Learning. Get Started Today.


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