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How to Easily Create an Invitation to Learning

Create an invitation to learning to spark student interest and extend their learning. I go over the steps I take when putting together a center.

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.

Challenge your students to make a maze for a magnet. Reinforce problem solving skills with this STEM activity for your kindergarten students.

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 Question

Challenge your students to build using geoboards and marbles. A fun and engaging STEM activity for your 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.

Inspire your students to question and investigate plants with this invitation for learning. Find out how you can be successful when setting up your own invitations.

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

Reinforce addition skills with this hands-on and engaging adding activity. Use real popcorn or pompoms to work on how to add using a manipulative.

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,
  • placemat,
  • picture frame,
  • a background picture
Practice using a number line to solve the addition sentences. Use different strategies with the loose parts and spinner to make number sentences and find the solutions.

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.

Reinforce representing numbers in different ways with this invitation with loose parts and materials.

I have a list of math manipulatives and literacy materials that I often use when I am setting up my invitations.

Book

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.

Use this simple invitation to provide your students with the opportunity to practice making marks and pre-writing skills. A hands-on and engaging literacy opportunity for If You Find a Rock.

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.

Loose Parts

Use loose parts to provide your students an opportunity to be creative and create flowers with seeds.

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.

Provide your students with the opportunity practice letter recognition and letter formation with loose parts. This alphabet center is the perfect way to engage students in hands-on learning.

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:

Invitation to Learning

Create a sight word tower using Jenga blocks to work on reading and writing sight words.

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.

Practice spatial awareness skills with this fun pattern block activity. Place the shapes to cover the space outlined by tape.

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

Use geoboards to re-create famous buildings to work on fine motor skills and spatial awareness. Students can get creative with this 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?

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