Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Making Math Accessible

The information for this post came from a presentation at NCTM Annual Meeting 2013 in Denver, CO entitled 
Powerful Practices to Make Mathematics More Accessible to Struggling Learners. 
The speakers were Amy Brodesky and Emily Fagan. 

Accommodations are used in classrooms so that all learners are able to access the curriculum. 

Some accessibility principles:
1. Collaboration: Making math more accessible for learners requires a partnership between math educators and special educators.
2. Be Diagnostic: Pre-assess students to determine areas of struggle and need.
3. Be Proactive: Use formative assessments to check for students' understandings and adjust curriculum.
4. Align Strategies: Be consistent in methods and presentation of material. 
5. Differentiate: Recognize the diverse needs of your learners and offer a variety of techniques to help them be successful.
6. Be Prepared: Identify needs ahead of time and develop lesson plans to specifically address possible pitfalls.
7. Be Flexible: Realize the best laid plans may not always work; adapt instruction when needed, even if it is in the middle of class.
8. Gather Evidence: Specifically consider the areas that students are struggling in and find ways to adapt to meet their learning needs.
9. Promote Student Independence: Provide just enough scaffolding to help students feel supported while giving them the independence to make their own connections as well.
10. Create a Supportive Classroom Culture: Equip students with the structure they need to achieve.

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