Setting up an invitation for learning is a way that educators can engage students in learning and inquiry. It is planned with materials and questions that will prompt students to investigate and explore.
Provocations are the perfect opportunity for educators to document and extend the learning that their students are doing. Setting up an invitation for learning is one of my favourite things to do in my kindergarten classroom!
Here are the things that I think about when I am putting together an invitation for my students:
The most important part of putting together your invitation to learning – asking the right question to engage your students in the learning. Target a skill or topic you would like your students to learn and develop a simple question (or write a statement) you can pose to your students.
Once you have picked what you want your students to engage in and have formulated a simple question, it is time to put together your invitation to learning.
Outline the Space
I like to use something to define the space that the students are working in. I have used a lot of different things as a workspace for an invitation:
- grass mat,
- picture frame,
- a background picture
Having a border for students to work within allows them to see their space as a canvas. Giving them a space to work in allows them to visualize what they can create or explore.
Materials for the Invitation to Learning
Picking the materials, you will set out with your invitation for learning is the most important part. You want to make sure you provide the materials that your students will need to move their thinking forward.
I love having a book with my invitation for learning. It is the perfect way to introduce a topic to your students and explore the learning further.
I will usually read the book with my students, and then I will have it set out with the center so that students can continue to read and look at it.
Cards and Posters
Adding cards and posters to the center can be a great way to extend the learning for students. They can be a tool to help with writing, prompt new questions, enhance oral language skills and more!
This pack includes cards for sunflowers, apples, pumpkins, bats and more. I’m adding to this pack as I go, so there will be more to come!
I find that having a collection of loose parts that I can pull from is very useful. It makes it easy to pick the materials that I need and switch them out frequently.
I usually mix my loose parts with other materials. This allows me to mix in learning materials that target specific skills and extend their learning in different areas. You can take a look at some of the set-ups that I have done in my classroom:
- math concepts:
- literacy skills:
- science/STEM topics:
Invitation to Learning
Planning out the invitations to learning for your students does take some practice. Now that I have been doing this for a few years, I can put them together quickly. You can also reuse the invitations multiple times by changing the materials or the question; it can be made into something new.
Document the Learning
Observing your students while they are engaged in their learning can be the perfect time to document! They can tell you what they are thinking and doing with the materials. This is the perfect way to capture what they know.
You can take pictures or videos of what they are doing, write out observations, record quotes that they tell you, etc. You can also involve them in the documentation process – have them record their own learning! iPads are a great way to facilitate the process.
Extend the Invitation to Learning
If your students are interested in the learning you have set up, you can extend the learning – read more books, set up more invitations, centers or find different materials that they can use and learn from.
Your invitation set-ups are a great opportunity to provide your students with learning that will keep them engaged and excited to learn!
Let me know in the comments: What is your favourite Invitation to Learning that you have seen or set up?