How can I ensure multiple entry points for all students?
"Embedding the problem-solving information within a real-world context helps students activate their conceptual knowledge when presented with a real-life problem-solving situation (Gagne, Yerkovich, & Yerkovich, 1993) and improves student motivation, participation, and generalization (Polloway & Patton, 2001)." (Sliva, Teaching Inclusive Mathematics to Special Learners K-6, 2004)
- provide purposeful and authentic open-ended explorations
- create responsive and flexible groups
- engage in accessible thinking and reasoning routines
- provide access for all learners through starting points in tasks that are low floor, high ceiling
- incorporate student choice and voice
- consider students’ strengths and interests when designing tasks and investigations
Math tasks should allow all students to engage meaningfully with rich problems. Equity and inclusive practice mean developing learning opportunities where all learners can contribute and engage in productive struggle.
Provide purposeful and authentic open-ended explorations.
Chapter 5 of Jo Boaler's book Mathematical Mindsets, focusses on the development of rich mathematical tasks and provides a framework to transform and open any task.
In Dan Meyer's NCTM 2016 Annual Meeting talk, Beyond Relevance & Real World: Stronger Strategies for Student Engagement, he offers some strategies for "deleting the textbook" in order to open up questions and provide an entry point for student exploration.
Create responsive and flexible groups.
Visible Random Groupings
Every student has something to add to the conversation, and so grouping should be random. Keeping the randomness visible allows students to know that they are all a valued part of the group. With regular random grouping, students are given an opportunity to work with a variety of people, and are exposed to different ways of thinking. If a student grouping doesn't work one day, chances are those students will be in a different group the next day. Along the way, students learn that random doesn't always feel that random.
Targeted, Small Group Instruction
In response to student needs or interests, guided math groups allow students to focus on a specific concept or skill in to develop or expand further understanding.